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Twitter’s Set Up- What Next?

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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 (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!

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.



  1. Mark

    February 19, 2008 at 11:27 pm

    I can tell you hashtags are used to create “channels” on Twitter, but that’s about all I know. The usefulness of using hashtags/creating channels will probably grow as more people start doing it, and as more sites start tracking hashtag usage i.e. and

  2. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Another great post Lani.

    Hey, let’s include our twitter url’s in our comments here so that people that find us when they’re first getting started


  3. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:10 am

    @mark – Not to hate on hashtags, but i’m not sure that they’ll will ever catch on.

    Terraminds publishes RSS feeds for each search generated and if you take those feeds and run them through a Y! pipe to clean em up, there’s your channel right there. am i missing something?

  4. Andy Kaufman

    February 20, 2008 at 12:12 am

    whoops, I was going to link to an earlier post of mine when I created a channel for the Inman ConnectNYC confernece –

  5. Dale Chumbley

    February 20, 2008 at 1:45 am

    Great post Lani,
    This will help those not on yet to get familiar with it pretty quick. Some of “old timers” might even learn a thing or two. Looking forward to the rest of the series.
    Take care,

  6. Robert D. Ashby

    February 20, 2008 at 8:16 am

    Following Andy’s suggestion…

  7. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Anyone figured out how to make any bank on Twitter yet?

  8. Benn Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Yeah, set to close the 26th.

  9. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Made an ‘over/under’ bet with myself on how long you’d take to show up. I said 4 hours — a winner! 🙂

    It figures, Benn figures out how to convert it to his bottom line before I find out whether to capitalize the ‘T’ or not. 🙂

    I know how incredibly busy you are. Most of us, as I say so often, lead the same lives. How much time would you say Twitter requires from your daily routine? I’m not comparing time vs commissions as I know you wouldn’t apply it if the ROI wasn’t to your liking. It just seems to be fairly time consuming.

    As your readers can see, my ignorance on some of these new things (some?) might indeed be bottomless. 🙂

  10. Benn Rosales

    February 20, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    It’s funny, I had this exact conversation yesterday- I have a secret weapon I will not reveal here. I’ll guide the heard to water, but I’m not going to get into teaching them how to drink. We all know that how we actually use the tools will be as unique as our faces.

    As for ROI: look at it this way

    7% conversion on mail marketing looks like $80K
    4% conversion of online social marketing looks like $40K
    am I scoffing at the $40? no, I’m cashing the check.

    If my weapon costs me $30k a year part time, am I thinking full time implementation of the weapon? You bet. I’m absolutely methodical in everything I do.

    Yes vague, but yes, I see an upside. So to really answer your question. I automate the updating of content- socially fooling around with social media, about 4 hours a week or less. Most is transacted by phone at lunch, an hour around dinner time, and a hit and miss in the evening.

    Jeff, if you want to know if I think facebook, and twitter are for your business, can I see an upside for you knowing your business as I do? The answer is yes for you more than any other niche I know.

  11. Jeff Brown

    February 20, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Very intriguing — now I’m buying big time when next in Austin. Thanks so much.

  12. Hi, I'm Jeff Turner And I Use Twitter

    February 20, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    “I’ll guide the heard to water, but I’m not going to get into teaching them how to drink. We all know that how we actually use the tools will be as unique as our faces.”

    And teaching someone how to use a hammer and nail doesn’t make them a carpenter.

  13. irina Netchaev

    February 21, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Lani, I’m slowly navigating and learning twitter. Thanks for the post. It’s very helpful!

  14. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    February 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Irina what is your twitter username? We’d love to all get to know you! 🙂 Glad to be of help- we’ll be writing more about Twitter coming up!

  15. irina Netchaev

    February 21, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Lani, my twitter name is PasadenaViews. Can’t wait for more posts. 🙂 THANKS!

  16. Mariana

    February 24, 2008 at 10:39 am

    I am still learning more about Twitter everyday. THank you. I never knew about the “d” function. Nice!

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