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Twitter 101 - an introduction to Twitter


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A broad overview of everything to do with twitter. Aimed at the newcomer who may have heard of twitter, and would like to know more.

This slideshow is from a presentation that I give regularly at my local community network.

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Twitter 101 - an introduction to Twitter

  1. 1. Twitter 101 Keith BradnamSlides from a presentation to the Davis Community Network, 22nd September 2011Author: Keith Bradnam,This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0Unported License.
  2. 2. Outline
  3. 3. What is twitter?Why use twitter?How to use twitter?
  4. 4. Some background
  5. 5. What twitter is... ‘Microblogging’ service ‘Social networking’ tool Messaging service hosted over the Internet and SMS Way to broadcast short messages (<140 characters) Messages can contain links to pictures, web pages etc. Free!The 140 character limit was chosen as the developers of Twitter wanted to be able to use allcell phones to send and retrieve tweets, and the SMS character limit is 160 (per textmessage).
  6. 6. Simple twitter overview Davis awarded Platinum bike status again Forecast to reach 97ºF tomorrow. Urghh. Cute kitten pics! - http:// Hope Tony Romo’s ribs don’t break againDifferent people within the twitter ‘ecosystem’ (dotted line) send out various messages(‘tweets’) at various times of the day.
  7. 7. Simple twitter overview Davis awarded Platinum bike status again Forecast to reach 97ºF tomorrow. Urghh. Cute kitten pics! - http:// Non-twitter user Hope Tony Romo’s ribs don’t break againMost tweets from twitter users can still be seen by non-twitter users by going to the twitterwebsite. However, they would have to view separate webpages for each person that they areinterested in.
  8. 8. Simple twitter overview Davis awarded Platinum bike status again Forecast to reach 97ºF tomorrow. Urghh. Cute kitten pics! - http:// Hope Tony Romo’s ribs don’t break againOther users who are within the twitter ecosystem (i.e. they have a twitter account) can simplyspecify the users they are interested in and they will then be able to see all tweets in *one*stream (presented in a chronological order).
  9. 9. Simple twitter overview Davis awarded Platinum bike status again Forecast to reach 97ºF tomorrow. Urghh. Cute kitten pics! - http:// Hope Tony Romo’s ribs don’t break again
  10. 10. What twitter is not... Not facebook Not a forum for verbose discussions Not the best tool for sharing lots of photos Not great for commenting on old news Not available in ChinaSome countries choose to ban services like twitter.
  11. 11. Who uses twitter? @oprah @ucdavis @bp_america @cnn @amnesty @kdvs903fm @kingsthings @nytimes @crepevilledavis @npr @conanobrien @comcast @bbc @yournamehereAll news organizations and most celebrities can now be found on twitter. Increasingly, manymore smaller companies and non-profits now have a presence as well. However, the largestnumber of twitter accounts are held by ‘regular’ people.
  12. 12. What’s the point?
  13. 13. What’s twitter for? “Don’t people just talk about what they had for lunch?”It is true that twitter contains many, many tweets that will not cause you to have a life-changing experience. The signal-to-noise ratio can be very low at times. That is not to saythat some tweets are not important or useful...
  14. 14. This is why it can matter Twitter can be a source of real time news, unfiltered by any news organizationIncreasingly, more and more people carry smart phones (with cameras). This has led to therise of the ‘citizen journalist’. If you have a phone with you when news is breaking, then youcan be the first person in the world to report on the news.
  15. 15. This is why it can matterAlerting people about major natural disasters, arranging civil protests, or just letting peopleknow of traffic problems that might delay your commute home...twitter can be great sourceof news, that will typically be faster than any traditional media outlet.
  16. 16. 230M Twitter is still growing Currently, ~300 million users. ~500,000 new users per day!Twitter continues to grow. Note that most accounts are held by people who tweet veryinfrequently (if at all).
  17. 17. Tweets are newsworthy? Easier for news organizations to gauge public opinionNews organizations used to send out reporters to get the opinion of the ‘man or woman onthe street’. Now they can just search twitter to find out the mood of the nation on any issueof the day.
  18. 18. Growth of the twitter ecosystem
  19. 19. The twitter ecosystemTwitter only manages text-based messages......but other companies can mine this data stream
  20. 20. Any website from any reputable company or organization is likely to contain a link to theirtwitter account.
