Monday, March 16, 2009

Using Tweet Deck for Twitter

OK, you've decided to use Twitter. Now how do you work the darn thing?

I believe the easiest thing to do is to download Tweet Deck (go to http://www.tweetdeck.com/beta/) - you have to also download something called Adobe Air which makes internet applications (like Twitter) function optimally on your desktop (don't ask me why or how, I just know that it works).

Tweet Deck has 3 columns - one is the feed from all the folks you follow, the middle is any @juliaerickson replies you get, and the last is any DM juliaerickson direct messages you get. It literally tweets if you have the sound on, so you hear when a new tweet comes in. It also notifies you of any incoming tweets (according to type - friends, replies, DMs) via a little black box on the upper right corner of your computer monitor. To send tweets, you need to click the little box on the left top next to the words Tweet Deck that looks like a cartoon text balloon. That makes the text entry box appear below it. A nice feature is that you have only to hit "enter" and the tweet will be sent.

The advantage of Tweet Deck is that it allows you to RT people's tweets automatically. When you move your cursor over someone's picture, you'll see four small boxes - clockwise from top left, they are: Reply, DM, Other, RT. So if you like a tweet, you just click on RT and the tweet will automatically be posted to the text box on top with the @xxx name and RT in front of it. You can make a comment if you like. Also, I edit to fit RT into 140 characters, which is OK as long as you don't mess up meaning (I use 2 for to or two; c for see; u for you; l8 for late, 4 for for, etc., and eliminate "a" "that" etc.).

Otherwise, to RT on the Twitter website, you have to copy their tweet, paste it onto the box where you tweet, add RT to the tweet and add @ in front of their name. Twitter will make the @ link live.

If you are posting a web link, Twitter only recognizes http://xxx addresses (not www.xxx). A very cool thing that Tweet Deck does is shorten long web addresses. Below the text box is a box labeled "shorten url" and you simply paste your long url in it, click the box to its right that says "shorten" and it automatically shortens the url AND pastes it right into the text box.

You totally can RT a tweet from someone YOU follow. People love to be ReTweeted, and this will bring you to their attention so they may follow you.

You can't Direct Message (DM) them, however. You can only DM people who also follow you.

FYI, regarding # (hash mark) posts - these belong to affinity groups and topics that people have started on Twitter. To find them on the Twitter website is quite tortuous and I can't really figure out how to do it consistently. It is easy on Tweet Deck. Simply click on the button along the top that looks like a magnifying glass and then enter #followfriday or #tweepletuesday or whatever group looks interesting to you. Tweet Deck will automatically add a new column to the right that shows you tweets posted to that topic. On the bottom of Tweet Deck is a white bar on a black background - click on it to get over to the next column. (I don't remember what that thing is called but you'll know what I mean).

Hope this helps!

2 comments:

MyPhotoID said...

Thank you so much for spelling this out. Very helpful.

jessica Peters said...

Very helpful, thank you! Do you know how to do automatic tweets, where you enter in many tweets, and it changes it daily for you?