Introduction: How to Use Twitter

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What you will need:
1. Internet access.
2. A browser compatible with www.twitter.com (Such as Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, and /or Safari).


Obtaining a Twitter account:
1. Open your browser and visit www.twitter.com.
2. Click on the “sign up” link.
3. Fill out all required information and agree to the terms of service. At the conclusion of signing up, visit your email inbox to confirm your account information. 



Definitions:

Tweet - A message sent or posted via Twitter.

Step 1: Home Page

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Important items on the home page:


After signing in, you will view the following page. Take a look at some of the features:

1. Status Update Bar. This is where you can update your status; you can type up to 140 characters. Additionally, you can send pictures, videos, articles, and other content (See sending a tweet).

2. Twitter feed. This is a feed of your tweets, and the tweets of everyone you follow. The Twitter Feed is the best place to check what everyone is talking about. See below for an expansion of the functionality of this feed.

3. Trending topics. This is a comprehensive list of what people in the world are talking the most about on twitter. Today, Google released a new program called “Google Art Project,” which has garnered some attention.

4. Who to follow. This is a list of suggested people or organizations you should follow based on people you are already following. This list is generated by an algorithm similar to those found in iTunes or Match.com.

5. Following. This is a list of people you are following, and Followers is a list of people who are following you.
 

Step 2: Sending a Tweet

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Sending a Tweet:
The most common messages to tweet are (1) personal thoughts (2) articles and (3) pictures. Each has their own set of rules.

Sending a personal thought:

Simply visit the status update bar and type your thoughts, keep in mind that you have only 140 characters. Once done press “Tweet.”

Sending an article:

To send an article, you can copy and paste the URL into the status update bar. However, recall that you can only use 140 characters per tweet and some links can be upwards of 40 characters. There are ways to shorten URL’s (See special twitter functions).

Sending a picture:

Twitter.com does not have a built in way to send a picture. Fortunately, several software developers have made applications for twitter, which allow you to post pictures and videos. Visit any of the following sites: plixi, twitpic, or yfrog and set up an account. Once registered, you can send as many pictures as you would like to your twitter account.
 
Following:

Following someone on twitter means that you will see their message updates in your Twitter Feed. In order to follow someone, search for them using the search bar on the top of the home page. Once found click “follow” and now their tweets will appear in your twitter feed.
 

Step 3: Special Twitter Functions

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URL Shorteners: As mentioned above, sending URL’s can come at the cost of using too many characters in a tweet. URL shorteners make URL's manageable. URL shorteners are clients that have been created for twitter; some of the most common URL shorteners are bit.ly, tiny.url and Google URL Shortener.

Mentions: If you would like to mention another user in your tweet you can do this by using the “@” symbol and then typing the user name of the person or organization you are interested in tweeting. Here is an example:

"@bbcnews Thank you for your coverage of the war in Iraq, it was very touching."

This tweet will show up in the user bbcnews Mentions feed. If you are mentioned in a tweet, that tweet will show up in your Mentions feed.

Retweet: If there you come across a tweet that contains information you wish to share with everyone in your feed you can do so by retweeting it. Retweeting is essentially like forwarding an email. If you hoover your mouse over a tweet, on the bottom of the tweet there will be a retweet button. Click it and their tweet will appear in your news feed.

Hash Tag : A hash tag is a way to file your tweet in a category; it is similar to tagging in a blog post. The hash tag is marked by the pound sign “#.” Here is an example of a proper use of a hash tag.

"I think I will blow the dust of The Soul of Black Folk. #blackhistorymonth."

Notice that #blackhistorymonth turned blue. It is now a hyperlink. If you click on it, you will see a stream of what everyone in twitter is saying about black history month. Also notice that in the Trends section #blackhistorymonth is trending throughout the world.
 

Step 4: Enjoy

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The best way to learn the nuances of Twitter is by using it regularly, find sometime each day to share an article, or a thought with your Followers.


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