Twitter is a hybrid instant messaging/text messaging/blogging service used to answer one question, "What are you doing?" Twitter is based on a system of "Followers".
Getting StartedFirst, sign up for a free account at Twitter.com and create a username. Your username will also be the end of your Twitter URL (i.e.- www.twitter.com/username) to share with others.
Updating is the process of writing a post to Twitter. This is also known as Tweeting or Twittering. A single post is commonly called a "tweet". To "tweet" something out on Twitter, simply visit Twitter and login to using your username and password. Once there you will see the Update field where you type your updates.
Your Friends Timeline is updated with those that you are "following".
Those who follow your updates are your "followers" and will see your updates in their Friends Timeline
Replies to you are found by clicking the Replies tab. Replies are not necessarily from those that you are following. Replies appear in this list whenever someone who is following you begins their update with @yourusername.
In Settings > Notices you can adjust how replies to your account are displayed. Choose whether to see "all @ replies", @ replies to the people I'm following" or "no @ replies".
- Reading replies from followers that you may have missed while offline.
- Aggregate replies to a prompt or question you have put out on your Twitter network (i.e. - using it as a polling or survey tool)
Sometimes you don't want all of your followers to read an update meant for a specific person. This is what the Direct Message feature was designed for. To send a Direct Message or DM click on Direct Messages (or similar feature in another Twitter app) and select the person to send a message, then write your message. The 140 character limit applies to Direct Messages too, so be concise.
Using hashtags has become a common practice when people want to group updates around a topic or event. For instance, updates related to the NYSCATE conference might use the hashtag #nyscate.
One of the most powerful uses of Twitter is searching for what people are saying related to a specific topic. Use the search field located your Twitter page to search a term or follow current "trends". Users can search hashtags in this field as well.
Building Your Network
- Twitterific (Mac)
- Snitter (Windows/Mac) -
- Twitterberry (Blackberry) - Read and post Tweets from your Blackberry phone
- Twitbin (Firefox Plugin) - Firefox add-on that sits in a sidebar for you to watch for updates or to update yourself.
- Twitterbar - a nice addition to your Mozilla browser, post sites you are currently browsing or simply write your update in the address field.
- More Apps...
- Tweetie (iPhone) - Twitter updates for your iPhone