I was just asked by a friend for a quick intro to Twitter. Having gone through the basic confusion of what this is all about when I started, I figured I would write up a quick overview. Here goes…
- Twitter is a micro-blogging site in which you can post articles comprised of 140 characters or fewer.
- A Twitter account is free. It is easy to start, and only takes a couple of minutes. Start Your Twitter Account here.
- A ‘tweet’ is a post. Any time you post a new thought, idea, announcement or link, it is referred to as a ‘tweet’. Start tweeting.
- Twitter is a connectivity tool that acts like a giant conversation. You can read what others are saying, and they can read what you are saying.
- To monitor what someone is writing, you ‘follow’ them. When you follow someone, their posts appear in your Twitter feed on your Home page. Follow Me.
- When people are interested in what you have to say, they can ‘follow’ you, too.
- To follow someone, simply visit their ‘Home’ page in Twitter and click the Follow button under their profile picture.
- Twitter keeps track of all the people you are following, and those who are following you. Their is a handy stats display at the top of your Home page.
- To find people or topic threads in Twitter, use http://search.twitter.com. This tool will become your best friend, and is where you can conduct searches and research.
- There are lots of philosophies on what to post, and who to follow. But there are no rules. Keep it clean and find birds of your feather.
- You can reply to other people in Twitter in two ways; public and private.
- To reply publicly, simply include the person’s Twitter name in the post. A Twitter name is preceded by an ‘@’ symbol, and looks like this: @carysnowden
- A public reply will be seen by all your followers, and might look like this: ‘Hey @jack_hadley, thanks for your comment on this article.’
- To send a private reply or note, simply replace the ‘@’ symbol with a lower-case ‘d’ and a space, like this: ‘d jack_hadley, don’t tell anyone about this note.’
- When you get in with a group and want to tag all your tweets so that the group can follow them, you will use a ‘hash-code’ or ‘hash-tag’.
- A hash code is a special word that you make up and agree to use within your group. Hash codes are not private, and can be used by anyone else, too.
- A hash code should be unique, and the prevailing convention is to use a ‘#’ symbol in front of your unique word. An example would be ‘#socialht’.
- I would add this hash code to any of my tweets that I want to highlight for the group.
- Now, when I go to http://search.twitter.com, I will search for the hash code ‘#socialht’ and be able to see all the comments intended specifically for my group.
- You can search for other hash codes, or other topics, to learn what people are saying about you, your company, your favorite band, or anything.
- You can tweet from a computer or phone. I use Twittelator and Twitterific for iPhone, but there are others, too.
- You may eventually get invited to a ‘Tweetup‘, or a group social where like-minded people come together in person to meet each other and talk in person.
- Take a look around our site for interviews and panel discussion about how people use Twitter; it is quite amazing, and incredibly useful once you get a handle on things.
Let me know if you have anything to add to this quick list.
PS: Each line in this article would qualify as a ‘tweet’ in length, and represent a typical comment in Twitter.