a beginner’s guide to twitter

December 3, 2011, In: blogging & technology

There are so many different social media outlets these days, it can be hard to keep up. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Blog Frog, Path, Instagram, Posterous, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, Flicker, FourSquare, MySpace…and the list goes on! Deciding on the most important depends on your goals and market. Ultimately it is a personal decision, but in order to choose you need to be informed. So I want to help us all out and explore some of the most popular social medial platforms.

We all know Facebook…it’s were we keep up with our friends and family, and often those random people you went to high school with that you didn’t talk to then, but for some reason feel compelled to see how their life if turning out now. It’s become such a popular place to be, and while it does change fairly often, it does not need an introductory lesson from me.

However, one of these platforms that is gaining in popularity is Twitter. The White House has even jumped on the bandwagon. If you have not checked it out, now is definitely the time. I find Twitter to be a great resource for my day job, where I have great interactions all the time, while Facebook has been met with lackluster results.

So, since I really like Twitter personally and professionally I wanted to help others join the fun. (I will be exploring other social media platforms in the future so stay tuned. Leave me a comment below if there is a specific one that interests you).

Here are the basic terms of Twitter and how to sign up for an account.

Profile – Your profile is all about you. Here you can see your 140 character bio, your list of tweets, who follows you, who you follow, your direct messages, your favorite tweets, any photos you’ve attached, and any lists you are on.

Followers – These are the people following you. They will see your updates in their feed.

Following – These are the people you are following. You will see their updates in your feed.

Tweet – This is an update you post to your profile. They are limited to 140 characters. It’s a great training tool for keeping your thoughts concise and it’s fun to see how much information you can convey in a few words.

Hashtag – A hashtag (or #) is a way to tag words and ideas in your tweet. By adding a hashtag before a word like #diy, people who do not follow you can find your tweets. Its a great way to find people talking about things that interest you or to find things going on around you. Check out the hashtag #Boulder to see what I mean.

Direct Message – This is like an email or better yet – a text message. It’s a private message between you and someone you follow. Only problem with a direct message is that you both have to follow each other in order to send a direct message. Characters are still limited so you have to be concise.

Retweet – There are two ways to handle a retweet now. First, is the updated way – Twitter let’s you retweet a message to all of your followers. This tweet will show up in your feed as the other person with a small note that says “retweeted by [your twitter name]”. Second, is the old school way – Write up a tweet with your comments followed by RT [@otherperson: their tweet]. This will show up in your feed as a tweet from you with a link to the profile you retweeted.

Twitter Chat / Twitter Party – A Twitter chat is a real-time conversation that happens on Twitter. I have participated in Twitter chats about crafting, blogging, and the apartment rental industry. They are a fun way to talk with a bunch of others about a common topic. I highly encourage you to check some out. Here are a two lists to get you started – Business Focused Twitter Chats or Craft Inspired Twitter Parties.

Additional tools – As you get more comfortable with Twitter, you might want to use some tools to help enhance your experience.

  • Tweety Got Back This is a really fun tool that gives you a beautiful Twitter background and profile. Plus, it’s free so you should really check it out…and it’s built by my friends @wittytwit and @heathercapri.
  • Social Media Managers – Tools like HootsuiteTweetdeck help you keep your social media accounts in order. Both have free and premium options that vary in features.
  • Quitter This is a fun tool that sends you a weekly email with the list of people that stopped following you the week before. It can be really handy to see if people followed you so you would follow back and then unfollowed you.
  • Friend or Follow Enter your Twitter name and in a few minutes you will be able to see people you follow that do not follow you back. You can also see who’s following you and reciprocate with a follow back.
  • TweetChat If you participate in Twitter Parties, this is a must-have tool. You enter the hashtag and all of the tweets with the hashtag show up in the window. Then when you enter a message, the hashtag will be automatically included so you don’t have to remember. So cool.
So, have I convinced you to check out Twitter? If so, go to http://twitter.com and sign up for an account. It’s super simple. And when you get your account look me up (@deannabe) and follow me. Leave me a comment here and I will be sure to follow back!
  1. Reply

    Thanks Amy! I am so glad you found this helpful!
    My recent post my SITS day is finally here!

    • Amy
    • June 22, 2012

    These are great tips for someone new to Twitter, thanks for taking the time to help us newbies out:)
    My recent post One “Cross” Border Collie Puppy

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