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Twitter Tips for Newbies: Fine Tuning Your Account

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

Emma’s Twitter Tips for Newbies Series:

Part 5 - Twitter Tips for Newbies: Fine Tuning Your Account - this blog post

Customise Your Twitter Feed to Show You What You Want

Choosing Who You See Content From

Want to only see tweets from those who you follow or who follow you and not random people who jump into the conversation? Choose who you want to pop up on your feed or not.

Tap: Your icon >Settings and privacy > Notifications > Advanced filters

Muting Select Words

Sick of seeing politics or show spoilers come up on your home feed and you wish you could mute it all without having to unfollow, mute or block your followers?

  • Tap: Your icon > Settings and privacy > Content preferences > Muted > Muted words > Add

  • Add one new word per entry – with or without the hashtag, all instances of the word will be muted in notifications and on your home feed.

  • You can also set how long you want the muting to go on for.

Here are more advanced muting options from Twitter for Apple, Android or desktop users. Just be sure to click on the applicable icon to see instructions for your device.

What Happens if I Mute Someone Who is Following Me But I’m Not Following Them?

  • They can still send tweets to you but you get a grey warning box that the tweet is from someone you’ve muted

  • You can click on the grey box to reveal the tweet and you can also still reply to them as normal, if you want to

See My Rookie Mistakes in More Twitter Tips for Newbies to determine the difference between muting a person and muting a conversation.

Stop Unwanted DMs

Direct Message (DM) is where people can privately contact one another. See Direct Message (DM) Etiquette in Twitter Tips for Newbies.

If someone is following you AND you are following back, then DMs can happen between you – you can’t stop this unless you unfollow that person and lock down your settings.

Unless you have your settings locked down, you can still have random creeps or spam marketers jump into your DMs even though you aren’t following them.

Tap: Your icon > Settings and privacy > Privacy and safety > Receive Messages from anyone (ensure this is switched off, unless you are okay with receiving unsolicited messages).

Customise Your Twitter Handle and Name

Tired of being mistaken for a bot account because your Twitter handle is a string of random numbers?

Want to smarten up your Twitter account with a more professional Twitter handle and Twitter name?

You can customise your Twitter handle AFTER you’ve created your twitter account in 3 easy steps:

When Twitter Misbehaves

I Swear I Was following Someone But Now Twitter Says I’m Not!

If you use Twitter across multiple platforms (mobile and desktop), changes to settings or people you followed on one platform does not always carry over to show the other one. You might need to refollow some folks on the other platform.

When Twitter has massive bot purges to get rid of all fake accounts, sometimes innocent folks get caught in the drag net. When this happens, Twitter temporarily restricts their accounts and this action sometimes unfollows that poor person's followers for them.

I feel really sorry for folks when this happens as it is hard enough building your platform without Twitter stripping you of all your hard-earned followers.

Also see Reasons Why You May Find Yourself Unfollowed in More Twitter Tips for Newbies.

I Swear I Liked or Retweeted Posts But Now Twitter Shows I Didn’t!

Yip, this happens sometimes too. It’s completely random. Some days Twitter is super glitchy and undoes a bunch of your likes and retweets for no apparent reason. You’ve just got to roll with the punches!

What are Twitter Lists?

Lists are a way of categorising your followers to make it easier to manage an interact with certain groups, especially once your follower numbers grow. Some folks love using lists; others detest being added to lists.

Adding Folks to Lists

Heather Weidner (Twitter: @HeatherWeidner1), mystery writer, has a great blog that not only explains how to create lists on Twitter and Facebook but also why she creates lists.

Removing Yourself from Lists

Some folks really don’t like being added to lists. If this is you, there are two option to have yourself removed from lists:

  1. Contact the person who added you to a list and politely ask to be removed from the list

  2. If this does not work, you can remove yourself from the list as explained by Romona Foster (Twitter: @RomonaFoster), Social Media Trainer, in her article How to Remove Yourself from a Twitter List.

Drowning in New Followers

Just had a massive number of people follow you on a #FF (Follow Friday) but it’s taking ages to screen and follow them back?

Feel guilty for not following back straight away?

Once you’ve finished dancing your happy jig at being in such a fortunate position, it may then dawn on you just how huge a task you have ahead of you. It takes hours to properly screen a large number of follower’s profiles for compatibility. It’s better to take your time and screen followers rather than blind following a long list random people.

If folks get impatient waiting for you to follow back and they unfollow you, don’t worry, they are still around in the #WritingCommunity - you’ll likely bump into each other again at a later date.

See Follow Back Etiquette in Twitter Tips for Newbies, and Following Pitfalls in More Twitter Tips for Newbies.

Cautionary Tale About Allowing Bots to Follow You

As a priority, if I’m time-poor and unable to follow folks back right away, the very least I do is IMMEDIATELY BLOCK BOTS! See Identifying Bots in Twitter Tips for Newbies.

Some folks are adamant they can’t be bothered to block bot accounts. They don’t care about the constant disgusting DMs that can range from trying to hit you up for money to explicit images. A few times now, I’ve seen the defence, “But they only bother you a few times before they give up. If you just ignore them, they go away.” This is not true - they don't go away.

Even though I am super vigilant about blocking bots, I missed one day of screening for bots and in less than 24 hours, the scammer behind a new bot account had tracked me down on Skype and was trying to call me from Macedonia (I live in Australia).

When I went onto Twitter to see who this person was, I found several bot accounts impersonating a real public official. The scammer then had the hide to tag me in his Twitter posts complaining that I wasn’t answering his calls!

I was not following any of the bot accounts and I had my settings locked down tight – but this STILL happened! It just goes to show, you can’t be too vigilant. Some of these bot accounts are starting to look more realistic and believable as time goes by but they inevitably trip themselves up with their sleazy "Hello dear" catch cry.

Also, if you don’t have your settings locked down, as highlighted in this blog, the creeps can automatically jump into your DMs with their filthy propositions and false declarations of love. I don’t know about you, but there’s no way I’m allowing one creepazoid to follow me back, let alone thousands!

And for those supercilious types who like to gloat that this is why they use a pen name and not a real name for their writing or on Twitter, please be mindful that many folks already established their author brand using their real names prior to joining Twitter's #WritingCommunity.

There is no excuse for any form of online harassment.


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May 30, 2019

Thank you so much for these great tips!


Ruth Mitchell
Ruth Mitchell
May 30, 2019

This is wonderful! Exactly what I need! Thank you! Thank you!


Holly Jo Engle
Holly Jo Engle
May 29, 2019

Thank you so much for all the information! I've been on Twitter for a few years and this is still pretty new to me. I learned quite a bit from your post!

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