Twitter is the most popular micro-blogging web site in use today. Launched in 2006 it is used by millions of people and it is one of the most popular social networking sites on the planet.
Unlike Facebook or other sites, Twitter allows users to send short messages i.e only of 140 characters or less.
Twitter can be seen everywhere nowadays. You can find it on almost every sort of websites to share any link that you like on Twitter plus tweets of famous persons are also visible on most of the sites.
I started using Twitter few months ago and really it is different form other social media sites that are popular today like Facebook, Google + etc as there are only short specific messages tweeted by people from around the world which is effective to communicate something quickly. It sends instant updates.
If you are reading this post and still don’t have a Twitter account or use it rarely then I would like to suggest that get a Twitter account and try it.
Why you should use Twitter
Coming back to our main idea of this post I will now tell you the main advantages of using Twitter:
1) Twitter allows users to quickly communicate anything important and interesting to the people like news, events or any thing they know about.
2) It has powerful communication capabilities and informative content that it presents to its users.
3) In order to remain updated about current affairs and news that are happening around the world, Twitter is a great technology that we have today.
4) People can either tweet publicly (so that any Twitterer can see) or privately (only specific Twitterers can see). It is a great tool for making new connections, networking with people, promote something and building communities.
5) You can ask questions and get answers from people who see your tweet.
6) Businesses can announce new products, promote them and announce press conferences.
7) You can search a topic and see what other people are saying about it.
Basics of Twitter
In order to properly use Twitter you must know the basics components of this social media technology. Following are the details, go through them and maybe you will find something new if you are already using it:
When a user posts an update to their Home page Timeline this is called a Tweet. It can be of only 140 characters maximum. To create a tweet, click on Tweet icon in upper right side corner of Twitter screen.
Short message on Twitter is called a Tweet because it is like the same sweet and short noise that we hear from a bird. That’s why logo of Twitter is a bird.
Follow someone means that whenever that person will tweet it will appear on Timeline of yours. Tweets appear in reverse chronological order with most recent appearing at the top.
Simple select “Follow” on the profile page of that person to follow. This option is available on the right side of the page.
It is bit complicated so please read carefully to fully understand it.
To give response to someone’s tweet click on single arrow beneath the tweet to reply. @username appears in reply (username is the name of that person on Twitter).
You can also manually reply to someone by using @ symbol instead of using “Reply” button. Click on Tweet icon, simply start with @username message to send a manual reply. “username” is the name of that person on Twitter. Message mean the text that you want to send. For example @faraz_ahmer how r u.
But that person you are sending a reply can only see your reply if he\she is following you. If they are not following you then it will appear on their “Notifications” tab not on their Timeline.
Also none of your followers will see this if they are not following the person you replied to.
If you want every one of your followers to see this on their page then put a period (.) in front of @username at the beginning of tweet. for example .@faraz_ahmer how r u
Another way to send a reply to someone and have your followers receive it on their Timeline is to put @username in middle of or at end of tweet to make it a regular tweet instead of a regular reply.
for example how r u @faraz_ahmer
These are all however public and anyone who visits your Profile page will be able to see all of your tweets.
Above last method to include username in middle of or at the end of tweet is called “Mention” in Twitter because you are mentioning someone’s name. It will be seen by all of your followers on their Timeline.
It will be seen by the person whose username you mentioned on his\her timeline if that person is following you otherwise it will appear on their “Notification” tab.
I hope you are enjoying this although it is a bit complicated :).
It helps to share a tweet that you like from someone else with the rest of Twitter community. Simply click on double arrow beneath the tweet to send a Retweet. Add comments if you like to.
That person will receive notification that you retweeted his\her tweet.
6) Like a Tweet
Liking a tweet means to show appreciation for it. Simply click the Heart icon below a tweet to like it. It will turn Red.
7) Direct Message
Every tweet that you send is public (unless you have changed your privacy setting to send only private tweets) and can been seen by anyone, so what if you want to send a private message to someone which can’t be viewed by anyone else.
Twitter’s “Direct Message” feature allows you to do this. You can send a Direct Message to anyone who follows you.
Some accounts, particularly businesses on Twitter, have enabled a setting to receive Direct Messages from anyone. You can send a Direct Message to these users even if they don’t follow you.
In order to send a Direct Message click on Messages tab and then click on New Message. Type name or username of the person , click next, type your message, attach any picture\video or GIF if you want to and then click send. That message will appear on Messages tab.
A twitter handle is a unique username selected by a person to use on Twitter for example “faraz_ahmer”. Every handle has URL like https://twitter.com/username. for example https://twitter.com/faraz_ahmer.
It is one of the most important & interesting features of Twitter. The one I like the most.
Well “Hashtag” means to group tweets according to a specific topic that people like to tweet about. It works by just adding a pound sign(#) without any space in front of a word in a tweet. For example,
I like to blog about #Technology
It is very powerful and is used by people a lot who know its advantages. If I make the above tweet then my tweet will be part of topic Technology, so if anyone searches this topic my tweet can be seen by him\her.
It may result in my tweet liked, retweeted or replied to. Or maybe if anyone likes it and visits my profile page there is chance that he\she will follow me.
So it all means more exposure for a person, business or blogger etc. So try to use hashtags in your tweets but not too much, only 2-3 maximum in a tweet otherwise it will look messed up.
A great way to use Hashtag is to see the Trending Topics on your Twitter Homepage. They appear on left hand side of page and list the top ten popular topics based on your location preferences. These are the topics that people are mostly talking about.
If you include Hashtags of these words in your tweets then there is a greater chance that a lot of people will see them.
10) Block \ Mute \ Unfollow
Because these functions are similar in a way to one another so I am covering them under one heading.
Unfollow means not to receive that person tweets in your timeline.
Block a person means to not allow a person to follow, see tweets or contact you. It also unfollows you and him\her from one another.
Mute means to remove a person’s tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that person. It will also not restrict that person to send a Direct Message to you.
A simple way to do all of above things in a single place is to go to your Followers list, go to that person, and select the options Mute or Block like shown below. Click on Following button to unfollow a person.
11) Find people to follow
In order to find a person to follow you can search his\her name in Search box at top of the screen where “Search Twitter” is shown. Multiple names may appear and you have to select the desired one.
Another way to find your friends on Twitter is to go to Setting of your profile page. it can be accessed by clicking your picture in top right corner and selecting Settings.
On this page click on “Find Friends” page to search for friends in your mail accounts address books or your phone contacts if they have been saved to cloud storage like Google.
12) Profile Page
Your profile page is where you change settings related to your account like edit you profile by changing description about yourself, your location, website etc.You can also see the people you follow, your followers, likes and the tweets that you had posted.
Access it by going in top right corner of you homepage, click on “Profile and Settings” option and the click “View Profile”.
I have tried to convince you to use Twitter by presenting its advantages and main basic features. I accept that its features a bit confusing in the beginning and it takes a while to learn how to use basic Twitter features. But once you start to use it they will become more clear and easy for you.
There are many other things that you can learn about Twitter. I am adding a link here for Twitter Help if you want to get clear understanding of anything.
Also you can see the following YouTube video to learn the basics of Twitter.
In a future post I will tell you how to configure Twitter Settings like Account, Security & Privacy and Password etc.
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