Sunday, August 23, 2009

Twitter for beginners - Part Three: Navigation

So we've covered how to build a follow list and the language of tweeting. You've signed on and set up your profile page, so what's next you ask? Why, jump right into your Twitter stream. Hit that home button on the menu bar above your avatar and see what your "tweeps" are doing. All the "tweets" of all the people you are following will be there. Which is not as overwhelming as it sounds because most people don't tweet all that often.

There's a few things to keep in mind. Everything you post will show up in your tweetstream feed and on your profile page. While you can see everyone's tweets on your follow list, unless they are following you back, they won't necessarily see what you're saying. If you want to get through to someone not following you, you have include @username in your tweet. If you put that at the beginning it's logged as a reply and in my experience it's the best way to get a non-follower's attention. But as long as @username is included in your tweet anywhere, it will be routed to that user as a mention. Addendum: I should add this is true, even if you're not following the person.

On the sidebar of your home page, there is a button @YourUsername. Replies and tweets that mention you will show up there, whether or not you're following that person. Your tweets directed to a non-follower will show up there on their home page. Sometimes, they answer you, sometimes they don't, but there's a pretty good chance they're going to read it. People who are following you, will see your tweets in their main feed on their home page. If a group of people are all following each other, you can see everyone's tweets and have a conversation.

However, your tweeps are also having conversations with people you don't follow. Then you only see one end of the convo. If you're curious you can click on the @username of the person they're talking to and figure out what it's about. The main point is without @username in your tweet, only your followers will ever see what you're saying.

The other button on your sidebar, direct message, is where you'll find private messages that don't show up on the public feed anywhere. Keep in mind you can DM anyone who is following you but if you get a DM from someone you follow who is not following you back, you won't be able to reply to it. There is also a favorite button on the sidebar, but I don't use it so you're on your own with that one.

The one other important thing to remember is that everything you post to the public feed will show up on your profile page. This is the page people get when they check you out, whether or not they're on Twitter. Nothing else shows up on that page. Nothing anyone else says to you directly or indirectly shows up there. This is why it so often looks like pointless babble when you check out someone's profile. No context. If you want your profile to be more readable, it's worth taking the time to paste in a bit of a quote to what you're answering, to give it more context for the casual passerby.

The only other things I'd mention is that it's easy to unfollow if you find someone is tweeting too much stuff you're not interested in and you'll find a lot of your new followers will be spammers and sexbots. You can get rid of those, and anyone, by blocking them, but I haven't bothered. Twitter seems to remove the sexbots for you every once in a while and the spammers seem to leave on their own if you don't follow them back. Meanwhile, you also will get real-life friends who found you and real people you didn't know before who turn out to be nice and interesting folks.

And that's really all you have to know to get started. Try it and I'll bet you'll like it. The biggest danger is liking it too much. And of course, if you do join, follow me and if you're using a name I won't recognize, tweet me to let me know and I'll follow you back. [graphic]

[More posts daily at The Detroit News]


Bookmark and Share


Blogger rockync said...

I am so glad you posted all this Twitter stuff! I have been trying to make some sort of sense out of it all, but it is rather confusing.
Now I can twitter away - of course, given my posting history on facebook, it probably won't amount to much! LOL!

10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Hey Rocky. I updated the language post to include how to deal with links. It's supposed to shorten long links automatically, but hasn't for me, so you probably have to use an outside program.

You're doing fine so far, but you do need to post more -- slacker! :~)

12:16:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home