  21. 21. Any many websites make it very easy to tweet about whatever you’re reading.
  22. 22. If you are signed into twitter, then it’s just two clicks in order to send a tweet
  23. 23. Other sites can be authorized to work with your twitter dataOther sites such as LinkedIn, facebook, and many others, can all be authorized to access yourtwitter account. A status update on one site can also be sent to your twitter account (and viceversa).
  24. 24. The twitter ecosystem There are 100’s of websites that support & extend twitterMany companies have made their name (and their livelihood) by supporting twitter.
  25. 25. twitter keeps expanding Twitter now aggregates pictures that you tweet aboutSometimes twitter makes moves that steps on the toes on these companies, and conceivablymight threaten their business.
  26. 26. How you can(productively) use twitter
  27. 27. Passive Keep tabs on friends and family Find out latest news about subject ‘x’ See what your favorite celebrity is up to Get updates on weather, sports results, earthquakes etc. See promotions from your favorite companiesIt’s perfectly fine to use twitter and never write a tweet...just use it to follow others.
  28. 28. Active Tweet about your life Post a link to something interesting Ask a question to your followers, get feedback on an idea Interact with your customers/users/students etc. Promote your blog/company Make new friends ‘Live-tweet’ an eventHowever, actively engaging with twitter can be very rewarding.
  29. 29. Real world examples Headphones Comcast Power outagesI once found out about the design of some headphones that I was interested in by contactingsomeone who just tweeted about them. The information I needed to know was nowhere onthe web, and my email to the company responsible went unanswered. Twitter saved the day.
  30. 30. Twitter terminology
  31. 31. tweets Most tweets are broadcast publicly...anyone can read themAll tweets also track details of time and date of tweet and client used to send tweet
  32. 32. the timeline tweets from people you follow appear together in the timeline Sorted by date Updates in real time (sort of)The timeline is the main way people engage with twitter. The timeline can be accessed on thetwitter website, from a desktop application, or from your phone, iPad etc.
  33. 33. mentions Mentions are only seen by people who follow both accountsYou can reply to tweets. These are known as mentions and twitter tracks the associationbetween the tweets that form a ‘conversation’. Mentions are just tweets that start with thename of the twitter account that you are replying to. This name uses up some of your 140characters though.
  34. 34. direct messages (DMs) Direct messages are only seen by recipient.This is like twitter’s in-house email system
  35. 35. retweets - 1 Retweeting is the action of flagging a tweet to your followersRetweeting allows people who follow you to become aware of tweets you find interesting,funny etc. This can be a good thing, but not if it is overused. Web and desktop clients allowyou to easily retweet by clicking on one link.
  36. 36. retweets - 2 This is twitter’s newer style of retweeting tweetsYou receive email notifications if one of your tweets is retweeted.
  37. 37. retweets - 3 Old style retweeting, just add ‘RT @username’ before tweetYou can also retweet by essentially copying and pasting a tweet but then adding ‘RT’ beforeit. The ‘RT’ + username eats into your 140 characters though, and you may have to edit themessage to make it fit. The need to edit messages is what led to twitter introducing thenewer style of retweeting.
  38. 38. retweets - 4 Having your tweets retweeted by others is a good thing... ...but it is not the only thing Only 6% of tweets are retweeted 92% of retweets occurs in first hour
  39. 39. Twitter accounts
  40. 40. About accountsAccounts can be public or privateYou can follow other twitter accountsOther accounts can follow youYou can search accountsYou don’t need an account to see people’s tweets
  41. 41. Followers vs following Followers Following @kbradnam @karrwinn @jwalls @nerdytwin @trimike @UCD123 @MitoThomas @JanedeLatigue @JanedeLatigue Details of followers/following is publicYou don’t have to follow someone just because they follow you!
  42. 42. Which type of account? Public Private Anyone can follow you You approve who follows you Tweets are only visible to All tweets are public people you approve You can still block users from Far less common than public following you accountsPrivate accounts are quite rare.
  43. 43. Searching tweets Twitter can let you search tweets from all accountsThe ability to quickly search millions and millions of tweets is one of the most powerfulfeatures of twitter. It lets you find tweets on any subject you might be interested in.
