Archive for June, 2009

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A Little Blue Bird Told Me

June 17, 2009

Twitter For Newbies

It has taken me days to finally sit down and start drafting this blog. Not because I didn’t know what to write about, but because there is so much to write about! So let me first apologize if this post ends up being pages long. I think Twitter is incredible and I’m writing this post in hopes that other people come to the same realization.

I’ve wanted to write about Twitter for some time now I just needed the motivation. Well a couple days ago that motivation came to me in the form of a Facebook comment. In a constant effort to find more Tweeters that I know I mentioned in my Facebook status how great Twitter was and encouraged friends to join. Within 30 minutes I had a comment from a friend that said, “So pointless. Just another website to sign up for. We all already have twitter with our Facebook status.” What?? Pointless?? Just another website to sign up for?? And so my post was born…

What Is Twitter?

Good guestion. And one I get all the time. According to the front page of the Twitter website “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Seems simple, right? Well, to some, that assumed simplicity makes Twitter not worth looking at. Similar to my above mentioned friend many people view Twitter as just another way to stalk people and update your status. However, if one takes the time to research and really get to know Twitter, they’ll realize it’s more than that. Much more.

Recently I’ve gotten a lot of friends to join Twitter and since the blog post wasn’ finished yet I sent them mini Twitter emails from time to time. For this first Twitter post I’ll simply go through what I talked about in the emails to my friends and just touch on the basics of Twitter. Here we go 🙂

How to Get Started

Getting started is pretty simple, just like any other social networking website. First, go to http://www.twitter.com and click on the green square that says “Get Started-Join!” From there they’ll walk you through choosing your username, or in Twitter terms, your “handle.” For best results I suggest using your real name when signing up. If you are using the handle for networking or professional purposes using your real name will help other industry leaders and potential employers find you. For instance, my Twitter handle is MOgulnick, which makes it easy for people to find me. If you are using it for purely personal reasons, then it is up to you! Once you have your handle chosen you can have Twitter search through your Yahoo! account, Gmail account, AOL account, etc. to see how many of your friends are on Twitter! Besides friends you may have on Twitter, you’ll also be shown Twitter members that might be worth following. Again, it’s up to you if you’d like to accept! (Later I’ll go over following & followers)

Now that you have your handle all set up you’re ready to personalize your Twitter page! In the right hand corner you’ll see “Settings.” Click on that and go through each tab. The first tab, “Account”, is some of the main information that will appear on your Twitter page. Name, location, website, bio. Your website can be anything. It can be your company, your Twitter page, your Facebook, your blog, anything. Up to you! Your bio is a short introduction to you! All bios are different and there is no correct way to do it, so take a look at others and then personalize your own! Here are some examples of different bios:

Young PR professional in Chicago looking for an entry-level PR or Sports Communication job!” –@MOgulnick

A little too damn happy. Licks frosting off cupcakes. Editor of Polichicks: The It Girl’s Guide to Politics (just enough to get by at a cocktail party).” –@Polichicks

A positive thinking goal setter that actually likes public speaking and making people laugh” –@TracyBrinkman

Father of 2 girls. Husband. Chief Buzz Officer @theKbuzz, social media/word of mouth marketing firm. Mets fan. Want 2 make world better. Here 2 learn and grow. ” –@davekerpen

As you can see, you can make your bio whatever you want it to be! For those using Twitter as a networking tool I’d suggest putting keywords in your bio that have to do with your profession or industry. It helps potential employers find you easier! From there you’re welcome to explore the other tabs. You can set up your cell phone to get Tweets, you can add a photo and change the design of your page. Lots to do, just explore! Now that your page is looking good you’re ready to start Tweeting!

The next two steps can be done in whichever order you choose. You can find people to follow first or start Tweeting. Personally, I think you should start Tweeting before you get followers. If someone follows me I won’t follow them back until I see some Tweets I think are worthwhile. So that’s where this post will go first. Tweeting 🙂

Tweeting

Technically there are 3 different ways you can send out messages on Twitter. First, is the normal way..Or typing in the box! When I first joined Twitter I thought of what I typed in that box as my status..Just like Facebook..But really, you type a lot more into it than just your status. One of the comparisons I’ve found that I really like is a post-it note. Or an index card. It’s small. You only have 140 characters so brevity is key. You can write anything on there. Reminders, appts, quotes, links, notes, anything. If you stick a post-it note on your refrigerator everyone in the house can see it..Same with Twitter. Whatever you write in that box everyone can see. Unless you put it on private which can be found in settings. Personally, I don’t like private because no one can see your Tweets without you approving it and it will be harder to gain any followers. Another reason I don’t like viewing it as a status is because you also reply to people and re-tweet in that box. Which leads me to the second way of messaging.

Responding to someone is pretty simple. If you are on the regular Twitter page you just go to someones tweet and if you scroll over the bottom right corner of their tweet a little arrow will appear. Click on that arrow and their name will pop up in your box (post-it note! Haha) and you can write back to them. To respond to someone you have to make sure your message starts with the @ sign followed by their username. Now, this message is directed towards the person, but everyone can still see it! If you forget the @ sign your message will just be posted on your profile and it won’t be sent directly to that person.

Third, is direct messages. DMs are messages you obviously send to someone directly and can only be seen by that person. Just like messaging on Facebook. You and the person are the only ones who can see it, which is nice! To DM someone go to their profile and on the right side under “Actions” you’ll see Message. And there you go! Easy enough 🙂

Following & Being Followed

Now that you’re Tweeting like a pro it’s time to get some viewers! Earlier Twitter searched through your email accounts to see if any of your friends are on Twitter. If you did this part successfully then you should be following people on Twitter already. If you are following someone that means that you will see every Tweet they post. To find people to follow simply go to “Find People” in the upper right hand corner and type in names, keywords, restaurants, cities, industries, etc. For example, if you type in Chicago you’ll get Chicago newspapers, media, restaurants, companies and people. This part of Twitter can be used as a great way to network as well. If you are interested in Public Relations simply type in Public Relations and you’ll find plenty of industry leaders, companies and other people interested in PR!

Now just because you are following someone doesn’t mean they’re following you back. You can Tweet about them or to them, but unless they are following you they will not see your Tweets. In your profile you will see the number of people following you and the number of people you are following. Generally I try to keep the number pretty even, but it’s up to you!

I know this seems like a lot, but I also have confidence in all of you! I’m going to end this post here just because it’s getting long, but there will be more to come! More advanced Twitter information will be next! Thanks everyone!

Best,

Megan


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