What Is Twitter and How Do I Use It?
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users’ updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
Twittering is simply a very easy method of communication in which you can interact with thousands of people in just a few seconds. You can share information, ask questions, network, receive live up to the minute breaking news, gain valuable business contacts, and personal connect to a community of like-minded people.
Twitter gives you 140 characters to send out a very short message into the twitter stream. Your standard tweets are displayed on your profile page, on the home page of each of your followers, and in the Twitter public timeline. These messages are viewed by those following you or by those visiting your profile.
You can communicate with someone directly by using the @ symbol before their user name (do not include a space) and that message will be displayed to that user indicating that you are communicating with them.
You can also communicate via direct message (DM) as well in which your tweet is kept private and is only seen by you and your recipient. In order to send someone a DM you must be following one another, you cannot send a direct message to some not following you, you can only send an @ to them. You can send @’s to anyone as well, they do not need to be following you.
You can manually change the options and disable certain features in your account settings.
Great Twitter Video For Learning About Twitter:
“Twitter In Plain English”
Tips to Getting you Started:
Visit the Twitter website and click “Get Started-Join” to create your account. Fill in the information and you ready to go. You can use your real name, a company name, or any name really to identify you as your username. Your username is not set in stone either and can be changed at anytime.
Once your account is created, login and click “Settings.” From here, you can setup your account details, manage your password, register your mobile phone and IM account, configure how you receive notices, upload your photo/avatar/logo and customize your account’s design.
Your Twitter home page is located at twitter.com/your-username. Mine is www.twitter.com/twittonary
Once you have your settings to your liking its time to meet some fellow tweeple in the twitterverse.
To Follow or Not to Follow:
There are TONS of people on Twitter… it is NOT a competition about who can get the most followers in the shortest amount of time, it’s about quality of people and conversation. Those with large following will even tell how difficult it is to manage such a large Twitter Stream.
Imagine having 3000 instant messages sent to you each and every day! Its impossible to be able and respond to each one properly. Start with a few people that you either know or you have an interest in (you can search for other people with your interests a few ways as well) http://search.twitter.com/ is a great place to start.
Once you have had some communication, you will quickly discover if they are people you have an interest in or with, and if so you might enjoy following some of their friends, or you may discover other people who have taken an interest in you. Is a gradual process and takes time. Imagine it as a large social gathering with a bunch of people. Would you prefer to get to know a few well and make a lasting impression, or would you prefer to run around the room and tag everyone yet barely get a chance to even say hello?
Right or Wrong Way to Manage Twitter:
In all honesty, there is no wrong way of managing Twitter (even spammers know what they are trying to accomplish with it.) Just work it the same way you would in real life- it’s a social tool, so be social, engage others, and use it the best way you see fit. The lack of a right or wrong way is truly the genius behind Twitter and its all subjective as to how you choose to manage it.
Twitter For Businesses:
My two cents…businesses need to be on Twitter, period. Twitter can be used to broadcast your company’s latest news and blog posts, interact with your customers, or to enable easy internal collaboration and group communication.
I often hear, “HOW DO I MAKE MONEY WITH TWITTER” and its simple really. If you are a business owner of any type (and this includes bloggers, website owners, designers, lawyers, real estate agents, etc) You make money by gaining customers, friends, and associates with Twitter! It’s just as simple as that. You use Twitter as a tool to engage and interact with those looking for your services, yourself, or your business.
A Few Standard Questions I Get Often:
Whats a Retweet (RT) or a Via?
A retweet is when one individual republishes a tweet from someone in their network and shares it with their network. Usually when someone retweets the information discovered it’s because it adds value to their network. Most take it as a compliment that you are retweeting their information. To retweet someone you simple add RT and then their message and @user-name- be sure to give proper credit.
A via is basically the same thing as a retweet however instead of using the RT in front of the republished information, you use the via @your-name at the end and often times include your perspective or add a bit of value to the retweet itself.
What is a #(hastag)?
Hashtags are used to create real time track records of creating groups on twitter. Placing the # sign in front of keywords or targeted groups, makes it easier to track all conversations in the twitter timeline via search.
Fantastic Blogs/Articles and Guides To Help You Survive in the Twitterverse:
Twitter’s Own Blog
Twitter Support and Help Resources
Twitter Fan Wiki
17 Ways You Can Use Twitter: A Guide for Beginners, Marketers and Business Owners, by Dosh Dosh.
Twitter Tips by Problogger
Twitterhandbook.com – Warren Whitlock & Deborah Micek