How to use Twitter

10Aug09

(Updated post)

How to use Twitter

If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet recently you have probably heard a lot about Micro-blogging and more specificaly, Twitter. I’ve noticed that a lot of people have heard of, but don’t know how to use Twitter. I’ve been using it for a while now so I thought I would share what I’ve learned. Im not expert but I think this covers all the basic, plus there are some links to some other, slightly more in-depth articles.

What is it?

In a recent attempt to define Twitter is came up with the idea that if traditional blogging is like writing a diary then twitter is more like logging and sharing SMS messages. It allows you to post messages comprised of text (140 characters max) to your page on the Twitter site i.e http://www.twitter.com/your-user-name. As Eric notes Twitter is open and transparent rather than private like email or text.

Whilst others can subscribe to this feed and have it presented to them on their twitter homepage, it can also be viewed by anyone (unless you wish to hide your updates).

Those who already use Facebook will find that Twitter is similar to the ‘status update’ displayed below their name on their profile page ie ‘Thomas is…’ In fact as DiscoBeta notes it is now possible to integrate your Twitter updates with your Facebook status. Once you have joined Twitter you can ‘follow’ people which means that you receive their updates. They can then choose to follow you back. You update your status whenever you feel like it. You can say what you are doing, post a link or just get something off your mind. You can update via http://www.twitter.com/home or by mobile.

Mobile updates

Twitter can be updated via your mobile phone in two ways. You can text your Tweet (message) to their number (see below) or, if you have wap enabled, you can visit the mobile version of their site at m.twitter.com. Most blogging sites offer this kind of service, allowing you to update when you’re not at your computer. This is, after-all, the best time for you to answer the question which appears above the input area on Twitter: What are you doing?

Twitter also allows you to receive updates about those you are following direct to your mobile phone. In the UK these are limited to 250 a week due to the cost involved This is no longer an option. (in the US most users pay to receive SMS messages so we have it much better here!). Updates can be turned on or off at any time. You can also choose to follow some users on the web but not via your mobile.

Uses

To make the most of Twitter you need to get your friends using it. You can send out messages directly to certain people or to everyone at once. You can update people regarding you whereabouts and stay in touch cheaper than by using text messages as you only need to send your message once and Twitter distributes it for you.

I can imagine that Twitter would be particularly useful to people who are traveling away from home (depending on overseas text charges) as you could give your friends and family your homepage url and keep them updated without them needing to register. You could update your micro-blog without needing access to an internet connection.

DoshDosh has some other useful ideas about how to use Twitter for those who are a little more advanced.

Commands

These command are sent to +44 762 4801423 from the UK and 40404 from the US. Before doing this you need to link up your account with your mobile. To do this click on ‘settings’ >> ‘phone & im’ and enter your mobile number.

invite [john’s number] john sends a text invite to john

follow username you will get phone updates from this person (requires initial approval)

on enables twitter updates

get gets recent updates from all your friends

get username gets this person’s last update

nudge username encourages this person to update

leave username disables updates from this person

off disables twitter updates

stats a few statistics about your Twitter account

help sends back a list of twitter lingo commands

followers sends back a list of your followers

d username message sends a direct message to this person.

Who to follow

Here are some interesting blogs to follow:

TwitterLit – The first lines of great books.

Cookbook – Recipes in under 140 characters.

BBC – News updates.

JKottle – Of Kottle.org fame.

wordsREthings – My Twitter page

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4 Responses to “How to use Twitter”

  1. 1 je$

    hi i was wondering if you could update your twitter status from your phone use the text messages
    [im in the us]

    ~Je$

  2. Hi Je$, yes you can. Once you have linked your phone with your Twitter account you can send updates to 40404.

  3. 3 loans23

    wow 🙂
    its very point of view.
    Nice post.
    realy gj

    thank you 😉


  1. 1 Digital lifestyles, storage solutions and oversharing. « Words about things.

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