Intro to Twitter

TwitterWhen I first heard about Twitter, as in “you gotta try this”, I signed up and then had no idea what to do. Why would I be interested in following Guy Kawasaki?

One of the bloggers I read said she was on Twitter. So I followed her. As she mostly posts her blog posts there, I didn’t have much reason to check in very often. A little while later Juggling Frogs posted this list:Twit List

And then I had a fun reason to check into Twitter, just to see who of my blogger buddies was online Tweeting something or another.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until the terrorist attack in Mumbai that I found a real use for Twitter. One could follow what was happening in Mumbai before or at the same time as the news offices. And get reports from real people, not just whom the media chose to interview.

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So I will use the war in Gaza as an example of how one might use Twitter to get information and also to give one’s own viewpoint (and attract followers).

Step One: Sign up and pick a username. If you are a blogger, you may want to use whatever name you associate with your blog. You should also get an identifying user pic (I use my little froggy), because you might stand out a bit more if you have a good picture. You can poke around on Twitter to see what others are using to get some ideas. It doesn’t have to be a photograph of yourself; just something that looks good tiny.

Step Two: Find some people to follow. If you are interested in the news on the Gaza war, you may want to follow these Twitterers:

One way of finding someone is typing this in your browser:
You then get to Muqata’s Twitter page and you can click the “Follow” button.

Step Three: You can find others twittering about Israel by using If you type into your browser, you can find lots of others Tweeting about Israel. You don’t have to follow someone to read their tweets (unless they have them protected).

Step Four: Write some Tweets. Tweets need to be 140 characters or less. It takes getting used to, but you can learn to shorten “you” to “u”, for example. If you want to Tweet a URL, just paste it into your tweet.

Step Five: Get others to follow you. You can’t force anyone to follow you. But if you provide Tweets with valuable information (valuable is relative, we all have different ideas about what’s valuable!), others might find you and decide to follow you. You will probably also find that if you follow others, they might follow you back. No guarantees.

Step Six: Reply to someone. Did someone Tweet something of interest? You can reply publicly by typing an @ sign in front of their username and then write your Tweet. Like this:
@Muqata Thank you for joining Twitter and providing us with updates on Israel.



I’m leoraw if you want to follow me on Twitter.


Questions? Comments? Ideas about how to improve this post? Ideas about how to use Twitter? All welcome.

 A simply written intro to Twitter
 Previous post about Twitter Toys

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8 thoughts on “Intro to Twitter

  • This is an excellent post, Leora! It’s very explanatory, and a good resource for those new to Twitter!

    Have a safe New Year’s Eve! The best to you in 2009!

  • Do you twitter from your computer or from your phone? I find it cumbersome to check all my websites, plus twitter so I haven’t really taken to it. It might be fun to do it on the run from my phone, but I don’t think I want to start with the internet on my mobile.

    I did use Twitter for the mumbai attack, now I just check in with Jameel to be update on the war.

  • Baila, for checking all your websites you should try Google Reader. I wrote a post about Google Reader.

    I do it from my computer. I don’t leave home much; I like it here, except in the spring and fall, when the weather is nice! There are an assortment of Twitter aps, but so far, I’ve just done it from the web.

    I’ll have to find out more about Twittering from one’s phone, just so I can write a post about it. I bet it would cost me money, so I’m not getting started with that. And when I’m not home I’m not usually thinking about Twittering, anyway. Also, the idea of seeing websites and graphics on a tiny screen kind of makes me cringe. I love visuals.

    ramblingwoods, if you do try, I hope you’ll follow me! And I’d be happy to answer questions as you try it out.

    Lorri, glad you like it. It seemed timely to write about how to use Twitter now.

  • Ilana-Davita, I find Facebook is OK for connecting with people I already know, whereas on Twitter I have the opportunity to get to know new people. I get drawn into the games on Facebook, and I don’t always enjoy the draw.

    Jack, I like what you’ve Tweeted already! Glad you joined.

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