If you’re looking for a way to get more of your information out there and want to join in conversations about almost anything and everything in the online realm, Twitter is the social media platform of choice for you. Essentially comprised of a network of users who publish messages no longer than 140 characters, Twitter is an effective tool for sharing news, information and interesting insights across the Worldwide Web. It is a quick, easy, and fun way to update friends, colleagues, and any followers about your own accomplishments, daily happenings and discoveries. Profiles on Twitter are public, so anyone can follow other Twitter users and their interests and causes.
Here are the initial steps to help familiarize yourself with Twitter so that you can begin Tweeting:
- Sign up for an account. After you sign up, create a “handle” or username in Twitter speak, that defines your online presence. Adding a profile picture and bio is next on the list, to let Tweet receivers know who you are and feel more comfortable including you in conversations.
- Follow other Tweets. Find your niche and the users who resonate with your interests. Following friends and acquaintances will help you get started, and checking out the Tweets of friends of friends will broaden your playing field. Twitter will begin to give you recommendations about who to follow once you’ve established interest in a certain industry or area. It is then up to you to decide who you want to follow or stop following (especially if they tweet so much that it clogs up your feed), just like adding or accepting friends on Facebook.
- Leave comments. Comments are the most effective and easiest way to enter the realm of the Tweeting world. If you have something to say, share it as a comment on a Tweet that you’ve found particularly interesting, and send your message to the world by Tweeting your followers. Using the “mention” tool (by adding an @ sign and a user’s handle) includes relevant people in the conversation and attracts more attention from the user you’ve mentioned.
- Use direct messages. Direct messages can be sent to an individual person you are following if you wish to communicate privately. To send a direct message, the person to whom you are sending it must also be following you. These messages can be sent by selecting “send a direct message” from the drop-down menu found on a user’s profile.
- Spread the word. Re-Tweet anything that you find pertinent and fascinating. Information can spread virally by re-Tweeting it from one person to the next, as the Tweet will then be sent to all of each of those Tweeter’s followers. Commenting on a Tweet before re-Tweeting it is possible by copying and then pasting onto your own profile. Just make sure to add the letters RT and the original Tweeter’s handle in your re-Tweet.
- Let Twitter track you. Add a hash tag (#) to any Tweet containing subject matter that you think is worth talking about. Using the hash tag allows Twitter to log and organize all the Tweets that use the same hash tag, so that conversations on the same subject matter are easily accessible.
- Speak your mind. Once you feel confident enough to begin creating your own voice and presence on Twitter, talk about it. Situate yourself in the realm of a subject in which you are particularly skilled or knowledgeable about and start sending out Tweets while you continue commenting on relevant ones. Once you’ve been recognized as an authority in a particular subject area, you’ll see followers flock to your handle. This is the time to continue building your name, and creating an identity on Twitter that reflects your ideas and personality. Just remember to stay true to your values and you’ll become a valuable asset to the Twitter community.