How To Twitter: Reading A Twitter Page

Filed in Twitter by on September 8, 2009 0 Comments


Why You Need To Understand The Anatomy Of A Twitter Page

You can get a snapshot of anyone by viewing their profile

It’s true. A lot can be determined by someone’s Twitter profile. You can see what kind of person they are. By reading their bio you will see what they think they offer the world. (Or don’t offer the world).

It will be easier to identify spam

Spam is always with us online. Unfortunately, it is the nature of doing business on the internet. But when you know how to “read” someone’s Twitter profile you are steps ahead of others who don’t understand how to do this.

You can use your insight to make your page more appealing

Of course the best way to make your Twitter page better is to look at hundreds of other pages and notice what they do right and wrong.

What Does The Anatomy Look Like?

Let’s start by looking at all of the anatomy of your own page. As you begin to understand this you can also “read” other people’s pages.

Update box

This is the area that you type your message (limit 140 text characters) and hit the submit button. Your message (called a tweet) will then go into the public timeline and be seen by all the people who are following you.


The timeline is where all the Twitter posts show up from the people you are following. You can see your Twitter posts here also. They are posted i chronological order with the most recent at the top.

Home – Profile – Find People – Settings – Help – Sign Out

At the top of the page are several links.

  • Home: takes you to the main Twitter page where you can update your status.
  • Profile: takes you to your public profile page.
  • Find People: takes you to the find people feature. You can search or even import people from your email accounts.
  • Settings: takes you to your account settings page. You should be familiar with this from yesterday.
  • Help: takes you to the Twitter help area. Twitter offers free help for people who need it.
  • Sign out: signs you out of your account. It is a good idea to sign out when you are finished if you are on a work/shared computer.

Following Count

This shows how many people you are following.

Follower Count

This is how many people are following you.

Tweets (Number Of Updates)

This displays how many updates made to Twitter.


This is a space that Twitter has begun to place definitions for various terms and phrases on Twitter. Many suspect that this area will be ad space in the future and a great way for Twitter to make money.


Along the right side of the page you will notice a link just below “home” that will have an @ symbol and your username. If you click on this link it will bring up a screen showing you all the public messages that other people have directed at you by using your @username in their message.

Direct Messages

Direct messages are a way to send private messages to other Twitter users. You can also receive direct messages. Note: you can only send someone a direct message if they are following you. Also – someone can only send you a direct message if you are following them.


When a Twitter post comes through your timeline that you’d like to remember or store as a favorite – simply click the star in the top right corner of the tweet. This will add it to your favorites which can be viewed by clicking on the favorite link.

Search Box

The search box is powerful. Use this to search for terms, keywords, people, or topics. This little search box is the secret power of Twitter. We’ll cover that more a future chapter.

Trending Topics

Along the side of the page are the trending topics for all of Twitter. These are the phrases and words that are being posted over and over again right now. This is a great way to stay on the pulse of what is currently happening on Twitter.

RSS Feed

Each twitter page has an RSS feed for importing into a feed reader. RSS stands for really simple syndication. Don’t worry about RSS right now since you are just getting started. That’s for advanced use.

Anatomy of a Twitter Post

A short 140 character message that one posts on Twitter is called a “tweet.” There are several aspects of the tweet that make it useful.

Each Twitter post has a permanent web address URL. This means that a unique URL is given to that post forever. It stands on its own as a singular piece of web content.

For example this permanent URL will take you to this Twitter post:

Also remember that every post you make to Twitter is public and searchable. As with anything online – you are creating a digital legacy. Your great great grandchildren will be able to read what you write.

How To Read A Twitter Page

Start with the follower/following count

The follow count shows you if this person/business is respected enough to gain followers.  Some people know how to game this – so there are other things to check for.

How many updates?

Usually people who have a lot of updates are real people –not spammers. Plus it shows that they are engaged and active on Twitter.

Where does the link take you?

Just above the bio is a link that Twitter users can use to direct you to any page they want. Where does this take you? You can determine the value of a Twitter page by where they direct you.

Tweet quality

What is the quality of their tweets? Are they just talking about themselves or do you see a lot interaction with other Twitter people.

When you learn the fine art of reading a Twitter profile you will be able to avoid spam, get Twitter followers, save time and communicate effectively with a core of followers who actually want to hear what you want to say.


Joel Mark Witt is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. He is also the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership Send him an eMail: joelmarkwitt (at) or follow him on Twitter.


Get the book “21 Days To Twitter Leadership” The Step-By-Step Guide On How To Twitter, Get Twitter Followers And Position Yourself As The Leader In Your Industry In Less Than 10 Minutes Per Day.

*Photo by Shovelling Son

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