I wrote two separate Twitter how-to’s back in 2012 and I think it’s time for a bit of an update. While most of the information remains the same, Twitter looks quite a bit different than it did back in 2012. So buckle up and follow along, newbies!
A basic rule of Twitter: Whatever you have to say, you have to say in 140 characters or less. Twitter keeps count for you like this:
Hopefully you already have some people followed on Twitter (that will make this a lot easier to understand!). If you don’t, try to find one or two Twitters to follow before we get started. You can follow mine here if you’d like :) If I’m scrolling through my Twitter feed on my homepage, each tweet has greyed out options beneath it.
The options are Reply, Retweet, Favorite, and More (which is sharing options or reporting a tweet for inappropriate content). (You can disregard the Hootsuite option. That’s social media scheduling software I have installed on my browser!) Clicking ‘Reply’ will allow you to reply to original poster with your own Tweet. A dialogue box will drop down with the original poster’s Twitter name already filled out like this: Clicking ‘Retweet’ will post the Tweet, as it is, onto your Twitter page for all of your followers to see. It will ask you if you want to Retweet like this: After you click ‘Retweet’, it will show up on your Twitter profile like this:
Clicking ‘Favorite’ will simply make that Tweet a favorite of yours. The original poster will be notified of this, but that’s all it does. Equate it to ‘Liking’ a post on Facebook, if you will. If you ‘Favorite’ a Tweet by mistake, you can simply ‘Unfavorite’ in the same place you ‘Favorited’. There are 4 tabs at the top of the homepage: Home, Notifications, #Discover, and Me. Your ‘Home‘ at the top of the page is simply all the Tweets of the Twitter accounts you follow, in one chronological place. If another user replies to a Tweet of mine, or simply types in @jessicaphilo in one of their Tweets, I’ll be notified of this on my Twitter homepage. The Notifications tab tells me when I’ve been mentioned by someone else. Like this:
The ‘#Discover‘ tab is what it says it is once you’ve clicked it: “What’s happening now, tailored for you.” This lets you know what people you follow have favorited, who they’ve newly followed, and what Tweets have recently become popular. The ‘Me’ tab is simply your Twitter profile.
The ‘Search‘ box allows you to save certain searches you’ve performed in the past, so if you search for academic advising frequently, you can just go to the ‘searches’ tab and quickly search for ‘academic advising’ automatically. Twitter has a pretty helpful how-to page on searches if it seems like something you’d be interested in. The Lists tab is a bit hidden but you can find it by going to your Twitter profile and clicking the ‘more’ option. Lists allow you to put Twitter accounts you follow into groups. You don’t have to be following an account to add it to one of your lists, but let’s say you’ve found a few really great Twitter accounts about higher ed, but you don’t necessarily want to follow them and see their Tweets on your Timeline all the time. By putting these Twitter accounts into a group (AKA a list), you can see their Tweets on demand and get the latest higher ed scoop when you so desire. Twitter has a pretty helpful how-to page on lists as well if it seems like something you’d like to explore. Some common terminology to know: RT: Just means Retweet. #: This is called a hash tag. #FF (below) is a good example of a common hash tag. However, you can make a hash tag anything you’d like. My personal favorite hash tag is #Hmph. Any unseparated words that follow a hash tag create a clickable link that will take you to every Tweet that mentions that same hash tag. Just be careful. If you want to use the hash tag ‘Black Friday’ you have to enter it in as #BlackFriday for the entire phrase to be used. Otherwise, it will look like #Black Friday and #Black will be the only clickable hash tag. Trends: If a hash tag is used by a lot of users in a short amount of time it will begin to ‘Trend’. Trending topics will show up on the left hand side of your home page, below the compose a Tweet section. You can change your settings to see Trends near you, in another city, or nationwide. #FF: Follow Friday. Some users go through their Twitter each Friday and say thanks to their followers who show support or are new followers. Essentially, #FF is a way to play nice on Twitter; a good way to send warm fuzzies over the internet.A #FF Tweet might look something like this: If you’d like to mention a Twitter in one of your Tweets, start out by typing ‘@’ followed by their user name. For example, if you type ‘@s’ for example, like I did, any Twitter accounts you follow that start with ‘s’ will appear underneath the text box, and you can select which Twitter you want to include in your Tweet. Other useful knowledge: Direct Messages: Let’s say you have a friend or colleague on Twitter and you’d like to send them a private message. We call this DM-in/PM-ing, or sending a Direct Message/Private Message. (It should be noted that people who follow you can send you a direct message, and you can’t send a direct message to someone who isn’t following you.) To direct message another user, go to your homepage, and click the little envelope that doubles as a speech bubble in the top right corner. Once you’re on the messages tab, you’ll see a ‘New Message’ button. After clicking the ‘New Message’ button, a dialogue box will appear, like this. Where I typed @InsideHigherEd, this is where you put in the desired recipient of your message. In the box below that, type in your message (in 140 characters or less)! and then hit ‘Send’! Themelon: The basic Twitter theme is quite boring (yawn). To spruce up your Twitter profile (like I have) click here to go to Themelon, where they have thousands of pretty, customizable themes. Protected Twitter Accounts: Some people have their Tweets privatized and must approve who follows their Tweets and has access to them. If someone’s Tweets are protected, a lock will show next to their username. If you’d like to make your Tweets private, so only approved followers can see them, go to your homepage and click on the little settings gear, and a dropdown menu will appear, like this: Click the settings option, you’ll automatically be taken to your Account Settings page. On the left side of the page, you’ll see a Security and Privacy tab. Click that, and you’ll be taken to this page where you’ll see an option to ‘Protect my Tweets”. If you check the box, your Tweets will be made private. Following is a one way street. It’s not mutual, and just because you follow a Twitter doesn’t mean they have to follow you back for you to access their Tweets, and vice versa. That’s all I have as far as the basics go, but if you’re really jonsing for a more in-depth introduction, (or you have a question about Twitter) feel free to mention me on Twitter, comment on this post, or shoot me an email at JessicaPhilo@Temple.edu. Happy Tweeting!