Social Media 101: The Basics of Facebook and Twitter

Written by Ashley Black
Dyson School c/o 2014, Cornell University (Student Intern – Summer 2013)

Welcome to Social Media 101, the first of three installments designed to teach you how to use social media like a pro to promote your campaign, gain public visibility and grow your network of supporters and contributors.

As discussed in our previous blog posts - Secrets to Launching a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign and Why Crowdfunding Campaigns Succeed - using cyberspace can give your campaign a MAJOR boost. Traditional methods – like phone calls and handwritten letters – have proven  effective over time, but harnessing the power of social media can help you reach hundreds, thousands, and even MILLIONS of people with just a few quick clicks of the mouse. The more people you reach, the more money you raise and the more people with whom you can share your cause and your passion. In this installment, you will learn the basics of Facebook and Twitter, and how to optimize them with PEAKS. Let’s Get Started!


In case you haven’t heard of it, Facebook is an interactive social networking site that was first created for college students. Before long, it exploded into a communications mecca used by almost everyone in the world, including celebrities, companies and organizations. Facebook superpowers lie in its ability to create buzz and gain publicity through pictures; article and content-sharing; engaging in online conversations with friends, family, fans and customers; and showcasing progress, products and more. In Social Media 101, we will start by introducing you to some basic definitions. (For more Facebook basics, check out Facebook’s Glossary of Terms).

Post: Share your thoughts, pictures, videos, etc. with the world
Friend: Someone with a page that you have allowed to see what you post (you can see their posts too!)
Tag: Add a friend, organization, or other page to your post
Newsfeed: Where you see your friends’ posts
Timeline: What people see when they visit your page (your posts and activities)
Share: Add a post from another page to your Timeline/Newsfeed
Like: 1. Subscribe to an organization’s updates; 2. Tell a friend you agree/sympathize or like their posts
Banner: Dynamic picture that is the essence of your organization (or, for a personal page, a picture you want to be on display) - Dimensions: 851px by 315px
Profile Picture: Logo or other defining picture (Dimensions: 160px by 160px)


Like Facebook, Twitter has become a widespread means of worldwide communication. The difference is your posts – called Tweets – can only be 140 characters or less. Because tweets are so short, it’s easier to scroll through Twitter continuously and stay up-to-date with newsworthy Tweets. Twitter also has its own language; because it allows for such few characters, abbreviations are key (noted in the definitions below). (For more Twitter basics, check out the Twitter Glossary.)

Tweets: Short thoughts, 140 characters or less
Timeline (TL): Tweets from pages you follow
Follow: Choose to have a profile’s tweets on your TL
Followers: Those who follow a page
Header: Banner on your Twitter profile pageRetweet (RT): To share another page’s tweet
Twitter Avatar (Avi): Twitter profile picture
Twitter Handle: The username you choose – people use this to mention you (ex. @peaksmaker)


Now, how do Facebook and Twitter work with PEAKS?

Embedding: You can embed the links to your personal or organization’s Twitter and Facebook Accounts. Here’s how:

  1. Go into your Dashboard, and you’ll see the list of Getting Started To Dos. Under #2, Customize Your Campaign, choose “Tell Us About Your Cause”
  2. Once you’re in the “Tell us about your Cause” page, fill in all the applicable information. You can copy and paste the URLs from your Twitter or Facebook profile pages.
  3. After saving, Facebook and Twitter icons should appear towards the bottom of your Campaign page.

Sharing: Once your Campaign is approved, you’ll see “Spread the Word” in the right hand corner of your Campaign (or Champion) page.

Choose the social media icon where you want to share your page. Click it, customize your message, and post it to the world!

Choose your social media icon:

Click it! This is what you’ll see:

We at PEAKs hope that this first edition of our Social Media blog posts were helpful! Practice your newly gained skills and let us know what you thought via a comment on our Facebook page or via a tweet on Twitter! And don’t forget to like and follow us!

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    In partnership with Cornell Cooperative Extension, PEAKS supports changemakers working in five program areas.