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I Joined Twitter - Now What?


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A beginner’s guide to Twitter for online and print journalists.

Published in: Self Improvement, Technology
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I Joined Twitter - Now What?

  1. 1. A beginner’s guide for online and print journalists By Josh Shear,
  2. 2.  Tweeting/Twittering: Creating a message to be sent via twitter Following/Unfollowing: Having someone’s messages come  straight into your Twitter stream. @reply: Lets people know you’re having a conversation or  responding to a thread. Use @UserName for this. DM = direct message. A private message. Use d UserName  for this (the person must be following you to see a direct message from you). Hashtags: Use #YourTag. More on this later.  Stream: The list of other people’s updates  Tweeps/Tweeple: Peeps/People who use Twitter. 
  3. 3.  You can follow people to read what they have to say  People can follow you to read what you have to say  It’s an exchange of ideas, if you will
  4. 4.  Go to their Twitter page and click the follow button. Come on, people, this is Twitter, not brain surgery.
  5. 5.  Log in, go to their Twitter page, and use the handy dandy little “block” button. It’s good for bosses, parents, siblings, spouses, stalkers…you get the picture.
  6. 6.  You’ll get an e-mail. Unless you gave Twitter a fake e- mail address in the first place. In which case, you’ve only hurt yourself. Twitter has a few hundred thousand regular users. They’re not gonna check on you. If you want to know who’s following you, give them a real e- mail address. That’s all.
  7. 7.  What you should really do is read the “Who should I follow?” slide, which is coming up next, you impatient ingrate!
  8. 8.  Friends, family and colleagues  People who write about your industry and interests  Celebrities  Random strangers
  9. 9.  Don’t feel obligated. Seriously. If you work in a large company, you’re not going to know most people, and most of them aren’t that interesting (just sayin’).  You can pull aside what they’re saying in a separate group (see the upcoming section on tools, and sorry I keep getting ahead of myself here).  Personally, my Twitter account bears my name, not my company’s. Therefore, it’s mine, and I’m going to follow who I want with it. </harping>
  10. 10.  We’re in a unique industry, and Twitter’s in roughly the same industry we are, so following people who write about your industry is a good networking opportunity, and a good way to know about the evolution of what you do.  Some industry users I’d recommend ( jayrosen_nyu, cshirky, guykawasaki, whitneyhess, alanataylor, suzanneyada  NunesMagician, live315, and amanda_nan are among those who regularly complain about the state of SU basketball
  11. 11.  I’m about the exact opposite of a fan-boy, so I don’t follow any celebrities. But I know that Britney Spears, John Mayer, MC Hammer (seriously), Ryan Seacrest and Shaq are all on Twitter.  OK, I’ll admit it. I followed Hammer for a bit. He’s a smart dude, writes a lot about Amber Alerts, parenting and that kind of stuff.
  12. 12.  Start going through the lists of who the people you’re following are following. You might find new interesting people.  Also, I like Twubble ( for recommending new people based on who you’re following (requires your Twitter user name and password, but it’s safe)  Also, if you see someone writing about something interesting, try following them for a while.
  13. 13.  Some people follow back everyone who follows them. Which is why some people are following 11,000 people or more. They’re not reading everybody. Promise.  Feel no obligation to follow someone back. If they can’t take the rejection, they shouldn’t be on Twitter.
  14. 14.  Go to their Twitter page and click on the spot where you’re following them. You’ll be asked to confirm that you want to remove them.
  15. 15.  If they’re using a service like Qwitter (, it will e-mail them, and tell them what the last thing they said before you unfollowed them.  Only narcissists and people who make money from having followers care if you unfollowed them.
  16. 16.  You should use Qwitter ( to find out if someone unfollowed you  Use to find out how you rank among other narcissists (I’m in the top 2.5% of narcissists at this writing).  Use to measure your impact. I’m slowly developing, but most of clout is growing.  Use to measure how popular you are. I’m something like 76th percentile, so I’m not hermitting well enough for my tastes.
  17. 17.  FTW! = For The Win!  FAIL = something failed  OTOH = On the other hand…  OH = Overheard  OHAW/OHAO/OHATO = Overheard at work/at the office  IMHO = In My Humble Opinion.  Note: You’re on Twitter giving your opinion. This is pretty much the opposite of humble. Just an FYI there.
  18. 18.  Hashtags are the accepted way to aggregate information using, or other places (via RSS) Follow Twitter user hashtags to have your tags  recognized for Use #tag as a format. Examples might be #ica09 for a  conference, #superbowlads for Super Bowl ads, etc. We aggregate #cny and #syracuse at , using a reblog Some hashtags aren’t actually hashtags. They’re just  someone being a jackass. You’ll recognize it quickly.
  19. 19.  Twitter allows 140 characters, but some URLs are really long. I prefer as a URL shortener; some people use others. You’ll see them in your stream.
  20. 20.  Facebook offered Twitter $500 million for a buyout. Twitter told Facebook to go screw. Facebook’s new design is kinda like Twitter, except threaded. Coincidence? I think not.  Twitter can updatee your Facebook status – either all your tweets ( or select ones via a #fb hashtag (
  21. 21.  Fear not. Here are some better ways to read Twitter:  Twitterfox: A browser-based plug-in for Firefox.  Twhirl: A standalone application. It’s losing market share because it’s only pretty good.  Tweetdeck: Everyone loves Tweetdeck. Seriously. If you’re not looking specifically for a browser-based solution, use Tweetdeck. You can sort by groups, search for stuff and all that jazz.  Note: Tweetdeck is not paying me. Maybe they should. @reply them and tell them so.
  22. 22.  Twitter has an OK mobile site at I prefer it for reading, but not for tweeting.  Text: If you set up your mobile in “Devices” under “Settings,” you can tweet via SMS – just remember you have a 140-character limit, not 160.  Blackberry: I suggest using Twitterberry. It’s good, not great, but keeps improving as it goes (it’s not even at version 1.0 yet). Check out for more on this.  iPhone: People seem to prefer Twitterific, although there are multiple apps.
  23. 23.  Twitter is open to developers. All kinds of people are making all kinds of applications. Check them out, see if you like them. If you do, be sure to pass them along so I can benefit from your action, despite my laziness.
  24. 24.  I tell people to think of Twitter like a river. It’s always there, and always moving. You’re never going to see all of it. Ever. And it’s never going to be exactly the same when you see it the next time. Ever. Just see what’s there while you’re looking at it, and if there’s selected content you want to look up, you can go back and either search for it, or look at the page of the user whose tweets you want to read.
  25. 25.  Seriously, people. I’m interesting, helpful, and a narcissist. Follow me at