Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tech Talk for Non Techies - Welcome to Twitter

Welcome to our Tech Talk for Non Techies mini-series.  Some of the most frequent questions that I receive from friends (both real and virtual in the handmade community) are about websites, blogs, photo editing, HTML and all things "nerd".  To help you on your way to better blogs, flashier Facebook, wicked websites and all that jazz, Tech Talk for Non Techies is a little mini-series here at Creativity Unmasked with "tech talk" for regular people, just like me.  Requests for post topics are (as with everything here at Creativity Unmasked) always welcome.  Today, we tackle Twitter.

Driving home from work this afternoon, the radio hosts were chattering away (very entertaining) about Twitter mishaps.  I am not an expert, but I have been puttering for quite some time and am happy to share with (and learn from) all of you!  Twitter is an immensely popular social media, but it can be a little daunting to take flight into the twitter chatter of @this, #that,  RTs, FFs and a whole new language of abbreviated micro messages without descending into frustration and @#$%!
  • Tweet - A message posted to Twitter. Twitter allows you to post and receive short messages of up to 140 characters, making this a great rapid communication media to pair with your shop, blog, Facebook or other on-line presence.
  • Tweeting - Sending Twitter messages or "Tweets" can be done on-line, via SMS or through a widget directly from your blog, Facebook or other account. 
  • Followers - Other people who have chosen to receive your tweets in their Twitter news feed.
  • Mention - If you tweet @username, your message is understood as being intended for/ about that person, although all of your followers will be able to see it.
  • Reply - If you click "reply" it will generate an @username reply for you to send to the person/people in the original tweet.
  • Retweet (RT) - If you hover on a tweet and click "retweet" or type RT@username, your message is understood as being a resend, sharing another person's message to your followers.  
  • Hashtags (#) -  Used to highlight a word or phrase . Click a hastage to see what other people are tweeting about the same topic.
  • Trending - Popular topics on Twitter.
  • Direct Message (DM) - A private Twitter message directly to a follower.

Before you launch yourself on Twitter (or reinvigorate your profile), here are a few quick words of advice on making Twitter work for you:
  • Are you for real? This may seem basic, but fill in your profile, add an image and personalise your page.  Many users (myself included) are predisposed to be leery of sparse profiles lest we befriend a spammer or other dodgey user.
  • This is social media, so be social.  Twitter spam is way too common.  No one want to follow someone who only tweets their own Etsy shop listings and blog posts - would you want a "real" friend who did nothing but talk about themself?  Join the conversation, tweet new stuff, share things, @ mention and reply to other people.  That doesn't mean that you can't tweet your own horn, so to speak, just don't do it non-stop. 
  • There's an app for that!  Opinions vary, but I personally think it is fine to use apps and widgets to share news from your followers or tweet your latest blog URL to your followers.  Like everything, it is all a matter of moderation!
  • To follow or not to follow...that is the question. Different people use Twitter for different purposes at different frequencies. Don't make Twitter into a game of  reciprocal following. Instead, follow the people that you find interesting or helpful.  It is also ok to unfollow someone at your personal discretion.
  • Click with caution. The 140 character limit on Twitter mean that there are a lot of shortened links.  Know who you are tweeting with and where you are clicking.  From spam, to the perverse, to unsafe sites the internet is home a cornucopia of characters and their posts may have less than honourable intentions.

Want to learn more about Twitter?  My favourite share for newbies on Twitter is the Mashable Twitter Guide.  Tweet-on and have fun!  Join me at @thelauranetwork and say hello. :)  Stay tuned next Thursday for more social media madness!


  1. Such a great read. Thanks for posting this, especially the links!!!

  2. Thank you for posting the definitions! RT has been daunting me for some time now.

  3. Thanks alot for the info. I joined Twitter not too long ago. I hadn't taken the time to learn much yet, but now I know a little more.

  4. So glad to have helped a little. :)

  5. I've been on Twitter for a couple of months & I didn't know how to get those little symbols/twitter keys- oh the love hearts I'll be tweeting now! <3 Katie


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