The Beginners’ Guide to Twitter – Part 2
Friends and family are always a good place to start building your following, when using a social networking site for the first time. If you enter either a username or surname in the search box at the top of the screen it will bring up a list of Tweets with the search term in them. On the right hand side is “People results for ‘search term” just below the Twitterers that are listed is ‘More people results’ if you click that, a list of users will be shown.
You can begin following these people by clicking the button that has a white cross in a green circle. Hopefully, friends and family will follow you back but if you start following celebs they may not always return the favour.
You will be able to see the public Tweets of anyone you follow, if they follow you back then they can see your Tweets.
Learn the lingo
When you post a public tweet (we’ll come to the difference between public and direct messages later) all of your followers can see what you have to say.
If you want to send a tweet to someone specific and are happy for the rest of your followers to see that message then use the REPLY option. You can send a public tweet to anyone whether they are following you or not. On the Home Page of your Twitter profile you will see a list of the latest tweets by the people you are following. The Reply option is just below a person’s Tweet and is in blue text. A reply is when you use their Twitter username with the @ symbol before it. Such as:
“@joebloggs have you subscribed to the Fasthosts Blog yet?”
Anyone who is following me will see the message, those who are not following me will not see that Tweet.
You can also send DIRECT MESSAGES to any of your followers. A direct message does not show up on your profile page and only you and the recipient can see that message. A Twitterer must be following you in order for you to send them a direct message. In the example below you will notice you don’t need to use @username because it is sent directly to that person:
“Hi Joe, have you seen Fasthosts latest post on 10 Brilliant Twitter Tools for Businesses?”
From time to time you will also come across HASHTAGS. A hashtag is any word in Twitter which is immediately preceded by the ‘#’ symbol. For example Fasthosts have a tag for the Blog which is #fhblog so that anyone who wants to send us a Tweet with a question/comment related to the blog can use that tag. Our team here monitor those Tweets and reply as best we can.
“@fasthosts have you thought of posting a blog post on SEO for websites? #fhblog”
Let gets Twittering
So it’s time to let the world know your thoughts, interests and ideas. Remember that your limited to 140 characters and only your Twitter followers or those that visit your Twitter profile will see your Tweets.
You can Tweet as much as you like about whatever you like, however, try and Tweet about things that are interesting, unusual, entertaining, informative and fun. This will help you build your followers, if you have strong knowledge of a particular subject then you could choose to Tweet about that.
Tweet links to great articles or videos you’ve found. It’s completely up to you how you use Twitter although it is worth taking a quick look through Twitters spam policy to ensure you Tweet within their Terms of Service.
Keep in mind that anyone can potentially view your Tweets by visiting your profile (eg.http://bit.ly/b0kLMm). So be careful when talking about when you leaving your house, where you’re going, if you’re home alone or anything else that could put you, your friends/family or your possessions in danger.
Twitter is a great social networking site and is being used by thousands more people every day. Get involved and if you have any questions about Twitter or the Fasthosts Blog then drop us a Tweet @fasthosts and include the hashtag #fhblog.