Twitter is a networked soapbox, where anyone can create an account and publish their thoughts in 140-characters relating to any topic. You can share links and photos and communicate with friends and colleagues, or even follow complete strangers.
Tweets can be linked via a hashtag, for example #newtechnology, where everyone following that particular topic will see your post.
Saying too much on Twitter
It's all about communicating, but there's a danger that your tweets will go too far, and many people have regretted a post made in haste that went to more people than anticipated, often with disastrous consequences.
Sackings and even arrests have occasionally been made where the post was deemed 'grossly offensive'.
By default, everything you tweet will be visible to the world. Even if you have few contacts – called 'followers' - if your post is picked up and 'retweeted' it can go global in moments.
'You are what you Tweet,' Twitter says. 'You should only provide content that you are comfortable sharing with others.'
There are, however, useful settings for limiting the content to only your followers or contacts, but they also limit the effectiveness of the service.
Removing a tweet you regret
Recent guidelines from the Director of Public Prosecutions have suggested that if you post something that's offensive or simply regrettable, then removing it as soon as possible would reduce the risk of police action.
To remove content, sign into Twitter and go to your Profile page and scroll down to the tweet you wish to delete. Hover your mouse over the message and click Delete.
Although it will be removed from your account straight away, the company stresses it may still be accessible for a short while but 'will clear with time'. There's no tool for deleting multiple tweets.
Of course, if a tweet is retweeted within moments of you posting it, it can be out of your control to remove it.
Controlling your tweets
Twitter is really about communicating with a potentially mass audience, and therefore it's not built with guarding content in mind. This is partly because the information is often less personal, more often with links or observations.
However, there is a tool for restricting access to your posts. Through the Settings page accessed by the controls cog at the top of the page, tick the Protect my Tweets box - although doing so would mean no-one would then see your tweets unless you added them individually to a white list.
Public tweets made before you changed the setting will remain available to anyone, and friends will be unable to retweet any of your posts.
Deleting your Twitter account
Deleting a Twitter account is actually fairly simple. Head to the tool wheel at the top of the page and select Settings. Right at the bottom of the page is a link labelled Deactivate my account.
Click on this and Twitter will explain the consequences, but underneath the exhortations to reconsider is a button for deactivating your account.
How long does Twitter keep your deleted data?
Twitter says it 'will only retain your user data for 30 days and then it will be permanently deleted'. You can reactivate your account at any point within 30 days of deactivation by logging back in. Twitter also says your account will be removed from Twitter within a few minutes, but that some content may be viewable for a few days after deactivation.