The Beginners Guide to Twitter

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Based on your interests and profession, you might find some of these Twitter users interesting:

Do you have a parent, friend or colleague ready to ditch his or her digital training wheels and head intoTwittersopen wilderness? These pointers should get them started. And even Twitter experts might benefit from a quick refresher on the platforms valuable tools.

Reception across the board was mixed. Some users argued it was a positive feature that meant less clicking and easier scrolling; those who opposed said it opened up the door for seeing photos and videos they might not necessarily want to see (think:NSFWcontent.)

For more examples of Twitter hashtag trends and practices, see these resources:

Since the networks debut, it was believed that a user had to be following you before you could send them a direct message. However, it was discovered in October 2013 thata feature in settingsallowed users to choose whether they wanted to be able to receive messages from their followers, even if they didnt follow them back.

Once you feel comfortable with these tools, its time to start interacting with more influential Twitter users. Twitter gives you the power to directly connect with government officials, celebrities and cultural movers and shakers. By @mentioning specific people, the odds that they see your conversation increase drastically. Who knows? They might even respond or retweet to their own personal audiences.

Twitter is all about whats happeningnow. And lets face it: Not a ton of interesting things happen at your desk. Thats why its important to keep up with Twitter while youre on the go. Maybe youll snap an excellent photo with your smartphone. Maybe a brilliant tweet will pop into your head while youre at the supermarket.

When youre ready to move beyond the mobile basics, check out these additional third-party Twitter apps:

Hashtags label and indicate the subject matter of certain conversations taking place on Twitter. The hashtag is represented by the number sign . Putting one of these little symbols in front of a word or phrase indicates a subject you think is worth talking about. The words you use after the hashtag become searchable because Twitter tracks them. That is to say, if you click on a particular hashtag, youll be able to see all tweets that have also used that hashtag. Its a grouping mechanism that allows you to get the general publics sense about a specific topic or issue.

Twitter (@twitter)November 6, 2013

In order to engage in conversation, you must introduce yourself. By creating a handle (see glossary above) you can quickly describe who you are. A handle is essentially your address or calling card, and is how people will interact with you and include you in conversation.

Its a platform wherein users share their thoughts, news, information and jokes in 140 characters of text or less. Twitter makes global communication cheap and measurable. Profiles are (usually) public anyone in the world can see what you write, unless you elect to make your profile private. Users follow each other in order to keep tabs on and converse with specific people.

Once youve squared away your username, photo and bio, you need to seek out people to follow. You can find them in a few different ways.

Now that youve been observing the updates and musings of those you follow, its time to join the conversation. You could try to send a 140-character observation into the ether and hope someone sees it, but theres a better way to engage with people around your interests.

Check out a few more hilarious Twitter parody accounts here:

Our advice is to follow your friends and people you know, at first. When you open your account, Twitters algorithm doesnt know you very well, and thus, cannot logically suggest people for you to follow, just yet. (However, the company is trying toimprove its suggestions feature.) It merely suggests random celebrities and other folks with thousands of followers. Therefore, following people you know will make your initial foray more worthwhile.

In October 2013, the companyfiled an S-1 formwith the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise $1 billion in public offering. Read it below:

Update: This post was updated November 2013 to reflect current statistics and tools.

Now that youre up and running, focus on being yourself and crafting your online beat. When you start to situate yourself as an expert in a specific subject area (for example, in comedy or politics), youll notice that people will begin to follow you for advice and expertise. You may not know who they are, but thats perfectly acceptable. Twitter isnt about following people you already know; its about engaging interesting people from all over the world.

Your profile pic, header image and bio should also reflect who you are. Unless youre planning to create a satire orspoof account, you should use your actual picture and real name, so people feel more comfortable interacting with you.

This is a very convenient way to drop in on subjects as broad asOrganicFoodor as focused asBehindTheLaunch. Feel free to create your own subjects just make sure you dont use any spaces between words in a hashtag. The Discover tab at the top of the page will display content and hashtags that might interest you, based on your own tweets.

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On Twitter, following someone is not necessarily an admission of friendship, but nonetheless affords interaction and conversation at least in short bursts.

You may only DM a user who follows you.

Although its a default function, its still possibleto disableit. For mobile devices, simply open the settings in the app and deselect the Image Previews tab. Theres not yet a concrete way to disable the function on desktops, but if its inappropriate content youre worried of coming across, open the settings tab on m and choose to be alerted whenever Sensitive media pops into your feed. Its a heads-up, if anything:

Twitter has a greatonline glossarythat you can refer back to, should you get mired in a vocab morass.

The first step is to understand and master the vernacular. There are certain words and jargon native to Twitter that you may already have heard in passing. These terms and their abbreviations (in parentheses) are essential for understanding the network.

