Twitter – How Do I Use This Thing!?!

(Previously posted as a Note on my Facebook Profile)

DISCLAIMER: Please people – do not let the length of this effect you – its just detailed info that is really not available anywhere else. And no, you don’t have to read all of it to get started, you should read it all if you don’t want to be confused after you get started. I took the time to do this only for the people who really wanted more info.

This note is meant to be used a supplement to my last note regarding Twitter. Please read the note if you have not yet, because it will help understand this “mini” instructional overview. I never had a lesson in Twitter and many of the things that I’ll share I learned thru weeks of trial and error. Scanning this note may confuse you more than help you. So, if you have a true interest in effectively using Twitter this should more than help you get on your way. I have only been using it for about 4 weeks and it has been a great, great experience – once I figured out what the hell was going on.

Definition: “tweet” – a message sent by a Twitter user

One major thing to understand about Twitter is that it is a “mini-blogging” tool that you can use to disseminate information or factoids about anything. Unlike myspace and Facebook, there are no photo albums, long bios, mini-quizzes, “So and So wants to pass you a drink”, etc – no bells and whistles. Purely 140 characters to express a thought, pass along info or “crack people the hell up.”

Fact – I would not be using Twitter if I did not download because the Twitter web interface simply sucks!!

First things to do to get started:

● Open an account at

● Format your profile. This takes 10 minutes tops. That includes a short one-line statement about yourself, insert a picture of yourself (if you have problems doing this I may be able to help) and later you can change your profile wallpaper – not important at first though. By the way, one of the fastest ways to not get people to link up with you is to not have a picture, so it really helps.

● Download and begin your Twitter experience like that.

Fact – Twitter is 100 times more interesting if you actually “Tweet” as opposed to simply people watch.

How do I get started/What am I really doing:

It may sound strange, but you are literally “following” people and people are following you. I will share info to help you get followers later, but for now you should start by simply following people.

● The best way to get started following people is to pick about 40 people to follow. I would choose 20 celebs and 20 non-celebs. I’ll give some suggestions on celebs to follow later. It is IMPORTANT to follow people, because that’s what creates activity on YOUR acct. Imagine if you watched late night tv that had the same infomercial on 4 hours in a row. That’s how your Twitter account will be if you follow 6 people or even worse if you follow 20 people who don’t tweet.

You don’t have to find 40 people all at one time – don’t turn it into a job, its should be “somewhat” enjoyable. You possibly didn’t your first 75 Facebook friends in a day, its the same with Twitter, so let it be a process.

●However, don’t get too caught up on celebrities. The richest experience will come from following and communicating with regular people, celebs are just a throw in unless its Russell Simmons or Reverend Run who always share helpful advice throughout the day.

● The best way to decide who to follow is two ways: 1) Do a “Find People” search on tweetdeck or to search for people you think may be on twitter. 2) Do a keyword search on tweetdeck for your interests. If you are a writer in your spare time you may do a search on tweetdeck for “poetry” or “writer”. If you listen to John Coltrane, you might search “Coltrane” to find other people who may have your interests.

● Another very easy and quick way to find people to follow is simply look through the list of people that the people you follow have. That just means that if you find someone interesting enough to follow, you may like some of the people they follow as well.

● Once you are following people there are only three things that you’re doing – you are making your own tweets, you are passively observing others tweet or you are interacting with others who are tweeting. It is possible that you may just want to tweet “I’m trying to figure this thing out.” So what no is following you – its kinda like swimming, you have to start to stroke or nothing will happen.

● It is usually a good practice to take a quick look at a person’s profile before you follow them. If their last tweet was 3 weeks ago and they only have a total of 10 tweets, they may not be worth following.

FACT: Twitter unlike other networking applications is truly designed for you to interact with others (many times people you don’t know) to get the maximum effect of it. The more you tweet, the more you get from the app. Many people who don’t like Twitter actually don’t tweet. Go figure…

How do I get people to follow me so I’m not talking to myself??

● Twitter is literally designed for your to talk about any and everything that comes to your mind. If you are having a great day, a great memory, witness something that makes you ponder, find an interesting fact to share – any and everything – its there for you to share information or “micro-blog”. Some examples “Anytime I hear Marvin Gaye on the radio it reminds me of my mom.” , “I wish that Spring would hurry up and get here…”, “I found an interesting article about Obama’s first 100 days here’s the link…” It doesn’t matter, just jump in.

● Best things to do to be followed. Be sincere. Be funny. Be personable. Be informative. Be contemplative. Be sensational.

● Best things to do that will make people not follow you. Don’t tweet at all or rarely. Be bland (i.e. “Eating breakfast now”, “Driving to work now”, “Running late for a meeting”) How can you change that up? “I really wonder why I eat cereal for breakfast everyday.”, “Just drove to work and realized there are 100 other cars I’d rather be driving.”, “Running late for a meeting and I hope I don’t fall asleep while I’m in it.”

