Twitter for Beginners! The Quick, Dirty, Easy Version *Updated

Welcome to TWITTER!  Now what…?

Here’s the basic run-down — the quick, dirty, easy version.  If you follow my advice, I am pretty sure you will get a great deal of enjoyment & social interaction out of using twitter, if not some new friends!

There are things you can do with twitter that most people don’t understand at first – you can post pictures, you can post links to websites, you can find people that have your same interests, you can track events & use it for research, almost like a live current-events report in certain cases. You can use it to discover local events, local friends, local everything!

You’re a big fan of a certain product/band/celebrity/restaurant? Are YOU the certain product/band/celebrity/restaurant??!! You might be able to find out insider info on them with a little bit of twitter sleuthing… Twitter is an easy way to build up your status/credibility among people who have the same interests as you do, and just to express who you really are to the masses!

Twitter is a social broadcasting platform which allows creative people an outlet.

You can make twitter work for you however you want, from the web, from your phone, any time of day or night.

First thing you need to understand about twitter is there is a slight learning curve. If you are willing to be patient & understand that to really appreciate twitter will take some time, then you are approaching twitter in the right mind-frame.

Twitter is a big on-going discussion that you can join into or ignore as you please. To talk to someone, use an @username. If you want to say something to me, type: @bentoons hi benny! On the right side of twitter, you are able to track whatever someone has been saying to you by clicking on @yourusername. Those of you who want a lot of people to interact with you easily, make your username easy to remember & type!

You can also search by anyone’s @username using the search box on the right side. Use the search box to discover things you are interested in & follow the people who are talking about them! Soon they will start seeing your messages and will most-likely respond back to you sooner or later. Keep in mind that people don’t always get back to you immediately, and sometimes may even miss a message now and again. Twitter is fun, but it really can’t be everyone’s main priority 24-7.

Speaking of the menu along the top edge, you will see other tools such as:

  • Direct Messaging – privately messaging other twitter users, must be following them to ‘DM’ them,
  • Favorites – keeps track of any tweets you star (to bookmark temporarily for later, or just show appreciation for something cool,
  • Retweets – hey cool, people are RETWEETING things that I’m saying!

Once you gain some friends, you may see that you can actually track special topics & even create topics for people to track. You’ll see people using the number sign in front of words or phrases like: #bentoonslunch The # on twitter is called a ‘hashtag.’ If you use the same hashtag for a post that relates to a topic you will talk about a lot, it will help people see all of your messages on the same topic. If I put #bentoonslunch on every tweet I post about my lunch, soon people will be able to search & find a little story about what I have for lunch. The key is to be consistent with your hashtags. Yes you can click on them! Try it out when you find one you think is interesting…

There are a lot of other things you will pick up on as you go – half the fun of twitter is learning more tips & tricks to express yourself & learn about others. If you see something that you think is neat, incorporate it in your daily tweets. Other websites to check out:

twitpic.com – use your same username & password to post pictures. If you’re on twitter, you’re automatically on twitpic. You will find the website address (URL) to be short & concise & easy to copy/paste to tweet about your picture.

URL shortening websites – there are a TON of them! too many to list, but here are a few: bit.ly – ow.ly – tinyurl.com There are also phone clients you can download which make a long URL short for you automatically. In order to share something on the web, learn to use one or more of these sites!

One more tip I’ll give you off the bat, and then you’re on your own to seek & learn. If you go to my twitter page: http://www.twitter.com/bentoons (or the short version: tinyurl.com/bentoons) then you will see that under each of my posts are different messages.

It tells you how long ago it was posted, what method I used to post it, and if I was replying to someone. I use a variety of methods, from the web (are good I’m at work), from Tweetcaster (from my droid phone!), from hootsuite (I am probably posting to myspace/facebook/linked-in or another website at the same time, think two birds, one stone… or maybe just using it to shorten a URL)

You see one of these weird little messages, you can actually click on it for more info. There are all kinds of links on twitter that you need to click on, investigate, screw-up, & figure out, to get the most out of twitter! Click, click, click!!!

If you can’t figure out how to do something, or what something means, search for it on twitter, ask your followers, or even message me @bentoons and I will happily A: fill you in, or B: learn what it is with you,( & then, see A).

Be patient! Make friends! Have fun! Happy Tweeting!

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To share this article with others, use my fancy shortened URL:  http://ping.fm/II2t8

If it helped you learn how to use twitter, shoot me a quick comment! (sometimes I like to know if people actually care what I’m talking about)

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