Topics:beginners guideHow ToSocial MediaTwitter

Direct Message (DM):A private, 140-character message between two people. You candecidewhether to accept a Direct Message from any Twitter user, or only from users you are following.

We once heard Twitter described as a crowded banquet hall. Picture people milling about, having conversations some are snacking on delectable treats, some are staring at the ceiling. Its a lot to take in all at once, but if you hone in on a few people that seem interesting and start a genuine conversation, you might encounter a new and interesting network of contacts. Before you know it, youll have a nice little group of people with common interests.

Another way to communicate with Twitter is through direct messaging (DM). The messages are private, between you and the receiver, but keep in mind what you saycould still be leaked so make sure whatever you send is something youd feel comfortable having publicly posted.

Mention (@):A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet (e.g. @mashable). Users are notified when @mentioned. Its a way to conduct discussions with other users in a public realm.

See also:The Beginners Guide to Facebook

The next time you see a particularly fascinating tweet, click reply and add your two cents.Interacting with ordinary people is a great way to get the hang of the @mention(just use the @ sign before that persons handle). Clicking expand or view conversation on a tweet will display all the responses that message received, including tweets from people you arent following. You can see when someone follows or @mentions you in the @Connect tab at the top of the page.

Feed:The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. Its comprised of updates from users you follow.

First, the basics: What is Twitter all about?

Twitter also announced in October 2013 that all photos and videos in tweets would begin, by default,appearing in full making its appearance more like that ofFacebook. (Up until this point, photos and videos, such asVinevideos, had appeared as links which users could expand by clicking.)

To enable the feature, go to settings and look under the Accounts section, where you should see a check box marked Receive direct messages from any follower. At time of writing, the feature wasnt available for everyone. Well update as more information becomes available.

The bottom line: Be authentic and true to your values and youll quickly become a valuable member of the Twitter community.

On November 6, 2013, Twitterset its final IPO priceat $26 a share meaning it would actually raise around $1.8 billion and be valued at around $18 billion. Facebook, by comparison, went public at $38 a share and raised $16 billion from its public offering.

Retweet (RT):Re-sharing or giving credit to someone elses tweet.

You may also want to explore people your friends are following to naturally increase your Twitter perspective.

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Retweeting is a common way to share something interesting from someone you follow to your own set of followers. Pertinent information tends to spread virally via retweets. Its important to remember that a retweet should be thought of as quoting someone or citing a source.

We suggest using the official Twitter app first. When youre ready to try some advanced functionality, there are some great third-party apps. Check out our recommendations forTwitter iPhone apps.

Twitter is available on bothiOSandAndroiddevices.

Hashtag ():A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. AmericanIdol, Obama). A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time even from people you dont follow.

As you start building your brand on Twitter, think about why people are following or talking to you. Are you an expert in a particular industry? Are you opinionated? Funny? Do you share great news articles or interesting photos?

Once you get rolling, Twitter will give you better follow suggestions, based on the industries/fields associated with your interests. With time, youll become adept at discerning who is worth following and who is not. Theres no set strategy for this its completely up to you and your own personal tastes. If someone follows you, theres no requirement to follow them. If someone is tweeting too much and clogging your feed, feel free to unfollow him immediately.

Another way of retweeting arose from the Twitter community itself. This way is a ever-so-slightly more labor intensive, but gives you the opportunity to comment on a tweet before you retweet it. Simply click to expand the tweet, copy and paste its text, and then create a new tweet by clicking the compose icon in the top-right of your profile page. Be sure to include the letters RT and the handle of the person who originally tweeted the information. (This is illustrated in the lower example in the picture below.) Notice that the tweet now appears in your timeline, with your profile pic and your comment before the original tweet.

You might also notice a vertical blue line connecting some tweets. When two or more users you follow are involved in a conversation, Twitter automatically groups those messages together on your timeline, displayed chronologically from when the most recent tweet was sent. Up to three messages in the conversation will appear on your timeline, connected by the vertical line. If there are more than three messages in the conversation, click on any one to view the entire conversation.

Again, these are two ways to perform essentially the same action. Its up to you to determine when its appropriate to include a comment in your RT.

Read on for the Twitter basics, but remember that Twitter is an experience. The more you use it, the more enjoyable and resourceful it will become. We hope you stick with it, as it can pay dividends in great conversation and personal connections with people around the world.

There are a couple of ways to retweet someone (see image below). You may choose to simply hit the retweet button that appears when you hover your mouse over someone elses tweet. When you click this button, the tweet will be sent to your set of followers, using the original tweeters profile pic alongside a note that you have retweeted the post. Additionally, a small green icon will appear in the top-right corner of the tweet. This is illustrated in the top example of the picture below.

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