Twitter Basics with Kevin Spacey

It seems like almost everyone is on Twitter these days, including Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey. Are you on Twitter? Why or why not?

If you are new to the microblogging and social networking platform, you may become somewhat overwhelmed by how the system works. You may not be familiar with Twitter terminology and you may not completely understand the value of using Twitter to connect with others. That’s okay. We’re going to learn all about Twitter with a little help from Kevin Spacey.

What Is It and How Much Does It Cost?

Twitter started as a microblogging platform where users could answer the simple question, “What are you doing?” It has since evolved to become one gigantic community with many interactive members. You can express your thoughts, just as you would on a personal blog, but the system also allows for direct interaction with other community members. Twitter is 100% free to use, though some of the third-party tools may come at a cost.

How Do I Sign Up for an Account?

To sign up for an account with Twitter, simply go to the Twitter website and fill out the registration form. You will need to provide an email address, but there is very little in terms of personal information that is required for signing up. After signing up, you’ll want to take a look at my Twitter page to get a sense of what you can do with the platform.

What Purpose Can Twitter Serve?

Even though it is microblogging platform that allows for personal expression, you should still be mindful of what you say through Twitter. Set your social media boundaries and respect the privacy wishes of your friends and family. If they don’t want their information to be made public, you probably shouldn’t do it for them. Despite its relatively casual feel, there is still a sense of etiquette that should be observed.

At the same time, Twitter can be an invaluable resource. You can turn to the Twitter community not only to say “hi” to you, but also to gain words of wisdom and get the virtual water cooler experience from the comfort of your computer or mobile device. There are clients available above and beyond the Twitter website, allowing you to check and post updates from smartphones, cell phones, and computers. These clients, which are specialized software, add much to the Twitter experience.

How Do I Personalize My Avatar and Background?

Having a personalized Twitter homepage can go a long way in making your Twitter account your own. This is the same idea as customizing the desktop wallpaper on your computer or uploading a profile picture to Facebook. The Twitter avatar is your profile picture and the background is the image that acts as the wallpaper for your Twitter homepage. Again, you can refer to my Twitter page for an example of both.

To personalize your avatar and background, log in to your account on and click on “Settings” in the top-right corner. The “Picture” tab allows you to upload an avatar. It can be a maximum of 700k. I recommend keeping the image as a square, since this renders most accurately on the site. The “Design” tab is where you can either select a pre-defined theme or upload your own background image. Ideally, you want an image that is 1920×1200 so that it will look right on most monitor resolutions.

Kevin Spacey Discusses Twitter on David Letterman

He may have been terrific in The Usual Suspects and positively brilliant in American Beauty, but Kevin Spacey still does not completely understand the value of Twitter. I can understand why he doesn’t follow you, but his following-follower ratio is pretty typical of a celebrity. Check out his conversation with David Letterman on the Late Show. Dave is even more clueless.