Getting Started on Twitter:

A Guide for the Complete Twitter Virgin
What is Twitter?What is Twitter?

twitter bird
   It is a micro blogging (web log) site that
allows no more than 140 characters per post, or “tweet” (about two
short sentences). Twitter says it is:
 “a service for friends, family, and co–workers
to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent
answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”
As a
Twitter user you can post updates, follow and view updates from other users
(this is akin to subscribing to a blog’s RSS feed), and send a public reply or
private direct message to connect with another Twitterer. Twitter pages even
look much like a blog page.
 Though users
can answer the prompt, “What are you doing?”, tweets have evolved to more than
everyday experiences, and take the shape of shared links to interesting content
on the web, conversations around hot topics (using hashtags #), photos, videos,
music, and, most importantly, real-time accounts from people who are in the
midst of a newsworthy event, crisis, or natural disaster.
Where Is Twitter?
 Like a recipe, it takes a whole bunch of words
to describe what is essentially, very simple to implement. You too will ‘see’
this if you follow along as you do it (in a second window). Show don’t
tell. Just do it as described—AS you read it here– described—have a second
window open so you can implement AS YOU READ!
 You can locate
TWITTER a typed into your search engine or browser box. Fill in
the basic info (Full Name, Email and password -the one you wish to use for
twitter)-click on “Sign up” and you are rolling. Welcome page and the
twitter teacher will greet you. He says, “This is a Tweet. Tweets are
short messages that have up to 140 characters and can contain links like Click: “Next”.
“Follow Freely”. To get someone’s tweets, click the Follow button.
There will be examples. Click on five to ‘follow’. Click Next
button.>>Now twitter will want you to follow five more and look through
or ‘browse’ categories. They are teaching you different methods to find
interesting folks to follow. Now they will ask you to add five more using your
email account(s). You can skip any of these steps by clicking on ‘skip this
step’ bottom left of page.
   Okay. Good.
Now you are on your spanking new Twitter page. Congrats. You see your name and
an egg shaped icon? That is where you can upload a photo of self or image of
your choice to represent you. (An “Avatar”) As the business
owner/author of you, you will want a close up of you- a “headshot”.
People connect with faces from the time they are born. You want people to know
and like you. (Not your dog, a waterfall or a miscellaneous object—YOU)
People will then associate your brand with a personality–a face–you. Click on
your name. It will take you to a page where you can upload an avatar image.
Click on the big plus sign where your headshot should/will be. You can upload a
photo from your computer or you can skip it (until later–but not much later!)
and begin.
Before you start actively using
Twitter, you need a strategy, and the first step in developing that strategy is
to completely fill out your user profile. One of the goals of having a Twitter
account is to gain followers and few people want to follow an account that
doesn’t look legitimate (i.e. the profile hasn’t been filled out and there’s no
avatar (photo/headshot).
Take a good look at your other
websites and profiles and draft a Twitter bio to match the rest of your online
branding. This is how people will find you and recognize you now and in the
future, so be honest. Don’t brand yourself as an expert unless you already are
one. Do brand yourself based on your passions and skill set.
 Click on the
home button in the gray stripe and you are, uh, ‘home’. Under your name is a
rectangular box that has “Compose a Tweet” in light gray letters.
This is where you type your first tweet post. Type in your message. It will
indicate how many characters you have used of your 140 allowed, beneath the
message box. When satisfied with your tweet click on the ‘tweet’ button beneath
your message box. You have ‘tweeted’! Your message is now sent to any and all
who are following you. No followers yet? Get busy following interesting folks
and send them a message. Click on potential friend’s name. That same mini
profile box will open. Next to the blue “Follow” rectangle button is
a button with a silhouette and a downward pointing arrow. Click and a pull down
menu appears. First item says “Tweet to @name of your friend”. Click
and your tweet box appears to compose your private message/tweet to your
friend. Great to see you here on twitter. Follow me? good message to
send. He will be lured to follow you back. You are growing your followers
lists. Good you!
Essentially, Twitter is a
shorter and more viral form of blogging, so the same rules still apply. By constantly
writing or tweeting about your expertise on a specific topic, you’ll become
known for it and people will gravitate to you and follow you. If you already
have a blog, then I recommend using
 Twitterfeed, so you
can syndicate your posts on Twitter automatically. The best thing you can do
for your brand on Twitter is to take your current interests and activities and
establish a feed on Twitter to deliver that content to your audience again and
again. Content is king, so it is vital to make sure you produce consistent,
quality tweets. Suggest that content NOT be primarily about writing, unless you
are focusing on gaining writers for clients (you are a PR/Social Media/
Marketing expert). As an author you want to attract readers. Chose something
