A Very Basic Guide to Twitter Best used for sharing links or timely information. 140 character limit means you have to be concise and clear. Donʼt worry, it takes practice to get the hang of Twitter. Following – One of the most useful things about Twitter is the way in which you can see a live feed of the worldʼs news, information, gossip, random thoughts and funny links. Yet in order to take advantage of this, you need to first follow some people. Once you follow a person all of their public tweets will appear on your “Home” page, and you can read and interact with them there. It is often hard to know where to start (how do I know who to follow?). Our advice is to first pick one person or organization you really respect (like @representpledge, wink wink), and then visit their profile. There you will see a link called “Following” which will let you see all the people that person is currently following. Peruse their list and youʼll likely find some common interests/people to follow. The more the merrier! You can also click the “Discover” button at the top of the page and then “Who to Follow” to get a list of recommendations from Twitter. Retweeting (RT) – This function allows you to re-post someone elseʼs tweet. Rather than having to write the same information all over again, Twitter allows you to simply click a button to “retweet” another userʼs awesome tweet. Once you do this it will magically be shared with all of your followers, with the letters “RT” in front. To retweet, hover over a tweet with your mouse until this menu appears:
Or on your phone click on the tweet and look for the retweet symbol (above). Just click retweet and Twitter will automatically duplicate the tweet and place “RT” in front. Hashtags (#) – A “#” symbol in front of a word or phrase used to track a conversation. Putting “#” in front of a word automatically turns that word into a link within Twitter. This means that anyone who sees your tweet will be able to click on the #[word/phrase] and see a list of everyone else who is publishing a tweet with the same hashtag. For instance, if you click on #MissRep you can see the conversation happening around the Miss Representation documentary. Or if you click #NotBuyingIt you can see a list of products that people have called out as being offensive and/or sexist.
Tagging/Mentioning (@) – If you want someone to know you are talking to or about them, use “@” and their Twitter username (remember never use a space between the symbol and username). This is also how you reply to someone elseʼs tweet (more on that in the next section), and you can always include more than one person or account in a tweet. For instance, if you want to say “Hi Lady Gaga, I love your music!,” on Twitter you would write “Hi @ladygaga, love your music!” This way Lady Gaga is aware of your tweet and could potentially respond. If you are not sure of a personʼs Twitter username, simply type it in the search bar at the top of the page. You can also click the “Discover” page, then “Who to Follow” and search for people more directly there. Just as you can mention others, people will soon engage you in conversation. At the top of your Twitter homepage you will see a button called “@Connect.” If you click this you can quickly see all tweets that have been directed to you recently, as well as who has started following you. Replying – On Twitter you can reply to any tweet you see simply by hovering the mouse over an individual tweet and clicking the “reply” button that appears there.
On your phone you click on a tweet and you will see the above symbols as options. When you hit “Reply” you will be prompted to write a message that begins with “@” plus the username of whomever wrote the tweet. Once you hit send this tweet will appear publicly and the appropriate user will be notified. DMs (Direct Messages) – You can send another Twitter user a private “direct message” which is similar to an e-mail (but still restricted by the Twitter character limit). This is useful for exchanging contact information without having to make it public. Note that in order to send someone a “DM” (as they are called in the Twitter-verse), you and the person you are messaging must first be following one another. Favorite – If you see a tweet that you really love, or want to save an interesting link for later, the “Favorite” button is a very useful tool. When you hover over a tweet you will see this menu:
Just click “Favorite” (or on your phone, the star) and the tweet will be saved. You can access these tweets later by visiting your own profile (click your username on the home page or use the upper right-hand corner drop-down menu to click “View my profile page”) and finding the “Favorites” link on the left.