  44. 44. Twitter tools
  45. 45. Some features of twitter Favorites Hashtags Trends Twitter listsTwitter keeps adding new features (though maybe just 1–2 major features a year)
  46. 46. The main page of the twitter website is separated into various panels. This is what a usermight see when they are logged into an account. There are a lot of links on this page.
  47. 47. Favorites Just a way of ‘bookmarking’ a tweet Useful when tweets have interesting links to read later Favorites are publicCommon to ‘favorite’ a tweet which you see on your phone, especially if it contains a link tosomething, and then read later on when you get back to your computer (favorites are syncedbetween your devices).
  48. 48. How to favorite a tweetNote that favorites are publicly available for anyone to see. You also get an email if someone‘favorites’ one of your tweets.
  49. 49. hashtags A useful way of flagging keywords in a tweet Just put a hash character before a word (no spaces) #ucdavis #idol #genbio2010 It is easy to find other tweets that use the same hashtagHashtags turn words into clickable links that link to all other tweets that share the samehashtag. Used a lot for sports games (and teams), TV shows, scientific conferences, and other‘events’. But can be used for anything.
  50. 50. Hashtags are clickable
  51. 51. trends twitter keeps track of words, phrases, and hashtags that are popular Keeps a list of ‘trending topics’ on home pageYou can see trends for the world, different countries, or some major cities.
  52. 52. twitter lists An easy way of grouping together different users You don’t have to follow someone to put them in a list Can follow other people’s lists Lists can be made private
  53. 53. Lists can be public or private (one list in this image is private, denoted by the padlock icon).
  54. 54. You can add people to lists who you don’t follow as part of your main timeline. You can alsofollow lists by other people.
  55. 55. Some do’s and don’ts
  56. 56. Do Engage with people Try following people that you don’t know Be wary of twitter spam Add a picture and write something for your twitter ‘bio’It makes a huge difference to how you are perceived by others. People are much more likelyto follow you if you add information to your twitter bio.
  57. 57. Don’t Send too many tweets in a row about one topic Use twitter for conversations with your partner/family Worry about your follower count Expect to read all the tweets from all the people you follow Follow everyone who follows youYour twitter stream can easily become overwhelming as you follow more and more people.Don’t expect to always read everything. Treat it like a stream and just dip your foot in everynow and again. If there are people who you feel you *must* follow, add them to a list to makeit easier to follow their tweets.
  58. 58. Twitter is fairly good at getting rid of dubious accounts. When someone follows you, twittersends you an email and if they have never tweeted, and follow thousands of other people,then maybe consider reporting them to twitter.
  59. 59. Twitter clients
  60. 60. Many ways of using twitter Originally, you could only send tweets on the twitter web site or by phone (SMS message) Now there almost a 1,000 different ways of tweeting...from any platform Twitter have started to create their own ‘official’ twitter applications for each major platform
  61. 61. Take twitter anywhere Platform Number of clients Windows >160 Mac >130 Linux >50 iPhone/iPod >270 Android >60 Blackberry >40
  62. 62. Why use a client? Go mobile! Software to suit all styles Added functionality compared to web client Better support for adding photos, videos, web links etc Caution: not all clients support all twitter featuresPersonally, I find most clients end up offering a simpler and cleaner experience than thetwitter website.
  63. 63. Final thoughts
  64. 64. twitter keep changing The website keeps changing The set of available features keeps changing The ‘rules’ keep changingBut nowhere near as often as a site like facebook.
  65. 65. twitter is a business It is free – and will almost certainly remain free – but... has to make money somehow
  66. 66. Advertising Promoted tweets Sponsored trends Will adverts start appearing in between ‘regular’ tweets?Adverts that appear in your main timeline seem on the cards. One good thing about theseadverts is that they still follow the twitter rules. No more than 140 characters!
  67. 67. Should you use twitter? Yes No MaybeTwitter is not for everyone, but I personally find it rewarding and useful. I’ve met some greatpeople through twitter, and it’s now the first place where I hear about news happening (in mytown or across the world). There are people and companies out there who can educate,inform, and entertain you...all in 140 characters or less!
  68. 68. The End
  69. 69. What else? Saved searches Multiple accounts Twitter locations The fail whaleThere are many other features, aspects of twitter that I haven’t covered here.
  70. 70. Useful twitter resources@kbradnam’s Davis twitter listsOther twitter users!http://friendorfollow.comhttp://tweetstats.comhttp://twittergrader.comhttp://bit.ly