that will attract them.
What is Retweeting?
 It is an integral part of the
Twitter experience. The retweet (or “RT”) allows Twitter users to share the
best links, tweets, and gems they find from others using the service. But for
beginners, it’s not immediately obvious what retweets are, or what tools to use
to make retweeting easier. In your list of Tweets (Large list on the
right)–run the pointer over the first tweet. A line of options will appear in
gray: “Reply”, Retweet, “Favorite”, “Open”. If
you wish your followers to share in this tweet, click on “retweet”.
If you want to reply to the tweeter, “Reply”. If you click on
favorite, it will star that tweet to make it easier to access in future–kind
of like using a highlighter. When you click “open”, a drop down menu
of sorts appears where you can see how many tweople (people) have RT’ed
(retweeted) this post as well as who and how many have indicated it as a
favorite. If you want to make more new friends these are often the tweople you
might approach by clicking on their icon/photo which will take you to visit a
mini of their page and a ‘follow’ button. On his/her page you can see what he
has tweeted (a list), how many tweets he has written, how many followers he
has, how many he is following and a blurb written about him. Click on the upper
right corner gray “x” to close this box.
   Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is a very popular application for running Twitter on
your desktop. It has many features, but one of its best is its one-click
retweeting feature – hovering over a profile picture provides the easy option
for retweeting anyone’s tweets – just click the bottom left icon.
   It also
allows organizational columns to keep the (active) “All Friends”
tweet stream separate from where and who mentioned you (“mentions”)
from messages sent directly and privately to you (“direct messages”),
from any hashtag streams you might wish to follow. Great application.
   Twitter is there to
converse with people in a short succinct way. How do you find people? Click on
the “Who to Follow” local in the bar at the top of your profile page.
What is Twitter speak?
   Never read a twiller? Having twissues with
your twerminology? Welcome, then, to the abuse of the English language that
some call Twitterspeak.
   The twick, uh, trick, in most instances, is
to take the first two letters of microblogging service Twitter and meld them, often unwillingly, to
the front of your chosen word. These ungainly neologisms are so numerous that
they now require at least two sites to track them: Twictionary and Twittonary.
• Twellow: Find people in your industry to follow
and connect with using this Twitter yellow pages guide. You can find more Twitter directories here.
• Tweetbeep: Keep
track of your brand reputation by getting alerts through email when your brand
is mentioned on Twitter. (akin to a Google search)
• Tweetmeme: Put a button on your blog that allows
your readers to more easily retweet your posts.
• Hashdictionary: Keep track of conversations that
include hashtags on Twitter.
• Save
time by sending messages to all of your social networks at once.
• Twitter Grader: A site
that ranks your influence in the Twitter world based on an algorithm. You can
see where you stand in your town, city, state or country, as well.
What is a hashtag (#)?
 One of the most complex
features of Twitter for new users to understand is the hashtag, a
topic with a hash symbol (“#”) at the start to identify it. Twitter hashtags
like #followfriday help spread information on Twitter
while also helping to organize it.
 If everyone agrees to
append a certain hashtag to tweets about a topic, it becomes easier to find
that topic in search, and more likely the topic will appear in Twitter’s
Trending Topics. Tagalus: Tagalus
is a simple dictionary for hashtags. It’s very easy to find information on
thousands of hashtags as defined by other users. You can also define (Start
your own) a hashtag by tweeting tagalus. You can set up a Twilert to get a
daily email of the use of a specific hashtag.
   Although not terribly complicated, hashtags have some unwritten
rules. The primary one to remember: don’t overuse them. If every one of your tweets IS
a hashtag, you dilute the usefulness of them by fragmenting the conversation.
In addition, many people will shy away from you because it seems spammy.
Another simple tip: give your hashtag
context. Most people won’t actually know what your hashtag means, so give a
quick explanation in one of your tweets or, if you’re making a hashtag, make it
very apparent what it’s talking about.
Finally, if you’re looking to create a
hashtag, be sure that it adds value for yourself and your followers. The best
way to utilize them is when you need to organize information.
– Choose a single hashtag early: This may seem simple, but it is vital
to get right. Choose a simple hashtag that represents your event or brand. If
your event is the Business of the Calling Ducks conference, don’t use
#businessofthecallingducks as your tag. How about #bizducks instead? Keep it
short and simple!
– Remind attendees of the hashtag
your website, on your Twitter feed, at the opening remarks, and throughout the
day, make a friendly reminder about your hashtag and that you can track the
conversation through it.
– Provide a website widget: For anyone who isn’t using or
knowledgeable with Twitter, provide an easy conversation tracker tool on your
website. You can make one via Widgetbox or Tweetgrid.
 Tweetlater: Schedule tweets so that they are
published automatically in the future. It’s a real time saver.

