Basics of using Twitter

twitterIt seems everyone is all a-twitter about Twitter. A lot of people sign up for it and then get stuck. They post what they had for breakfast or just start following a few people and then stop and forget to use it. Or they just “lurk” and read what others say, but never say anything themselves or get involved in conversations. OR, there are the ones who just post tweet after tweet and promote they are on Twitter, but never communicate with the people following them. That is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of new Twitter users who seem to be joining lately because “everyone is doing it.”

Please see these basic tips on using Twitter to make it worth your while and not frustrate other Twitter users.

1. When you sign up, upload a photo and fill out your bio. Followers can see your website info, a little about you and start to identify who you are and what you’re all about. If anything, post your location, your job or blog and a few interests. I know some people who won’t follow you if you don’t have a bio or info.

2. Don’t just post info about yourself or try to sell us in every tweet. INTERACT with others and reply to them and what they are saying. If someone is talking about the Culinary Festival and you are (or aren’t going and want to explain why and join the convo), hit the “reply” curvy looking arrow symbol next to their tweet and add to the convo.

3. Wondering how to find people to follow? Go to the top of the page and click on “Find People”. You can then find people in your email contacts who use it or you can type in keywords or names to find others. After that, if you find someone you really have interest in, see who THEY are following and go through their list where you can easily click “follow”. AND, as you start to use Twitter regularly and participate in convos with others, you’ll see them replying to people you find interesting too and you can start following them. Do you start to see how conversations with others is how people learn to connect on Twitter?

4. Please, if you have something private to say or you wouldn’t want it posted on a billboard over the I-17, don’t tweet it or say it in a “DM”. A DM is a Direct Message that only works if you are following someone and they are following you back. What you post on your regular twitter feed is public.

5. Check your replies. Look over on the right side of Twitter and look at the categories. They read from top to bottom: HOME, @YOURNAME, DIRECT MESSAGES AND FAVORITES. Check your replies because if you are tweeting and people are tweeting back, you’ll never know unless you check your replies or DMs. When you get a reply, reply back if you want to by easily just hitting that little curved arrow.

6. RT’s. Re-Tweets are a great way to build communication and spread the word about tweets you find interesting, important or educational. RT means you copy what that person says, and post it this way in your tweet: “RT @thattweetersname Top Tips for getting PR for your widget”

I’ll break it down even more:
Type RT then a space, then the @ symbol, the twit’s name, a space, then their tweet you find interesting enough to “Re-Tweet”.

7. Ever find a great link but its about 200 characters long? You can’t fit that into a tweet, so you need to go to and copy and paste that link into their site and they will re-produce that link into a much smaller web link for you to use.

8. You only have 140 characters to say what you want to say. So, sometimes you may not use best spelling, or revert to using a “2” for “Too” or 4 for “For”. This is ok, but dont do it all the time. Its amazing how well you can learn to communicate in short statements.

9. A lot of people make fun of Twitter because they think people just talk about what they ate for breakfast, but you’ll find as you go along that you’ll begin to start building relationships with others from the things you say. As humans, we bond with others when we find commonalities. I moved here from MI and used to work in TV. If I was tweeting about my old station and winter weather warnings because of lakeshore snow and someone else following me noticed and had lived in Grand Rapids, they may not have ever known that and now we have something new in common and build a convo and possible relationship. You know how its just not that easy to explain HOW you became great friends or biz partners with someone, you just know it was built through time and communication? Thats just like how Twitter works.

10. Have fun. So far, I rarely see many hate-filled tweets or mean stuff going on. People I follow are full of great info, helpful, cheerful and regular people sharing their thoughts and experiences. Have fun and learn that it takes some time to build a following and get the whole thing figured out, but thats ok. Just have fun and interact!

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