Navigating Twitter

Last time, I gave a quick overview of Twitter. This time, let’s see how to use it.

If you have an account (you can sign up at twitter.com) you can post and answer other’s posts.

The best way to get attention is to post useful links or facts, along with a link to those facts. Sure you can post something like “In a Major League Ball Game, the home team has to have 90 new balls available for the game,” but the statement is more effective if you post a link proving your statement. Most links are long, so you can go to tinyurl.com and type in the long link, and instantly get a much shorter link. That’s important when your post can’t be more than 140 characters long.

The idea on Twitter is to “follow” people–read their posts. And have them follow you.

Who to follow? Depends on what your interests are. There is a search engine on the Home page, and you can type in any topic to see what people have to say about it.

You can organize all your social media and search and connect through TweetDeck.com

You can find out who is no longer following you and un-follow them with Twitoria.

Kristine Wirth explains a lot of Twitter very well. When you use Twitter you’ll see this symbol a lot: # It’s called a hashmark and it works the same way as tags on WordPress.  Here’s how Kristine explains it:

“The hash mark (#) before a word in a post allows you to tag that post for that word. However, in order to get tracked via a hash tag, you need to opt-in and follow http://twitter.com/hashtags.  Once you’re following Hashtags, every time you make a post in Twitter and tag it with a hash mark like so:  #iPhone, it will then show up as a real-time post on http://www.Hashtags.org.

If you then visit Hashtags.org, you can click on any tag and it will show you all of the posts that have been tagged with that keyword.”

Some other notations, courtesy of AdventCreative’s Marshall Thompson:

@ = Placing this before a person’s Twitter name (i.e. @sethjenks) is an open conversation directed toward that person. Anybody can see this communication between you and the person your @ing.  You can @ anybody on Twitter, even people who are not following your updates.

D = A private conversation between you and a person who is following your updates. There is a space between the ‘d’ and the person’s name and you don’t need to use the @ sign. You can only direct message people who are following you.

RT = Re-tweeting means, Sweet! I like this! Passing it along. Always give props to the original tweeter.

Some people I follow also have blogs worth reading:

Maria Schneider is helpful and concise. She’ll tell you how to use the 60/40 rule on Twitter  as well as how to get street, or maybe it’s Tweetcred. Schneider also has tips on good follows for writers.

Liz Massey, over at Creative Liberty, writes on creativity, but she also is techno-savvy. Check out posts on her site for great ideas on social networking. One of my favorite of her posts is information on creating a creative dashboard.

That should help, I hope. Have fun Tweeting!

Follow me on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/QuinnCreative

–Quinn McDonald is a life and creativity coach who owns QuinnCreative.

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3 responses to “Navigating Twitter

  1. Bo, actually twitter is very easy to get started with. Quinndreative is just offering some useful advance ins and outs that are optional. Very useful article thanks.

    • People catch on at different rates. I’m not technologically savvy, so I have an iPhone–which is much easier to use than any other phone I’ve had. And I prefer Twitter over Facebook, because of its immediacy. But people are individuals and have their own learning curves. I STILL don’t know how to set Tivo!

  2. I was going to give Twitter a try, but now it seems rather complicated. How did so many rules crop up on what seemed like a simple way to communicate?

    Next there will be a 140 page book to explain the 140 character post…or maybe there already is one.

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