twitter questions
 * Sigh*
is a “TWOOK”?
  Born in December 2011, the “twook”
is a promotional tool created by an author for authors to be used as an
introduction to potential readers of a book, novella or short story. 140
characters or less, (including a minimized link to more information or ‘to
buy’) — a ‘high concept’ succinct hook meant to whet the appetite of potential
readers, a twook is a brief sentence, a bullet of  high intensity writing that pulls in a reader
to want more.
  Tragedy nearly destroys the family wine
biz, can the reluctant young heir forfeit his dreams & online love to save
was dying, death’s greedy fingers scratched at her soul, slowly dragging the
life from her. Past Undone
lonely people overwhelmed by life…same time, same gorgeous Oahu locale—except
they are not alone…
   Twooks can be totally a hook. Given enough
room (and creativity), they can have the title of the book within, the author’s
name, the genre. The ultimate distillation of a novel, the flash fiction to end
all flash fictions. the Twook will test the author’s capability to convey the
very essence of their work to the reader in a
few words.
  To shorten your too-lengthy links- Go to  cut and paste
long link into the box provided. Click on the ‘make a tiny url” square and
voila–tiny one to cut and paste where needed.
Also available for ‘shrinkage’: It stores them for you
and you can customize them – can add the name of the book.  Either works
   Files of twooks can be place in online loops
for access by other authors or members of the group to cut and paste–then
tweet. The vehicle of the hashtag and retweets can also be employed.
(#LARAtwooks, #Musetwooks) Files have the advantage of being accessible to all
members, even those who do not use tweetdeck or other organizational tool(s).
Twooks can be used any time by members wishing to assist fellow members in
efforts to promote their work.
 Published or pre-published–link you twook to
appropriate place, be that Amazon, publishers buy page or your (author’s)
website book page.

The cross pollination of effort and the re-tweeting power provides unparalleled
viral opportunity. To tweet and retweet each other’s twooks—sprinkle them
sparsely throughout the day. Do NOT send dozens at a time or risk being seen as
a spammer. Even though the Twook does not explicitly ask for a purchase (it is
a mechanism leading to further book information), any over use of a tweet or
hashtag can become tiresome and annoying. If you are a avid tweeter, spread
twooks throughout your everyday tweets. If not, tweet a twook or two morning,
lunch, and evening to entice potential readers–not annoy. Tweetinng of other
author’s twooks is taken more seriously as you are not self promoting–rather
you, as a reader, as offering suggestions. This has long been known to be the
king of promoting–a reader’s recommendation/offering has more power than a
dozen paid-for adverts or author self-promos. It is looked upon as friends
sharing finds—word of mouth. Go forth and twook. Viral!
Here are some examples of “TwHooks” for my books published through Muse It Up Publishing:
Christine London’s Shadows Steal The Light – Contemporary Romantic Suspense:
It’s love at first sight for rocker Colin & jazz singer Jenna excepting– she hates rockers and someone wants him dead
Christine London’s When We Were Amazing – Contemporary Romance
Tragedy nearly destroys the family wine biz, can the reluctant young heir forfeit his dreams & online love to save it
Christine London’s Hog Wild – Contemporary Erotic Romance
Will the hard driving, salty tongued mechanic Kyle relies upon to fix his Harley be able to mend his heart, as well?
Christine London’s Reluctant Companions – Contemporary Erotic Romance
Two lonely people overwhelmed by life…same time, same gorgeous Oahu locale—except they are not alone…
Go Forth my Tweople and Tweet/Twhook!
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4 Responses to Getting Started on Twitter:

  1. Marian L says:

    Christine, thank you for this post. My Twitter account has been hacked, so I suspended it to try and see where I went wrong when I set it up. This information (because I am a total newbie) is very helpful. Thank you, Marian

  2. Marian L says:

    Christine, thank you for this post. My Twitter account has been hacked, so I suspended it to try and see where I went wrong when I set it up. This information (because I am a total newbie) is very helpful. Thank you, Marian

  3. Marian L says:

    Sorry don't know why it posted twice

  4. You are most welcome Marian. I am glad to be of some help. 🙂

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