Are you ready to join the Flock?

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  • 1. Are youready to jointhe flock? Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 2. The first step is to understand and master the vernacular. There are certain words and jargon native toTwitter that you may already have heard in passing. These terms and their abbreviations (inparentheses) are essential for understanding the network.  Tweet: A 140-character message.  Retweet (RT): Re-sharing or giving acknowledgment to someone else’s tweet.  Feed: The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.  Handle: Your username.  Mention (@): A way to reference another user by his username or ‘handle’ in a tweet (e.g. @sara_houlihan). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.  Direct Message (DM): A private, 140-character message between two people. Note: You may only DM a user who follows you.  Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #Xfactor, #Christmas - yes Christmas is already trending!). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.Twitter has a great online glossary that you can refer back to, should you get mired in avocab morass.Let’s get startedIf you don’t have Twitter account yet, you must firstly sign up into Twitter. It’s very easy – you should fill inonly your name, login and password: Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 3. After you have entered in yourinformation you will be broughtto the page seen on your left. Inthe example left the data iscorrect however sometimes thedata maybe incorrect – forexample wrong email address orthe username you have chosenhas been taken. In the case of analready taken username Twitterwill inform you of it and will giveyou some suggestionsAfter creating an account, Twitter will show you some tips about tweeting, including some suggestionsof who you can follow Of course you can find your friends, colleagues and other people by name or search through email contacts. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 4. Following your configuration Tour you will be asked to confirm your email address. Again, very easy, justhead on into your email and you will see and email from twitter. Click on the link provided and this willredirect you back to your Twitter account. Confirmation CompleteYour next task, like any other social media platform, is to update your profile and tweak your settings .Head to settings and you will be given a list of setting options.Firstly click on the account tab. Do not check “Protect my updates” unless you only want those whomyou approve to be able to get your updates. Personally, if you check this, it will seriously limit the fun.Make whatever other changes you want. Click the Save button.Next, click on the Profile tab. Upload your picture. This is important. Many Twitter users (including me) willnot follow users without photos, because it is a tell-tale sign of a spammer. For personal accounts aface avatar is probably best. Brands usually use their logos. Try to make your avatar something peoplewill remember.Enter the rest of your information, including your location, website or blog (if any), and a brief bio.NOW WHAT?Once you’ve squared away your username, photo and bio, your account is completed and ready foryou to tweet away. But who is going to read your tweets, hopefully compelling/hilarious/enlighteningTweets, – you don’t have any followers.My advice is to be as proactive as possible and follow your friends and people you know, at first. Whenyou open your account, Twitter’s algorithms don’t know you very well, and thus, cannot logicallysuggest people for you to follow, just yet. It simply suggests random celebrities and other folks withthousands of followers. Thus, following people you know will make your initial foray more advisable.You may also want to explore people your friends are following to naturally increase your Twitterperspective.Once you get rolling, Twitter will give you better follow suggestions, based on the industries/fieldsassociated with your interests. With time, you’ll become adept at discerning who is worth following andwho is not. There’s no set strategy for this — it’s completely up to you and your own personal tastes. Ifsomeone follows you, there’s no obligation to follow them. If someone is tweeting too much andclogging your feed, feel free to unfollow him immediately. Watch out for spambots too that send youdodgy links, if you are asked to ‘check out this link’ or something along those lines, DONT. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 5. Now that you’ve been observing the updates and musings of those you follow , it’s time to join theconversation. You could try throw out a 140-character observation hope that someone sees it, butthere’s a better way to engage with people around your interests. The next time you see a particularlyfascinating tweet, click “reply” and add your two cents. Interacting with people is a great way to getthe hang of the “@mention” (just use the “@” sign before that person’s handle).Once you feel comfortable with these tools, it’s time to start interacting with more influential Twitterusers. Twitter gives you the power to directly connect with government officials, celebrities and culturalmovers and shakers. By @mentioning specific people, the odds that they see your conversationincrease considerably. Who knows? They might even respond or retweet to their own personalaudiences.You can also communicate directly with people who are following you. These “direct messages” areprivate, but you’ll want to use the direct message (DM) tool cautiously. A good rule of thumb is to onlypost Twitter content that you would be comfortable seeing on the front page of your local newspaper.That being said, to direct message a person, that user must also be following you. Go to your profileand click on the icon next to the “follow” button. In the drop-down menu, select “send a directmessage.” Now you can compose and send your 140-character private message. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 6. If you were paying attention to the start of this guide (tut tut if you weren’t) you will remember seeingthat word ‘retweet’ or RT for slang. Retweeting is a general way to share something interesting fromsomeone you follow to your own set of followers. Significant information tends to spread virally like abug by way of retweets. It’s important to remember that an RT should be thought of as quotingsomeone or citing a source.There are a couple of ways to RT a tweet (see image below). You may choose to simply hit the retweetbutton that appears when you hover your mouse over someone else’s tweet. When you click thisbutton, the tweet will be sent to your set of followers, using the original tweeter’s profile pic alongside anote that you have retweeted the post. Additionally, a small green icon will appear in the top-rightcorner of the tweet. This is illustrated in the top example of the picture below.Another way of retweeting arose from the Twitter community itself. This way is a ever-so-slightly morelabour intensive, but gives you the opportunity to comment on a tweet before you retweet it. Simplyclick to expand the tweet, copy and paste its text, and then create a new tweet by clicking thecompose icon in the top-right of your profile page. Be sure to include the letters “RT” and the handle ofthe person who originally tweeted the information. (see below)Again, these are two ways to perform essentially the same action. It’s up to you to determine when it’sappropriate to include a comment in your RT. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 7. Now that you’re glued to the Tweet machine, focus on being yourself andforming your own beat. When you start to situate yourself as an expert in a specificsubject area (for example, in comedy or politics), you’ll notice that people will beginto follow you for advice and expertise. You may not know who they are, but that’sperfectly acceptable. Twitter isn’t about following people you already know; it’sabout engaging interesting people from all over the world.Bottom line: Be real and you’ll quickly become a valuable member of the Twittercommunity. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 8. Need to block someone? Here’s how. Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan
  • 9. For more help and answers to everything Twitter related go to https://support.twitter.com/Or why not tweet them! @support Twitter. A Beginner Bird’s Guide. 2012. @sara_houlihan