Friday, September 13, 2013

Your Guide to Social Media: Twitter

Twitter.com was created in 2006 as a way to deliver short messages to those interested in receiving them. Twitter visitors are able to view users' short messages called tweets, and those who sign up for their own Twitter handle (username) are able to post their own short messages. How short? Twitter messages can not be longer than 140 characters. That includes links to websites, photos and videos - which can often be long. Being forced to limit your message makes tweets more challenging to write, but ultimately they are concise and easy to read!

What are Twitter users 'tweeting' about??
News, anecdotes, general information, links to websites, photos, videos, general observations - anything! People are even tweeting about the food they're eating...

Who is 'tweeting'? 
There are more than 500 million users on Twitter as of September 2013. These users are people of all ages across the world. Athletes, musicians, actors, political figures, companies and products all utilize Twitter to reach out to their fan bases. Even President Obama is on Twitter with more than 36 million viewers! Twitter has become so popular, the app is integrated into the latest operating system on Apple's iPhones for simple, instant tweeting.

Should I join Twitter? 
Joining Twitter is free! Even if you don't wish to tweet, there are a lot of interesting people to follow. I prefer to use Facebook to keep up with friends. Instead, I use Twitter to follow my favorite celebrities, products and news sources.

To join, visit https://twitter.com/signup and enter your full name, email address, a secure password and your chosen username. Once you agree to the terms, click 'Create my Account' and you're on your way. To get started, check out who the most-followed Twitter users are and see if you're interested in following them.

To follow a user, simply view their profile and click the blue 'Follow' button next to their username. Once you are following a few people, Twitter will make suggestions as to who else you may be interested in following. Those will be located on the homepage on the lefthand side.

Who can see my tweets?
Any Twitter user can see your tweets by visiting your profile. Only your followers will have your tweets pop up in their feed. You can protect your tweets if you prefer. This gives you the power to approve anyone who requests to follow you and only those you approve can see your content.

There are quite a few need-to-know words associated with Twitter that will help you better understand what users are saying and how to properly navigate the site. Be sure to check out those definitions!

trending
What topics are currently being talked about most at the moment on Twitter? These are the words that are currently trending. Trends appear on the left side of the homepage. If you click on a trending phrase, Twitter will load posts that are tagged or hashtagged with that word(s).
retweet
Like a post that someone else tweeted? Why not retweet it to your followers? While your mouse hovers over their post, just click the Retweet with the recycle symbol next to it.
@
The @ (at) sign is most commonly used in an email address, but on Twitter, it is the symbol used for tagging another Twitter user in your tweet. The person is alerted that you have tagged them and your followers see it as well. You can tag users who do not follow you. If you wanted to tweet to President Obama, you would tweet: @BarackObama This message is to you!
verified
A small blue bubble with a white check mark in the center at the top of a profile page on Twitter indicates that the user is verified. High profile Twitter users such as celebrities, athletes and political figures will have Twitter verify their accounts so their followers know the accounts are real. It would be a shame if more than 44 million Justin Bieber followers were really just following some 16 year old girl pretending to be him!
DM
DM stands for “direct message.” If you want to send a private message to a Twitter user, you DM them – you do not publicly tweet them. You can only DM Twitter users who follow you. That means your tweet confessing your lifelong love and dedication to One Direction will have to be seen by all of your followers.
feed
When you login to Twitter, all of the tweets from other users are fed into your homepage. This is your Twitter feed. Only users who you follow will have tweets pop up on your feed.
reply
Do you have a response to someone else’s tweet? Feel free to click reply and join the conversation. It will automatically tag the person you are replying to, as well as anyone they had tagged in their tweet. It will show up on your profile and on your followers’ feeds as a tweet from you.
.@
By placing a period before tagging a person in your tweet, your post will only show up in the feeds of those you follow both you and the person you are tweeting to. This makes your replies back and forth a little more conversational. They’ll still show up on your profile.

More Twitter-related definitions to know on Get With It:

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