Twitter – I just don’t understand it!

Imagine that you’re stood at the bar in your favourite pub and you’ve got groups of people to the left and right of you. The crowd on your left are talking about last nights football scores, mmm you think I’m not overly interested in that conversation, but the crowd on your right are chatting about the Rugby which definately holds your attention. You’d probably want to get involved in that conversation, share your opinions and share your knowledge of the game with helpful website addresses that the others might find useful. Well fundamentally thats what Twitter is – a place where people ‘meet’ share ideas, post great articles and generally help each other out and ‘follow’ what everyone is doing. But you only get involved with the people that are like minded to you and with conversations that are of interest, that you think you can contribute to and vice versa. It really is that simple!

So how do you get started?

Well to sign up for Twitter will basically take you approximately 30 seconds, you simply hit the join the conversation button and put in your username and password. Do fill out your Bio and put in a picture of yourself, after all this is a social site, we want to see who we’re talking to!

Once you’ve done this you need to ‘find people to follow’ – this is just like your selection of the Rugby crowd over the Football crowd.

What happens next?

Well you will be presented with a box which states ‘What are you doing?’ – this is where you type your text but its only a short message at 140 characters. You can if you want, type in quite literally what you are doing, but ‘making tea and eating biscuits’ simply won’t cut it for most people and you’ll find you won’t get into a good conversation. Instead try and be informative, link to some great articles or blogs that you like, or perhaps ask a question. (by the way as you’ve only got a limited space you might like to try to shorten your link) In doing this you will find that people will be interested in what you have to say and will follow you.

Aswell as being presented with this text box your home page will start filling up with ‘tweets’ from the users you are following (a tweet is simply the 140 character message) – soon you will start to see quite a thread growing and you will soon find that you want to reply to someones post, with comment or useful information.

I want to Post a reply to someone – how do I do that?

You still use your ‘what are you doing?’ text box but at the start of your message you type in the username of the person you want to reply to with the prefix @. So for example if you wanted to reply to me it would be @karenatcurve. That way everyone can follow the conversation thread.

So you’ve got a twitter account, you can post a ‘tweet’ and reply to a tweet. Here endith lesson 1 in the world of Twitter. Next month I will talk about re-tweets and other peices of software that might help you keep ontop of all the conversations you’ll be having.

If you still think this is a lot of old gobbledygook then why not take a look at this blogpost from Chris Brogan, 50 ideas on Using Twitter for Business – how did I stumble across this, by tweeting of course 😉