This may sound like a lot of work, but these are truly the thoughts that we have on a daily basis that you’ll be surprised at the communication this could create or the networking with others that could come about. Also, if you have a business, great, just don’t promote your business blatantly in every other tweet – if a business connection happens it will probably come out of subtle contact as opposed to continual reminders of what your business is. This advice is based on personal accounts, it is possible for you to have multiple accounts and one may be a business oriented account which has a different purpose.

● The number one way to get people to follow you is to tweet back. If you’re following 40+ people and you see communication, its just like real-life – chances are people will not talk to the wall-flower. You have to let people know you’re out there. More importantly, the people you are following don’t even know you’re on-line at that time. This rule applies to “regular folks” more than to celebs. Celebrities tend to mostly talk to people that they already know. However, they can still be interesting folks to follow and do respond on occasion. It is HIGHLY important that you speak up when you’re on line.

OK, Great I know to follow people, talk to people, but how do I use this thing!!

Alright, here’s the meat and potatoes. 100% of your use of Twitter for communication comes from your data entry box. You have 140 characters to be, do or say whatever you want. So here are the basic data entry rules. I will provide an example and give you the explanation of what happens after the tweet is sent.

Tweet #1 – “I was typing in MS Word and it shut down before I saved, but the Doc Recovery saved the file . Microsoft did sumthin right for a change…?” (this was a real tweet that I sent while making this doc)

If you send Tweet #1 your message will be seen by everyone that is following you.

Tweet #2 – “@djvinceaadams please help I have a question”

If you send Tweet #2 you have just communicated directly with djvinceadams. 2 VERY IMPORTANT THINGS- 1) If you want to communicate with someone on Twitter you have to use @ + their profile name or they will not receive the message. (i.e. if you send “Vince I need help!!” I will not see that message) 2) If you use the reply @djvinceadams in the beginning of the message, the only people who will see that message would be you, djvinceadams and anyone following both of you.

That’s right, unlike Facebook, if you send a broadcast message directly back to someone your entire network does not see the message. To explain – if you have 100 followers and you send a message that starts with @djvinceadams, only djvinceadams and any of your followers who also follow djvinceadams will see that message – not all 100 of your followers. This significanlty cuts down on “unnecessary” notifications that don’t apply to you from people you are not following.

Tweet # 3 – “ I got a lot of helpful information from @RevRunWisdom”

This simply sends a broadcast message to all of your followers, but it does two cool things. It one, lets Reverend Run know that you acknowledged him in a note. Two, it allows your followers to link with Reverend Run in case they want to review his profile and possibly follow him.

Benefits of using Twitter

● Excellent way to expand your circle of communication in your industry, interest group or broaden contacts nationally and internationally.

● Excellent source of news, information on trending topics or way to test new thoughts or concepts.

● Puts a person ahead of the curve of the growing international, “viral” community where this level of communication will become the platform of choice for the worlds “movers and shakers.”

● Can be a lot of fun if you’re following the right people as well.

Suggestions for celebs to follow (these people tweet regularly – check a celebs profile before adding them because if they rarely or never tweet, really no need to follow them):

@iamdiddy – P Diddy – he gives inspiration, comedy, dude is entertaining
@RevRunWisdom – Reverend Run – inspirational statements around the clock
@Goapele – Goapele – fun facts about her day and music info
@MarshaAmbrosius – Marsha from Floetry – fun facts about her day and music info
@UncleRUSH – Russell Simmons – similar to Diddy – fun to follow
@NecoleBitchie – Nicole Bitchie – if anyone is into Black celeb gossip, she’s the one
@NikkiWoods – Nikki Woods of the Tom Joyner Show – soccer mom with a lotta flava
@BusaBusss – Busta Rhymes – always up to something
@RealTalibKweli – Talib Kweli – introspective statements and cool person to check out
@QuestLove – Quest Love from The Roots – again, always up to something
@MichelleObama & @BarackObama – nuf said
Also, many companies (CNN, Time, Zappos, etc.) have good content on their accounts

One last “advanced” topic – the “RT” or ReTweet

ReTweet is often confusing, but it is very simple. ReTweet is simply forwarding what someone else said. That means that the immediate statement after “RT” are the words of someone else, not the sender. It is the same way that the “rest” of a forwarded email is not from the person that sent it to you, but from the original sender. Look at the following example showing that you received a message from @BigGuy1 that says “Facebook virus on the loose, check the following link for more info

You may want to pass that along to your followers. On Tweetdeck you can simply hit the ReTweet button which looks like >> and forward that message to your followers. The message would look like “RT @BigGuy1 Facebook virus on the loose, check the following link for more info”. This simply tells your followers that you received a message from @BigGuy1 and this is what it says.

It is important to understand RT when reading a message so you know what part of the message is actually someone else’s words, not the original sender (again, very much like an email – not complicated at all.)

I hope that someone, somewhere finds this information useful. Its long, but I tried to keep it down to what would really help someone take advantage of the Tool. See you on FB and in the Twitterverse…

Additional info that may be useful: 9 Reasons You’re Not Being Following On Twitter (which includes some of the above info without the how to component)


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