A reader is ready to enter the world of Twitter!

“Cyn, I need to Tweet. I went to the website with that intention, but was immediately overwhelmed and realized that I didn’t even know how to start! I keep getting tweets in my email because evidently, I signed up with them at one time or another, but I’ve never Tweeted. I don’t know how to do it! Can you send one of your detailed, easy-to-follow How-To’s for this grandma, so I can get started? The world awaits me!”

Many years ago when I worked at a TV station, I got a call from a very sweet nun who’d just been given the responsibility of social media for her order. I remember her saying to me, “I don’t even know what a FaceTwit is!”

For those who aren’t even sure what a FaceTwit is or those who would just like to learn a little more about the platform, I’ll do a multi-part series this week to help you get a little more familiar with Twitter.

Let’s begin with the beginning. Exactly what is Twitter?  Twitter is a popular form of social media. It’s sometimes called a micro-blog because posts are limited to being just 288 characters. (That includes, letters, numbers, and symbols).  Most messages are even shorter with the average length of a Twitter post being around 35 characters.

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In addition to messages, you may also post photos and videos on Twitter.

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You might start a personal Twitter account to share your opinions and interact with others or an account for your business or organization.  Accounts for businesses or groups can be used to share news and events plus you can also expect to receive customer or member service inquiries. If you do start an account for an organization, be prepared to monitor it closely to respond to any inquiries.

Some basic terms to know regarding Twitter include:

A message that you post is called a tweet.

Tweet is also the verb that described the action of sending the message.  I”m going to tweet that picture or I tweeted about that yesterday.

Unlike Facebook, which is often focused on sharing part of your personal life, Twitter can be a bit more focused on news and information.  And I will warn you, it does have a reputation for people turning nasty. That’s sometimes known as a Twitter mob.

While it sounds like our reader will be using Twitter in a browser, most Twitter users post messages using the Twitter app on their phone. It’s perfectly fine to use a browser and your PC, Mac, or Linux computer, though. Tablets are fine as well.

Tomorrow in part 2 of this series, we’ll create a Twitter account.

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