Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Starting with Twitter

* Go to http://www.twitter.com
* Click on "Get Started" field
* Follow directions: enter your full name, then your desired user name and password. Twitter will tell you if your user name is available and if your password is long enough, weak or OK.
* Enter your e-mail address
* Type in the words you see in the box. If you can't read them, just click to get two new ones until you can read them and enter them.
* Click on the box "Create my account"

You'll then be taken to a page where you can find if your e-mail contacts are on Twitter. If you want, you can skip this step. If you want to see if your pals are tweeting, you will sign in using your e-mail user name and password - not your Twitter user name and password. Enter your password and hit "enter."

If you skip that step, you'll reach a page titled "Look who else is here. Start following them!" You also can skip this step by clicking "skip this step" at the bottom of the page. If you instead hit "finish" you will have automatically followed everyone listed. The people listed are either celebrities, news organizations or tweeters with lots of followers.

The default is to "Select All" so if you want to select only some, you need to click on the "select all" button to unselect everyone and then scroll through to manually the people (or tweeps, twitter peeps) you want to follow. The reason to select at least some people to follow is to begin getting tweets on your Twitter page (also known as your Twitterstream).

If you don't select anyone to follow at this stage, you still have many opportunities to find people to follow. I'll describe the mechanisms later in this post.

Click "finish" when you are done. You will then be taken to your very own Twitter page.

There will be a default avatar (picture icon). Click on it to be taken to a page where you can add your own picture. After uploading and saving your preferred photograph, you will see that you can also look at "Settings" and change the color or design of your background.

Once you are on your home page, you can begin "tweeting." Tweets are the name given to your updates. Updates are 140 characters long. That includes spaces and punctuation.

On the Twitter home page is a large text box underneath the question "What are you doing?" On its upper right is the number "140" in gray. As you type your message, you will observe the number declining. As you approach the 140-character limit, the color of the number changes gradually to bright red until you reach "0" characters remaining. If you exceed the 140-character limit, you will see a negative red number. As you edit your tweet, the number will reflect the number of characters you have left.

Great tweets are any length. When I started, I used up all 140 characters. Now I try to keep my tweets at 120 characters or less.

The reason for tweets shorter than 140 characters is to allow my followers to "Retweet" or "RT" them. When someone retweets my tweet, they are passing it on to their network of followers. The retweet includes the characters RT, my user name preceded by the @ sign (as in @juliaerickson), a colon and a space. It looks like this: RT @juliaerickson: followed by the message. That takes up 19 characters right away.

If I want someone to get the full meaning of my tweet when they see it retweeted, I need to keep my tweet at 120 characters or less. Less is good because then the retweeter (RTer) can make a comment, such as "Yes!" or "ditto" or "I agree" or "fun" or whatever endorsement or additional thought they have.

Tweet topics range from the ridiculous to the sublime with the mundane and useful being most common. Because I want to drive traffic to my blog helping job seekers, I have a standard message that I tweet several times a day. It is "job search tools and guidance that really work at http://ow.ly/4RLP (julieannerickson.blogspot.com)" with no period at the end (why waste characters?). I also tweet about a charity that I support, at least once a day. It is "click 2 feed hungry http://thehungersite.com + help child health, literacy, rainforest, animals, mammograms - no cost 2 u" also with no period at the end.

These two tweets tend to be retweeted often, I think because they provide some kind of value or good to the "twitterverse." Other things that are often retweeted: funny tweets, inspirational quotes, hot news items (e.g. lots of tweets and RTs today and yesterday about the Iran election), contests, and charity-related tweets.

Why is retweeting important? It's a way to expand your twitterverse, specifically to increase the number of followers you have. And why do you want more followers? To reach more people with your messages.

Retweeting is also a way to develop relationships. If you RT someone, they usually thank you for RTing them, because you are spreading their message and identity/brand to your network of followers. It's like doing someone a favor or them doing one for you. You start to develop a sense of people, who they are, whether they are generous or not, whether you want to interact with them more often.

“You Need 4 Things to Profit from Twitter”

You need followers.

No matter how compelling your Tweets, if nobody is following you, nobody will read them. To create a steady flow of visitors to your site and profits, you need thousands of followers.

You need readers.

Having followers only builds your ego, not your bank account. If you want to make a profit you need to have followers that are actually reading your tweets.

You need credibility.

If you want people to respond to your tweets and take the actions that put money in your pocket, you have to be someone those readers trust.

You need products.

Nobody makes a profit until someone buys something.

http://www.crn.com/it-channel/217900164;jsessionid=BMUEDS3SZECJ4QSNDLOSKH0CJUNN2JVN Dissecting Twitter's Role In Tech, Society, Politics 140 Characters Conference in New York, led by entrepreneur and tech pioneer Jeff Pulver,

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