A few years ago, anyone using the terms “tweeting” and “hashing” would likely be looked at rather sideways. When you think about it, the English language has significantly expanded (and yes, shortened) since technology and the internet has become prevalent in our everyday lives which means that terms that didn’t once exist are now used on a regular basis. Even phrases like “follow me” have become mainstream. If you haven’t yet joined Twitter, or you have an account but don’t use it, I might just be able to convince that a few minutes spent with Twitter might be worth it.
First of all, to sign up for Twitter:
You can download a help sheet here: Introduction to Twitter
Second, follow the help sheet to get started. I suggest that you follow some larger “names” to get started, but also try to reach out to follow people you know! To find someone, you can search by their Twitter handle (their @name), or by their actual name. For example, my Twitter name is @m35allen, but if you search for Michelle Allen, you’ll also locate me! Once you have become familar with Twitter, your profile and your followers, you can begin to “tweet” out to the world at large!
Sending a Tweet:
Twitter sends out information in 140 characters or less, which means anything you tweet needs to be concise and specific. I wouldn’t recommend using most forms of shorthand in composing tweets, as there may be people reading your tweets that don’t necessarily understand your coded shorthand. Type your tweet into your homepage, and then click on “tweet” to send. It’s important to use the “@” and “#” features in Twitter so that people can see what you are sending out. By including an “@name” in your tweet, you are directing your information at a specific person or organization, and it allows for more people to see your tweet besides those who follow you. By including a “#” you are categorizing your tweet into a stream of like tweets, that many people potentially follow. For example, “#think35” is the tag for tweets related to Langley School District. You can also include a link in your tweet, but keep in mind that sometimes web addresses are long. This means that you will need to use a tool to shorten your link, one option being http://bit.ly.
The biggest thing to remember about Twitter is that to make it worthwhile, you have to actually participate with it! Send articles out, inquire about issues to other users and make an identify for yourself. You don’t need thousands of followers to be a successful tweeter; however, the more you use it, the more connected you become and likely the more you’ll find it to be useful.