A Social Networking Tool for Busy People
Twitter is becoming the fatest growing social networking tool available. Find out exactly what it is and how to use it. Send a "tweet" in minutes.
The Internet is all a-buzz about Twitter. What is Twitter? It's a way to keep family, friends, and coworkers up-to-date with what an individual is doing by using an instant messenger service, the web, as well as with mobile texting, plus other venues.
Messages sent out by Twitter users are limited to 140 characters, which is just enough for a quick update.
How Twitter was Created
Twitter is an interesting concept that was created by Jack Dorsey and became an incorporated company in May of 2007. Since then, it has grown to be an Internet phenomenon, often featured on news channels on the web [Twitter Breaking News Video, Chris Pirillo, CNN News, April 17, 2008]. It is also call microblogging. It works much the same way as a blog, only with the character limit. Once a Twitter is posted on the website, people are able to easily see what other people are doing. Individuals can, in turn, let others know what is going on with them as well.
The concept of Twitter relies on messaging services, whether it uses a cell phone, instant messager, such as Yahoo Messenger or MSN Messenger, or through specific websites. It allows the user to send messages to friends and family quickly and easily. Twitter only asks one question, “What are you doing?” As long as an answer is 140 characters or less, it is possible for thousands of people to see the answer immediately.
Using a Twitter Account
One must create an account, but it only takes minutes. It is free to join. Simply complete a profile, including uploading a picture. Link the newly created account to a cell phone, web page, or instant messenger program, which allows the user to receive and send messages to and from others. An update that is sent to friends is called a “tweet."
Twitter can be linked to other social networks, blogs, and websites. For instance, post a blog update and use the Twitter button. The blog entry will be sent to the people specified by the sender. This only works when logged into the Twitter account.
A user can also follow other users as well. It's easy to have conversations with other people, and before long, many people will be watching updates from many different people. Twitter is a really unique social media tool that helps individuals with:
· Article marketing
· Social networking
· Promoting website traffic to specific websites
· Staying in touch with people
The website is user-friendly and walks a new user through the entire setup process. There is also a frequently asked questions page to help those with questions about how to use Twitter for the first time or on different devices.
Don't overdo it with the updates. Keep them to a minimum to avoid annoying people. By sending too many messages in a day (or week or month), it runs the risk of individuals beginning to remove people from their list. Consider sending one message a day or setting up different groups, so as to target specific updates to those who are really interested in the messages sent. By setting up groups, personal messages will go to only those it is intended for as well.
Unfortunately, Twitter has also become very popular with Internet marketers that are realizing that most people will open a message from Twitter. There are many spammers that are using it to exploit their business. Twitter is working to correct this issue.
Twitter is a terrific tool for today's busy individual. The company is growing very quickly and expects to offer a way for people to access groups, much like Yahoo has now. This is in response to so many people asking for this type of service. Twitter is committed to providing a terrific social media for many years to come.
As a few of you will know I have been “tweeting” on Twitter over the last few weeks (Follow me here). Several people have asked me what is Twitter or how can I use it so I thought I would write an explanation.
What is ?
Twitter is a Micro-Blogging tool which allows you to send and read user updates – known as Tweets (limited to 140 characters a Tweet).
To get the most out of Twitter you need to follow people. Then everytime they Tweet it will appear on your twitter homepage as an RSS feed. Many people and companies are on Twitter. Here are a couple that I am currently following and enjoy their updates
Stephen Fry – http://twitter.com/stephenfry - Stephen Fry’s Tweets are always worth reading, he always has insightful and unusual things to say.
Retail Week – http://twitter.com/retailweek – Retail Week – The Trade publication Retail Week uses its Twitter account to Tweet breaking news. This is often the first place I hear the news as they Tweet it as soon as they get it!
How to read Tweets
You can of course log into the Twitter website to read Tweets. However the best way to use Twitter (IMHO) is to use a Twitter client of which their are several. A twitter client will keep checking your twitter account for new updates so they will just pop up on your desktop (or mobile device) also you have more functionality all on one place. My favourite Twitter Client is Tweetdeck.
A guide to Tweetdeck and Twitter Etiquette.
Tweetdeck can be downloaded here http://www.tweetdeck.com
Above is picture of Tweetdeck. As you can see it allows you to see several types of Tweets all at once in several columns.
As default it will show
All Tweets – Every Tweet you send, or someone you’re following writes
Replies - When you Tweet you can use the @ symbol to reply – eg @Charlesbarsley means that you have read one of CharlesBarsley’s Tweets and you are replying to him. A reply will only appear on their Feed, eg if you reply to me it will show on my feed but people who are following either of us will not see it unless they go directly to our Twitter page. Tweetdeck shows replies as their own feed which helps you to easily follow conversations.
Directs - A direct message is sent with the d symbol at the start of the message eg d Charlesbarsley. A direct message can only be read by the recipient.
Retweet – If you enjoy someone else’s Tweet and want to share it with your followers you can Retweet it with the RT command eg RT @Charlesbarsley – (or just click the Retweet button in Tweetdeck) – By retweeting you can share the post while allowing your followers to see the original poster incase they want to follow them.
Those are the main twitter commands, you can write your own tweet, reply to someone elses, send a direct tweet just to someone or retweet someone elses tweet.
Other Tweetdeck / Twitter functions
Shorten URL’s – Often you’ll want to include a URL in your post. Tweetdeck has a function to automatically shorten it as it will be included in your character limit.
Favourites - If you want to save a post favourite it. Twitter has its own favourite feed.
Groups – If you follow so many people that it’s hard to follow the messages or you want to group the people you follow you can create groups. Then you can see a separate feed for each group of the people you follow.
Twitter Search - You can search the whole of Twitter for a word and see an updating feed on Tweetdeck of posts which include that word. If you’re following a news story or subject this could be a great way to keep up to date.
So hopefully this post has helped you as an introduction to Twitter, I’m two week’s into Twitter and I am still not sure quite how I want to use it, I am very picky about who I follow as I want to read and enjoy every post but I am not sure what I should Tweet about myself. At the moment some of my Tweets are quite random, I think I want to tweet more about retail / Computing News, and what I’m doing. I also want to Tweet less about completely random things which people don’t want to hear about.