wine on the keyboard

What is Twitter

by Kay~Kacey on 9/29/2008

Are you one of those “what the heck is Twitter, anyway?” people? I was too. I signed up. Logged in. Got overwhelmed and didn’t go back for months. I didn’t get the whole mircoblogging thing.

twitter front page

So, for you, those who like me who just kind of scratch your head and ask “what IS Twitter?”, I’ll try to explain a bit. I might even get you to check it out. To realize the potential. To get in on the fun.

(this is a long post, so I split it into two sections. Click on the more key if you need to to see the second half of the post.)

Easy Guide to Twitter:

Twitter is a microblogging platform. You have 140 characters to say what you want to say. No more, but you can use less. Twitter isn’t only about letting people know what you’re doing, what you’re eating, what the weather is…though people do filter in those brief comments about their lives. Twitter is about finding other like minded individuals and following them. It’s about instant access to information. It’s another building block in your online community.

Go to Twitter.com and sign up for an account. It’s quick, it’s easy. Use your real name, your pseudonym, your business name, or a name you’re know as online, depending on what/who you’re trying to connect to. A lot of people use their blog name.

twitter sign up

Okay, all signed up? Go to your settings page and upload a photo for your avatar. No, you don’t have to, but it sure makes it easier to keep track of people on twitter when they have a unique avatar.

twitter avatar

Go to some of your favorite blogs and see if they have a follow me on twitter link. Click on it and follow them. You’ll now see their updates. Easy, right?

Go to Twitter and type your first update into the box. Just type away. 140 characters. Go for it. Everyone following you will see what you said.

twitter page

This is what you’ll see. A list of updates from people you follow. (sorry for the blurry screen capture)

What’s this whole @ thing about?

You’ll see updates like this:

mentalmama @kaceyskeyboard How was your walk today?

This means Mental Mama has commented to me, but anyone following me will see the update.

What’s with Direct Messages?

Our same beloved Mental Mama could have sent the message to me directly:

d kaceyskeyboard You slacker I know you haven’t walked today. Wuss.

With a direct message, only the person it was sent to will see it. So I don’t have to hurt Mental Mama for yelling at me publicly. :wink:

I also have the Twitterific app installed on my iPhone and I can keep up with Twitter when I’m on the road. You don’t know how entertaining that can be on long road trips!

Now Some Really Cool Ways to Use Twitter.

Politics and Twitter.

Want to keep up what’s going on in the political arena? Go to the Twitter Election Coverage page. It’s a live feed of election topics people are tweeting about. This was an amazing way to follow the presidential candidates debates! I’m so going to be there for the vice presidential candidates debates too.

What’s happening Right Now.
What to know something that’s happening right now? Use the Twitter Search Page.

I’ve used it for topics such as:

Hurricane Ike (I put in the name of the town we used to live in in Louisiana to see how it handled the storm)
Mizzou (for football game scores)
BlogHer08 (info on the conference I went to in San Francisco)
Palin
iPhone

How do I use Twitter?

I use Twitter to keep up with my blogging friends. I’ve also discovered a lot of other interesting, like minded people that I follow now. I follow the hometown paper in the town where my boys go to college. I follow software companies of applications I’ve gotten for my iPhone like Evernote. When I find a blog post I really like, I link to it on Twitter if I think my followers might be interested in it too. I sometimes link to my own blog posts. I ask questions that I need an answer to. People have a lot of answers for you!

I’ll mention TwitterMoms here too. It’s an active community on Ning where moms who tweet hang out. Their site says it’s the “online version of the three martini playdate.” :rofl: It was the brainchild of Megan Calhoun (her twitter profile) and it was a brilliant idea. Over 1000 people have joined in just a few weeks. The marketing major in me really admires a creative idea like TwitterMoms! There are groups, discussions, and a great resource if you’re looking for more information. It hopefully won’t get too spammy with people trying to promote their sites or products. Right now they are doing a great job of keeping the spammy stuff out. So if you sign up for Twitter, go give TwitterMoms a try too. I’ve signed up to have a Boomer Blogger Group over there, so those of us with a bit more age on us :wink: can have a place to hang out. Friend me on TwitterMoms. Go check it out!

