Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Y U No Tweet?

Especially for the vintage members of my family, who might be curious about Twitter.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is part of what’s known as Social Media. It’s entirely interactive, and relies on its users to provide all of the content. Like all social media, it has no value until people start contributing. So, after you’ve logged in to Twitter, you have to find content. On Twitter, that’s done by subscribing to what other people tweet; it’s called following. Tweets are limited to 140 characters, so the messages are short, and will appear on your Twitter screen with the most recent tweets at the top.
How does it work?

Well, you sign up and register for a Twitter account, which is free. You select a name to go by (politicians are wise to stick with their own name), you log in… and absolutely nothing happens. No, really: nothing happens.
But who do you follow?
Anyone you’re interested in: friends and family, celebrities, politicians, organisations like charities and clubs, news media
Do they know you’re following them?
Probably, although it depends on which twitter client they are using, and how they have set up their notifications.
What’s a Twitter Client?
It’s literally a different way of looking at Twitter – like watching the same piece of television footage on different channels. It may look slightly different, but it’s the same basic footage. Different clients are available for download – but that’s for later.
Do you have to ask permission to follow people?  
No, unlike Facebook, you can follow anyone.
How do you tweet?
Just write something and hit the Tweet button. It doesn’t have to be profound or funny or enlightened or even sane. Consider the tweets you’ve already seen – some of them are garbage
What does RT mean?
An RT – or Retweet -  means that someone saw a tweet and wanted to share it with their followers. You can retweet by hitting the Retweet button.

What's a Hashtag?

Tweets can be assigned a topic so that other people can find them quickly. The topic is a few letters or a word or two, preceded by the hash sign. For example, #twitter #instructions
…and from there, it should be pretty self-explanatory.