Monday, May 25, 2009

Twitter Basics, Beginner Tips, More

As promised at our April meeting, this post aims to provide more guidance on Twitter and Tweeting. This will be updated, but for those members eager to become part of the Twitterverse and join WQIDC and others on Twitter, here are some very basic hints to help you jump in. Other Tweeters (a/k/a "Twitterers") will say it better, so look for those helpful hints as you go along [follow Mashable on Twitter and at for updates on social media].

  • Go to Twitter and watch the introductory video on the join page

  • Be aware there is a less published public feed for non-protected Tweets [for ultimate use of Twitter, we suggest not protect your tweets -- it defeats the purpose]:

  • Join with a shorter name (so people can easily spread your Tweets of wisdom, called re-tweets, and abbreviated RT)

  • In the upper right menu, select Settings to add your photo (under 700K -- use close-up and Twitter will resize it smaller but people can click on your profile pic to see the larger you) to show you are serious. Add a brief bio and a website if you have one -- again give people reason to Follow you -- and find you. Choose another stock background using the Design tag, if you want. (Later on you can upload your own background like Kate Anne's PeaceHugs's profile. You only see another's personal background at their profile - otherwise you see your own.)

  • You can search for people to Follow with the Find People tab by using addresses in certain email accounts or just look for friends' names BUT you can get started on some good groups/people to follow by looking at those people/groups who you like are following. We've followed some of our members and neighbors as well as some politicians plus good groups (political, issue, media, and/or cultural) at WQIDC. Some have automatically followed us. PLUS we've had a few spammers follow us whom we have blocked -- other good folks will follow YOU once they see your bio and your tweets under certain topics. [Note topic Trending Topics on right margin of Home page.] TO FOLLOW, click on the FOLLOW button by the Tweeter's photo icon.

  • HINTS on Following someone -- You do NOT have to follow someone following you. Check out their Twitter bio, their Favorites (see below) and maybe their website url if it sounds legitimate. (Don't go to the obvious spam ones -- you'll know.) You can also unfollow someone if they send tweets you don't enjoy/need or too many tweets by hitting the following button under/by the Tweeter's photo.

  • Add your Twitter url to your email signature to use when you are emailing friends, add it to your blog. (Later you can even add a badge with your latest tweets to your website or blog.) Tell your Facebook friends. There are Twitter apps which can suggest followers to you or automatically add them for you based on keywords, such as -- use these wisely as you want to watch to whom you give your Twitter password. (I've used Mr. Tweet without giving my password, but checking out the folks he's recommended.)

  • Tweet your first tweets to the public timeline or wait until you get a few followers at the Home page [Upper right menu] with short info.

  • When tweeting web addresses, use a shortening site like -- Twitter will shorten long ones for you but you waste your 140 spaces in the meantime. You can plug in your long article/website urls at Tinyurl then copy the short one they give back to you. Insert it into your tweet and voila.

  • SUGGESTIONS -- Don't over-tweet. Tweet 3 or 4 times a day, a little less or little more, until you get used to it. (At least try to tweet at least once every day or two or three.)

  • Save favorite tweets by clicking the Favorites Star Button which you will see to the right when you scroll over the individual tweet. (Your Favorites can be used to save info you like or want to use as reference and help others decide on whether or not to follow you. Find new people to follow by reading the Favorites of people/groups you admire.)

  • You can Tweet by text-messaging from your cell phone (once you set it up), but turn off the incoming Tweets -- except direct Tweets -- unless you have unlimited text messages or you will go broke.

  • HINT: You can send a Direct Tweet to someone your are following from your profile BUT you can Tweet someone you aren't following by using the @ sign in front of their Twitter name, usually at the beginning of the Tweet. (Lately people are getting Tweets in their Direct Messages whenever they are mentioned or RT-ed by someone as well.) Direct Messages you make to someone you are following are private. Re-Tweets and Tweeting to a non-follower are public -- your followers and the public timeline sees it.

  • HINT -- There are a lot of Twitter apps/web sites out there -- Do yourself a favor and READ this USEFUL and INFORMATIVE ARTICLE: The Ultimate Guide to everything Twitter.


    Twitter Support: Frequently Asked Questions (by Crystal)

       [daunting but fascinating!]

       [tongue in cheek but...]

    Mashable: The Social Media Guide: great resource for Twitter, Facebook, Google PLUS

    [Let us know YOUR favorite articles but more important, bookmark them for your own reference

Tweeting is Fun. Make it a Game. Be careful about personal info but check out the Twitter apps that reputable others suggest that interest you and have fun flying through the Twitterverse.


P.S. WQIDC members and friends and West Queens area neighbors are welcome to contact yours truly (Kate Anne -- a/k/a PeaceHugs and on yahoo as KateAnne7 or by phone) with questions or possible individual guidance. (Perhaps we could hold a Twitter meeting for more hands-on. Yes, I like Twitter and Tweeting that much and want more people, not just groups, in my Twitterverse :-)

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