realfollower.jpgGetting Started with Twitter

If you don't get this joke now, you may later!

A man walks into doctor's office, "Help me, Help me! I'm addicted to Twitter!" Doctor says, "Sorry, I don't follow you."
  1. Go to Twitter. Click "Sign Up" and go through the steps to get an account.
  2. Your user name will be used to create your Twitter ID that will be seen by the world. You can create a catchy or clever phrase, your name, or a blending of a part of your first and last name. Mine is "CheekyLitTeach". Note that on my profile, my first and last name are displayed as well. Some choose to not use their full names; however, it is recommended to be yourself.
  3. Once you finish your confirmation process, you can add more detail to your profile. Try to describe yourself specifically, possibly including personal interests as well.
  4. You can set your tweets to private, so that you have to approve who may see your tweet. There are more people not protecting their tweets than those who do protect their tweets. If you are going to only use this account in a professional manner, there's no need to protect your tweets.
  5. Go to the search box and enter my Twitter ID: CheekyLitTeach. When my account appears, click follow and you will be able to see my tweets.
  6. Next, go to Tweet Chat. You will need to sign in to use this service. There are several 3rd party services that work with Twitter, and when you sign up for them, you must "Allow" access to your Twitter account. Click the "Allow" button when asked. [BE CAREFUL though because there are sometimes spam or malicious requests for you to give access to your account. If you allow access to one of these disreputable requests, your followers will be spammed. Note that you can easily correct this problem by changing your password, but your followers will not like it nevertheless!]
  7. Add the hashtag "gr8moon" and we will have our own filtered conversation.
  8. Make a comment to the group!
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Following/Followers - If you want to follow someone because you believe that what he/she has to say is valuable, then click the "follow" button for that person. Others will follow you as well if they believe that you have someone of value to say.

Tweeting - To send a tweet, write something in the box, but remember that you have limited characters.

Retweet - RT is displayed with the message if you decide to tweet someone else's tweet to your own followers or to a hashtag. It's possible to edit the RT as long as there's characters available.

Hashtags - Hashtags are short words or phrases that are preceded by the pound sign (#). They are used to search all the tweets on Twitter. If you post a comment to a hashtag, anyone following that hashtag will see your tweet. My favourite educationally related hashtag is #edchat. It's a group that has one hour chats every Tuesday at 1pm and 7pm on a current educational topic.

URLs in Tweets - When someone wants to send a link to his/her followers, a URL shortener can be useful since your characters are limited to 140. Here are two URL shorteners that are useful: Bit.ly, Moo URL and Tiny URL.

Lists - After you have more followers or those you are following, you may want to create lists to organize them. If I follow someone new, I add them to lists right away. I can look at the tweets of a particular list of Twitter friends using a Twitter management system.


Twitter Management Systems
There are several available, but I have found the best to be TweetDeck. It is an application that you download to your computer to manage your followers and tweets. Once you have numerous contacts in Twitter, you may wish to use such an application to organize your incoming tweets and direct messages. Also it automatically shortens links and has a tool to shorten the tweet by shortening key words.
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