Whether it's the celebrity accounts or the ability to get breaking news as it happens, Twitter has become more than a phenomenon. While it's pretty straightforward for the most part, Twitter can take some getting used to.
So, if you've just joined the micro-blog or are thinking about joining, we take a look at a few basics to keep in mind.
Half the fun of Twitter is in following the posts made by other accounts, whether they're parody profiles, celebrity accounts or simple informative sources.
To follow most accounts, you'll simply need to click the "follow" button on the person's account page. Some people also prefer to protect their tweets, meaning that you have to send them a follow request first.
In the case of prominent people and celebrities, you'll want to make sure they are verified accounts. A verified account will have a white tick next to the person's name, indicating that it's legitimate.
The tweeting part
You don't need to tweet to make use of Twitter, but adding your voice is fun. A tweet is a simple message, comprised of less than 140 characters. To tweet, you'll simply need to type your message in the box below "what's happening?".
It's possible to mention your followers or those you are following by adding "@" and the person's name. However, Twitter automatically suggests names as you type, making it easier to mention someone.
You can also reply to tweets by hovering over the relevant tweet and selecting "reply".
If you don't want the world reading your musings, you can protect your tweets. To set your account to protected, click your name on the top right-hand-side and then "settings" from the dropdown menu. Scroll to the bottom and tick the box called "protect my tweets".
By having a protected account, people will need to send a follower request if they'd like to see your tweets. These requests will appear under the "requests" tab of your homepage.
Sometimes you'll come across news or tweets that are worth sharing, but instead of copying and pasting the text, you can retweet it.
To retweet the post, simply hover your mouse pointer over the relevant tweet, and then select the retweet option. The tweet will then be repeated on your profile, complete with the original tweeter's name.
If retweeting isn't enough, you can also save the tweet as a favourite for future reference. All you'll need to do is hover over the desired tweet and then click "favourite".
A hashtag is a word, subject or phrase preceded by the "#" symbol, allowing yourself and other users to click on it. Clicking on a hashtag will show tweets from around the world related to the term.
For example, if a friend tweeted "my #iphone is faulty", I'd be able to find other iPhone-related tweets by clicking "#iphone".
It's a great way to find the latest information on your favourite subject if many people are using the same hashtag. During events, a standardised hashtag is often agreed upon, allowing people to follow all tweets without much effort.
The hashtag has also informally morphed into a way to underline a situation or add humour to a tweet. For example, "feeling so tired this morning. #needcoffee"
Much like Facebook and other social platforms, Twitter also allows you to send private messages, called Direct Messages (DM). These can only be seen by the recipient, making it useful for gossip and sensitive information.
To send a DM, click on the person's profile, then click the envelope button. However, you can't send a DM to someone if they don't follow you.
Whether it's an old flame or an online bully, you'll sometimes feel the need to block people.
To block people, you'll need to visit the relevant profile, click the person icon and choose the "block" option from the dropdown menu.
This can also be done for spam accounts, although you'll want to select the "report" function from the dropdown menu instead.