Why should I even bother?
Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not about what someone had for lunch. I use Twitter as a great source of news and ideas that interest me – I follow the right people who tweet things that make my life better. This means different things to different people. You could follow companies (newspapers? Apple?) or interesting people (Apple employees? Lindens?? authors? journalists? bloggers?). You’ll find the world suddenly opened up and you’re following links to topics and ideas and news that you otherwise won’t have found by yourself. Yes, you might have to sieve through a few tweets to find the nugget, but it’s worth it.
How does Twitter work?
Twitter is a like a pub conversation on almost any topic imaginable, held in cyberspace, where every sentence uttered is called a tweet. Every tweet must be within 140 characters – that’s the only hard rule. Twitter is part of the Social Media revolution sweeping the world by storm.
You follow other Tweeps and if you have something to contribute to the conversation, Tweeps will follow you too. When you follow someone, whatever they tweet will appear in your feed.
How is Twitter different from other “conversations”?
SL Group IMs require participants to be present, and for members to be in that group before they can see your post. In Twitter, you tweet, and anybody can search your timeline (at a later date) and see your history of tweets. At the same time, your tweet will appear in real time on your follower’s feeds, if they are online, and they can respond in real time if they wish. Otherwise, they can log in later and still see your tweets. Unlike personal IMs, tweest are broadcast to your followers.
Twitter is different from Facebook, in that anyone can follow anyone. You don’t need that person’s permission to follow him. However, before you can send a Direct Message to that someone (that is private and not viewable by third parties), both of you need to be following each other (to prevent abuse).
What do I need to sign up?
Just any email. Sign up at http://twitter.com .
Now that I’ve signed up, what’s next?
First thing to do is upload a photo and write a few words about yourself. Leaving your pic as an egg isn’t making it very appealing for others to follow you, or engage with you.
Okay I’ve updated my profile, what’s next?
Look around and explore those who are following who and just follow them. Don’t worry, if you don’t like their tweets, you can always unfollow them any time. When you surf, and you like a certain author or blogger, you can follow him too. People often retweet tweets they like – and if you like the tweet, you might also follow the original poster. Soon you will have a good flow of tweets.
How do I start a conversation?
Just type away and say anything. A good way to start is to tweet quotations, or retweet stuff from other people. Using #hashtags (see below) allow other people to find your tweets. Think of it more as a broadcast than a real conversation. A shout into Cyberspace.
If you want to talk to a specific person, start your tweet with that person’s handle. e.g. “@lululudovico Hello, I’m in Twitter now!” That way, @lululudovico will see your tweet on her @mentions feed, whether or not she follows you. And your followers will not see that tweet, unless they follow both you and @lululudovico.
What are # hashtags?
Words preceded by a # are called hash tags. They’re just a tag (like tags on a blog post). Anyone searching the tag will see your tweet. It’s also a way of searching for interesting tweets on #secondlife and #bdsm for example.
How do I get followers?
Many people (not all) do follow you back if you follow them. If nothing else, it’s plain courtesy. Also, if you use #hashtags, people will find your tweets, and if they like them they may follow you. They may also retweet your tweets to their followers, and you might find new followers that way.
What is RT?
“RT” simply means a retweet of someone else’s tweet, for the benefit of the retweeter’s followers. The retweeter might add some personal comments in front.
What is #FF or #FollowFriday?
It’s a custom where people shout out to their followers interesting people they should follow.
Where can I find out more?
Try Twitter’s FAQ:
Or, just google your question. You’ll find a whole new world out there.
Did I miss anything? Let me know!