Twitter is easier than it looks
In Part One of the Twitter Tools series, you learned how to set up your Twitter account. So you have a user name and you have a few “twitfriends.” Now what? Now you start “twittering” by entering messages under 140 characters describing what you’re thinking, reading, doing, or blogging.
Why does anyone care what I’m doing?
Sure, some people won’t care that you’re at Starbucks or that you’re reading about Castro stepping down or that Carlton Banks invented the atmosphere. Those people will choose not to follow you (or you’ll target your “twittering”), but those that stick in there with you will comment back and you’ll instantly feel like you’re at happy hour! This is a great conversational tool to share ideas- others will attest to this in the comments.
Why is twittering considered microblogging?
In Part One, Teresa reminded new Twitterers that all of your “tweets” (messages under 140 characters) are indexed by Google which means that they are cataloged and will show up in Google search, so be cautious of what you say publicly. If you have the need to tell someone something that is private, you have the ability to do so (we’re getting to that). It’s called microblogging because you’re logging your opinions and actions in sequential order.
Remember, this is a conversational tool, so people are often silly in this venue- it is not a hard sell. Touch as many people as you can in a *meaningful* not insincere way (sound familiar? Yep, it’s also called blogging but now, we’re microblogging).
What do all these symbols mean?
“@” is put in front of another user’s name to notify them that you are responding to their update or you are addressing your update directly to them. If the addressed user is using a Twitter application (program used to use and interact with Twitter- don’t worry, we’ll go over that in the next Twitter Tools), they will see what you’ve written to them in a different color so it stands out.
A “d “ is put in front of another user’s name to send them a direct, private message that other users can’t see. I use this for confidential information or private thoughts or if maybe my curse word isn’t appropriate for the public. (Note: there must be a space after the lowercase d and the username for this to work. Test it before you broadcast information, okay?)
When you are using Twitter.com (and you haven’t gotten ahead of the rest of us by downloading an application) and typing your updates directly into your web browser, you will see at the end of every message a star. If you click that it makes it a “favorite” and is cataloged separately. On other users’ twitter home pages, you can click the word “favorites” on the right and find things they’ve set aside as their favorite individual tweets. I use this to separate the most hilarious things I’ve heard on Twitter but I have yet to really employ this feature.
“Hash tags” are simply inserting the # sign before a word and is used as a tagging method to add context to your data. Hash tags were developed before Twitter had no tracking or grouping functions, so I’ll leave it to someone in the comments to add *why* hash tags are useful, given the advent of new Twitter tools that automate this which is why I don’t mess with hashtags.
What is a “nudge?” It is a reminder you can set up to text you on your phone if you haven’t updated your Twitter status in over 24 hours. I don’t have it set up because I’m obviously ON Twitter in the background of my work almost every day.
Okay, I get it!
So stay in touch, make new friends, learn new things and grow your network with Twitter now that you’ve set up your account and you now know the basic language. Next, we’ll learn about which programs make Twitter easier to use- see, you’re already light years ahead of many many many people across the globe!