For anyone wanting to START using Twitter, here is a short course.
First: Hit the link http://twitter.com/raywaldo/lists/nubie. This list has been populated with links to the Twitter accounts that I recommend to anyone starting out. You will see the updates from FOX & other news sources, Max Lucado & other Christian leaders, Plus the Eagle Forum for conservatives.
- After the hit the link, either LOGIN or JOIN (if you don’t have an account) – upper right of window
- FOLLOW the list raywaldo/nubie (note: You will NOT receive my tweets from this list)
- FOLLOW me at http://twitter.com/raywaldo (or from within Twitter, raywaldo )
Each time you login to Twitter, you should check the following sections:
- HOME (where all new tweets from users that you follow are seen)
- @(yourusername) (where mentions of you are found – eg, someone replies to you, see #2 below)
- DIRECT MESSAGES (where “email” is sent to you ONLY)
When sending Tweets:
- Any normal UPDATE or Tweet (typed in the Twitter window & limited to 140 characters) is sent to everyone who follows you BUT it can be seen by ANYONE searching on Twitter or Google.
- A REPLY (starts with “@username”) is SENT to that person but can be seen by anyone searching. If there is some character before the “@” then the Tweet is considered a normal update and sent to all your followers.
- Direct Messages (start with “DM @username” are sent ONLY to that user and can be read ONLY by you and them. Note: you cannot send a DM to anyone unless they are following you. So, all you can do in that case is REPLY to them.
- A RETWEET (starts with RT) sends a Tweet that you like on to all of the people who follow you. Not only are you helping others find good content, you are supporting the person who sent the original Tweet by letting them know that you like it.
Sending a LINK to someone else:
Within the body of a Tweet, any URL (the full http://domain.com/etc/etc address) is automatically converted to a LINK when the Tweet is sent. Since some URLs are very long, users often use services like Bit.LY (http://bit.ly) to convert the long URL to one that is less than 20 characters. It is likewise converted to a LINK when sent.
Adding/removing people (called following or unfollowing):
As you read the Tweets in your stream, you can view the profile for anyone that interests you by clicking on their @username in the stream. At their profile page, you can either follow/unfollow them or add/remove them from any lists that you create. You can also look at who THEY follow to find others that you may wish to follow. They may also have LISTS that you can follow. I have several other lists (Technology, Christian Leaders, & Leading Conservatives for example) – check the right-hand panel of my profile to see all my lists.
The difference between following an individual user and follow a list:
The CONTENT of the list (which users’ Tweets will be displayed) is controlled by the user who created the list. They may add or remove individual users which will also affect the Tweets that YOU see as you follow the list. Whereas, if you follow a particular user, then all Tweets from that user will continue in your feed until you UN-follow the user. (No one should be upset that you decide not to follow them any longer.)
Searching for information:
Although you can use Twitter’s search function to find the current stream of Tweets including any keyword (or phrase) — and now you can also search on Google, as well — the use of HASHTAGS can define your search a bit more. Hashtags are words prefaced with the “#” character. Twitter will automatically LINK these words to a search for them. So, if I want to know about the “Top Conservatives On Twiter,” I can just click on a #TCOT text/link and Twitter will display a page with the current stream of Tweets that include that hashtag.
There are many other resources on Twitter & on the web for more efficient use of Twitter. Just GOOGLE for “twitter guide for beginners” to see them. Be sure to find the newest ones since there are always new functions added to Twitter. Here are a couple links to get you started:
If you have tips for other Twitter users, tell us about it in the COMMENTS below.