There is so much more I could tell you about Twitter, but let’s keep it to the basics right now. I’ll do a follow up post on more ways to use Twitter, more options, and some other programs you can use to access Twitter instead of just using the website.

Okay, hope that helps anyone in the “what the heck IS Twitter” camp. Check it out. Ask any questions you may have. Anyone with a twitter account leave a link in your comment below so I can follow you. Oh, and follow me on Twitter.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Keri Mikulski September 29, 2008 at 6:17 am

I’m so curious about twitter.. But, I’m also scared. It looks addicting. Thanks for the info. :crazy2:

Gayle September 29, 2008 at 7:24 am

Great post Kacey! Another cool thing is that if you have a customized igoogle page, you can add a twitter gadget to see tweets there!

Sara September 29, 2008 at 7:44 am

Kacey. I’m so computer challenged that even your post about how to use Twitter has me all atwitter. I’m thinking if it’s too hard to figure out is it really worth the bother? I’m not sure yet :wtf:

Dru September 29, 2008 at 7:58 am

I’ll definitely have to check out those sites.

http://twitter.com/LovDAL

Mental P Mama September 29, 2008 at 8:49 am

So have you walked today? Wuss :rofl:

Kacey September 29, 2008 at 9:08 am

Mental Mama! You are so mean! (I got up to walk this morning, got dressed and it started pouring down rain. So, I am a wuss today. Or I have to use the treadmill)

Sara and Keri, try it out! It’s a great way to get info, keep up with friends, find new things.

Gayle, I’d forgotten about that iGoogle widget. Good call!

dlyn September 29, 2008 at 9:12 am

I love Twitter – I also use twhirl which is a desktop app that helps me keep track of all the tweets.
I am http://twitter.com/dlynz

Kacey September 29, 2008 at 9:48 am

Thanks for everyone who leaves their twitter link! Dlyn, I use twhirl too on my desktop. Twitterific on my iPhone. I just didn’t know WHERE to cut off on this post. There was so much more I could say about Twitter stuff. I might do another post on some of the other cool Twitter stuff later on.

Kate September 29, 2008 at 10:03 am

Kacey, do you have a raincoat? You can walk in your yellow raincoat. The one that makes you look like the Gorton’s fisherman. With the yellow hat. I know you have a raincoat like this. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Connie September 29, 2008 at 10:15 am

I love twitter! And I use it on my iPhone. It came in handle on our trip to Denver a couple weeks ago. Whatever did I used to do before the iPhone and twitter!

http://twitter.com/connieaw

Becky September 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

Hi Kasey,

Thanks for the info! I’m still trying to learn it all.

I tried putting that “Follow Me On Twitter” badge on my sidebar. It wouldn’t work. :sad:
Not sue if it will work on wordpress.com.

http://twitter.com/fencepost

Tori Lennox September 29, 2008 at 12:42 pm

I need to learn to make better use of Twitter.

http://twitter.com/torilennox

Sarah S. September 29, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I always wondered what it was!Now I know Thanks! :typing:

Suzanne September 29, 2008 at 4:18 pm

Wow, there’s a lot more to twitter than I knew about! Thanks!

getrealmom October 1, 2008 at 9:12 pm

I posted a youtube video that explains twitter in plain English here:
http://getrealmom.blogspot.com/2008/09/twitter-in-plain-english.html

Dawn October 5, 2008 at 12:42 pm

Thank you so much for that post. I’m new to Twitter and really struggling on how to use it.

The whole concept seems weird – that anyone would be interested in what I’m doing, because most days I’m not doing anything wildly exciting.

And I would like to use it to help traffic to my website but I don’t want to sound like one of those users where every Tweet is a marketing ploy. I want to sound like a “real” person.

You’ve introduced me to several things that I was not aware of so hopefully my use of Twitter will improve.

http://twitter.com/DawnRotarangi

Deb October 18, 2008 at 9:43 am

Glad that you linked this topic as a most popular. I have gone over to Twitter and signed up, now I have to understand how to link it to my blog. I am still learning. Not bad for a 50 something old gal!

oontzy April 1, 2009 at 9:56 am

hello! have just joined twitter and ur post was pleasant and informative. So thanks! Twitter Moms looks interesting.

So ok see how I go . cheers!

peridoto September 9, 2009 at 11:05 am

How Can I Increase My Twitter Following?

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