Rest assured this is not a post telling you what to tweet or “how to twitter.” Much as I might want to, I’m not going there.
Let’s start at the very beginning. I know some of this seems extremely, even painfully, rudimentary. But I’m mentioning it because I’ve seen [X] occur multiple times.
@ is an at sign. Or the at symbol. Promise. It does not mean “about.” Generally, in internet speak, about is “a/b” or “abt.” Swear. With twitter, you @reply or “at reply” someone – basically you’re talking to him/her. So, if I were to say something to Dee, my message would be “@DeeTenorio hey where are you?!”
In the romance community, from what I’ve observed, twitter is used more like a chat room than how the general public perceives twitter. The whole “I’m tying my shoes now.” “It’s raining outside.” “This coffee is hot.” The inanities are what annoy so many people. I’m not addressing that as you choose who to follow. But I will say as a whole the romance community isn’t like that, and kudos, my friends. Kudos.
When you’re at http://twitter.com/ – what you see is your updates, and the updates of people you’re following. If using the webpage, when someone who you don’t follow [talks] to you, it goes to this page: http://twitter.com/#!/mentions – on the main page, it’s the second tab under the “what’s happening” box, and it says “@Mentions.” Sometimes people include multiple users in a tweet, and if you’re not following the first person mentioned, it won’t show up on your main page. That’s the name of the game and has been such for nearly a year. (Twitter has gone through some changes we don’t need to mention.) It is really your responsibility to check.
You wouldn’t think it necessary for me to say this, but, it’s really bitchy to @reply someone and snottily say “you know, I won’t see your tweets unless you direct them at me.” First, false. You can see them if you check your @Mentions, which you should be doing. Next, I can tweet however I want. That’s the beauty of having a personal twitter account. Now if I was “@Macmillan” … I’d have to be a lot nicer and more “professional” and I’m sure none of us would want that. *deadpan*
However, there are people who feel this is a pain – myself included, which is why I use a twitter client. I’ve used tweetdeck, tweetie (but only for a short period of time) twhirl, seesmic, and echofon. Of course I used echofon on my ipod touch and phone. Tweetdeck has columns, which I know people like. It didn’t really matter to me because I don’t have lists (so I won’t get into them). On twhirl and seesmic, your at replies show up on your “main screen” – and you can also click to check for at replies you may have missed. But this is a 101, not about twitter clients, so that’s really all I’ll say. You can customize them multiple ways, and I prefer seesmic because I can choose which updates have an audio notification vs window pop up, both, or neither. (The others aren’t as customizable, by my experience.)
I really don’t think this needs to be mentioned, but a direct message is a message that goes only from you, to the person you’re messaging. You can only direct message one person at a time. Think of it as an instant message. Not a group chat. You can set up email alerts for them, so on and so forth.
As twitter is social media, and there are lots of brilliant things to be found on twitter, sometimes we want to share it. (Or mock it – I’m not judging.) There are multiple ways to share a message you thought worthy of sharing. If on the web page, or most twitter clients, you can retweet with the nifty “Retweet” button – and the message won’t show up in your stream as a new update, but it will appear on everyone else’s stream. I feel like in some way I haven’t bothered to figure out, this method is preferable for those on the receiving end because the tweet only shows up once, even if multiple people hit the retweet button.
Next what you can do is hit it up old style/school, copy and paste the tweet you’d like to share, and simply add the letters/characters “RT @tweeter :[original message here]” “RT” stands for retweet, of course, the “@” sign is so the original tweeter is mentioned [and thus credited] and the colon shows where the tweet began. Simple, yes? This way you can also add a comment – most people usually comment at the start, before the “RT” so readers know where the original tweet ends. (Makes sense, yes?) Nevertheless there are a number of tweeple (twitter people?) out there who comment at the end. It takes some getting used to but you generally figure it out. Many people have their own method of distinguishing their own comments at the end.
Or, if you want to comment, you can provide a link and then credit the original twitter account with a “(via @twitteraccount).” Parenthesis are used in the “via” to make it clear the message isn’t to the person you’re mentioning.
