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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do you Tweet? Some ideas on Twitter

Twitter is everywhere. 


  • when I watch TV, especially the news shows, I am being invited to follow someone. 
  • I can follow my favorite grocery store or clothing store. 
  • When the bomb first went off in Boston a person who was there first thought of checking Twitter to see what happened. When there was nothing yet he sent out a tweet to his followers.
Twitter is a way to send a short message to a group of people who follow you. It is great for stores because they can send out one short message to let all of their loyal customers know something like what will be on sale soon. It is a way to connect to other people who are interested in the same things that you are.

TIP #1 After you sign up the next thing to do is to find some people to follow. You can follow regular people who are also using Twitter, movie stars, newspapers and shows, and stores. There is a Search window at the top right side of the page. Type the name of the person, or organization that you want to follow in the search window. If they are on Twitter the program will find them and you can click on the  Follow button.

TIP #2 Often when you choose to follow someone they follow you back, but not always. President Obama has a Twitter account and you might want to follow it to see what he is up to.  Here is what his page says about who follows him and who he follows. You can actually click to see who these people are.

TIP #3 It is easy to stop following (unfollow) someone. There is no notification when you stop following someone, so you can be sure that no feelings are hurt. To stop following someone you just open the list of who you are following and click on the word Following next to their name. When you roll over the button it turns red and says "unfollow" and then if you click they stay on your list, but the button next to them says Follow. You can click it again to begin following them.

TIP #4 If you want to look at everything that one person has said on Twitter just search for them by typing their name in the search window. It will take you to their profile and then you will see ONLY what they have posted.  Try it out with my Twitter. My twitter name is @jfriesen. If you do this search you will find a note especially for Blog readers. Also if you see @jfriesen (or another name) on a tweet it means that the tweet was written especially for that person.

TIP #5 Hash tags # are used to create one word that everyone can agree upon so that when you search for that word you get all of the tweets about that topic. For example, yesterday was Earth Day, so there was a #earthday hash tag. If you search for that it will bring up all of the posts from everyone, not only your followers that have the #earthday in them. 

TIP #6 RT means Retweet. If you read something you really think is important on Twitter you may want to retweet it. That will send it out to all of your Twitter followers.  Retweeting helps get important news out.

TIP #7 DM means that you want to send the message directly to one person rather than to your whole list of followers.

This symbol indicates that you can follow this person or place. They want you to keep track of them and keep in touch with what they are doing.
There are lots of programs that allow you to see Twitter in different ways. It is worth looking at them to see if you like how any of them work. These are programs that download to your computer and connect with your Twitter feed so that it shows up in columns or in other ways that may make it easier to read or follow. There are many others than those listed below.


When I was writing this I wanted to check on what was "trending" on Twitter. Trending is a measure of what is getting the most attention. Someone had hacked the Associated Presses Twitter and sent out a note that the White House had been Bombed and that President Obama was injured. It was not true, but it was retweeted quickly by many people so much that the stock market dropped. A few seconds later the Associated Press sent out a note about it being untrue and the market went back up. Look at this interesting graph!

The ease of using and following Twitter on a Smart Phone has made it very popular. With just a glance I can check to see if I have any new "tweets" and keep up to date on the people I am following. The other reason that Twitter has become so popular is that it is instant. At SXSW in Austin where it was first used people were using it to communicate to their followers where the cool things were and where to meet. You could easily tweet "Come to Antones to see Willy Nelson!  He just walked in!". Pretty cool. It is good for conferences where there are lots of people and places to be and you want to keep in communication in a quick way. 

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