Archives For Twitter

A complete stranger follows you on Twitter. How did they find you, and what are their intentions? Should you worry?

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If Twitter has seemed unusually quiet and you miss seeing people’s @replies to other people, see my guest posting on TwiTip, “Twitter WAS A Cocktail Party” (a follow-up to my earlier posting, “Twitter Is A Cocktail Party”).

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If you have ever been overwhelmed by Twitter and worry about not being able to keep up with everything, see my guest posting on TwiTip, “Twitter Is A Cocktail Party.”

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Who to follow on Twitter?

A world of people… who to follow on Twitter?

How many Twitter users are out there? Since one celebrity alone has 1.5 million followers (and I’m not one of them), I’d say it’s a safe bet that there are at least 10 million. Out of all these people, how do you find who to follow on Twitter? Obviously you will want to follow any close friends who tweet, but what about beyond that?

An important thought-barrier to overcome is the idea that following someone on Twitter means listening to them tell you about their day. As you will see below, in addition to normal people, there are services, organizations, robots and jokesters occupying Twitterspace.

For anyone who is just getting started, here are my recommendations for who to follow on Twitter:

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What to tweet

So you’ve learned the basics of Twitter symbols (a few strange characters) and have set yourself up with a Twitter client for reading and writing. Now… what should you actually say in Twitter? That is, what to tweet?

If you’ve done any blogging, I want you to consider the following statement. Twitter is more that a “status update” service; Twitter is a blogging service. It just happens that the blog posts are limited to 140 characters — which is why it makes sense to call this “micro-blogging.” So blog away, however you like!

…But If you haven’t done any blogging, that last paragraph was probably less than helpful. Let me try again, giving some more detail on what to tweet:

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Use a Twitter Client

April 7, 2009

Twitter is a data service; the website is one way of accessing that data. For the best user experience, use a Twitter client.

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Twitter symbols
Messages in Twitter (affectionately called “tweets”) are straightforward: You have 140 characters, so just type something. But there are a few special characters that you will need to know, a sort of “Twitter alphabet soup.” The Twitter symbols with special meaning are: @, d, RT and #.

Quite honestly, when I began using Twitter, I thought, “These Twitter symbols are some kind of secret code. They have geek appeal, but there is no way ordinary people will use them.” I thought they would severely limit the potential Twitter audience. But I’m afraid I underestimated the willingness of ordinary folks to use special symbols. Those learning Twitter are likely people who have done terse phone texting and used Internet acronyms like LOL. And after all, there are only four Twitter symbols so far:

@: Talk publicly to another person

Messages starting with the Twitter symbol “@” are called @replies because they reply to someone else’s tweet. Taking my user name “jonmreid” as an example, if you start a message with “@jonmreid”, I will see it on the web interface within @jonmreid in the right column(right under “Home”), even if I don’t follow your tweets.

The @username can also appear elsewhere in a message and that person will see it. This is a recent change to Twitter, and they changed the term from @replies to mentions, but most people still call them @replies. So if you want to call someone’s attention to your message, include @ and their user name somewhere in your message. This is the most used of the Twitter symbols.
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Introducing a series of posts covering practical how-to questions about using Twitter

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Animation of Flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River with strangely familiar ending

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Saint Francis on Twitter

March 18, 2009

How would Saint Francis twitter? Spiritual thoughts on retweeting and following.

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