You can block people, or report them for spamming – just go to his/her/it’s main page, http://twitter.com/#!/username and there will be a button near the top that looks like a gear, which has a drop down menu.
Twitter makes it easy to have conversations because you can reply to each other, and have a conversation chain. There are buttons for you to reply, or retweet. To reply on a twitter client, you hit the “reply” link – see why I mentioned it? You can follow the “in reply to’s” for as far as it goes. Sometimes you need to go searching, but generally it’s all right there. Unless you talk to someone like @jenthegingerkid who is crazy and regularly deletes all her tweets. She’s a conversation chain ruiner. If you want to respond to someone then, just hit reply. There really is no reason to retweet every message. If you’re afraid you’ll forget what you were responding to, the lovely “in reply to” link will save you.
Also, if you @reply someone, the message goes to that person, and only to others who are following you both. For example, if Dee, who is @DeeTenorio tweets, oh, Ashton Kutcher, who is @aplusk, I won’t see the message because I don’t follow him. But if Dee tweets someone totally awesome like @helenkaydimon (even though she has a ridiculously long name and thus twitter handle…) I will see the message. Because I follow both Dee and HelenKay. Guess I’m a lemming. (And this is why people get snotty about the @replies to multiple people.)
Obviously you can choose who to follow, and how many. Or who you don’t want following you by blocking them. I don’t follow indiscriminately because I have like OCPD (which I’ve conveniently linked for you) or something and have to read every single tweet in my tweet stream. Yes. Every. Single. One. So the ones I missed while sleeping, or away, I scroll back. I need to limit myself, obviously. We don’t need me to be even crazier.
So anyway, what seems to confuse most people is the manner in which to respond to a tweet/how to tweet. There’s no need to @reply someone with their original message, and then your comment after. Especially since you’re @replying said person… well I don’t need to explain. (I hope.)
Another quick tip – if you tweet too much, you get sent to “tweet jail” and you won’t be able to update for a while. For those of you who are considering promotions, or twitter chats… you might want to take that into consideration.
Which brings us to hashtags. A hashtag is the number sign “#” and a word or number. Hashtags often are what topics are trending (as in what everyone across the board is talking about most on twitter.) A common one is #ff or #followfriday. This is a hashtag used on Fridays where people recommend other twitter users you should follow. It’s generally a giant lovefest. There’s also #WW which is Writer Wednesday, which is the same thing as #ff basically, but done on Wednesdays, and for writers only. (Yeah, they’re an elitist bunch, aren’t they?) Television shows are also popular hashtags, as well as current events, movies, sports events. Like the wonderful world of COLLEGE FOOTBALL! <3
Of course people sometimes used hashtags tongue in cheek. But, the point of a hashtag, is that it becomes a link. Like #reading may be a common one you see, and if you click on “#reading” you’ll see every single person’s tweet that includes the “#reading” hashtag, whether you’re following them or not – it’s a way for people to connect or comment on a common interest or issue.
You can post pictures to twitter through twitpic or any other number of sites. Twitpic is/was the go to, however, because if you have a twitter account, you have a twitpic account, and it’s the same username and password. You can choose when you upload a picture whether or not you want a tweet to appear as an update as well.
And here, we get to something else – those quizzes and memes. Those things you hate on facebook, yeah? Every so often there’s one that pops up that spreads like the plague, and you get so sick of it you want to stick a fork in your eyes so you’re blind and don’t have to see it anymore. (Er…) Anyway – on most of those things, you can usually check a box that says “do not update to twitter.” So if you don’t want to spam your nice followers, I’d recommend checking that box.
Along those lines – often the memes require you to give a third party your information – much like with facebook, there are security risks. Be aware of those. Change your password regularly, and so on.
Okay, who am I kidding. I can’t refrain from saying this on “how to” – I don’t need to know intimate details about say, your personal hygiene or sex life. And yes, I have seen tweets of “I’m off to masturbate now!” – ones that were constantly tweeted and retweeted, and such persons are quickly unfollowed. And I won’t go into judging people – not by who is following you, but by who you follow and retweet. But you know, maybe that’s something you should think abo