The 10 basics of Twitter

Part of my mission is to become familiar and active with social media. Instead of having disdain for the technology that replaces face-to-face communication in many people’s lives, I’ve come to admit that it would be me that breaks that in-person exchange, not the media.

So, on my journey to become a better and published writer, I realize that learning social media is part of the territory. I’ll use them as tools and not an escape. And I started with the one that I never thought I’d be using.

Twitter.

For those of you who are still in the Ice Age with me when it comes to social media, here are the 10 basics of Twitter.

What is Twitter?

  1. Twitter is a social network that gives you online, real-time conversations to follow.
  2. Twitter users type “small bursts of information” called “tweets,” around the clock, every day.
  3. Twitter always asks the question, “What’s happening?”
  4. A tweet answers that all-important question in 140 text characters or less.
  5. The real term for a tweet is a Twitter update.
  6. Anyone can “follow” a user’s tweet activity (a “follower”). All you need to do is create a free Twitter account and start choosing the Twitter users whose tweets you want to read. Joining does not require you to tweet.
  7. Users tweets on any subject they desire. And the topics you’ll find are far and wide. For example, you can read about what your sister’s cat brought in the house a minute ago. And you can read an update from a NASA astronaut written from the International Space Station. (Take time to let that one sink in.)
  8. By default, tweets are public. Anyone who happens to come upon your tweet will know, say, what you had for breakfast. There is an option to send private tweets, so you can send the tweet that reveals the cereal brand only to Cousin Cassie, if you choose.
  9. Twitter has 200 million users.
  10. Twitter is one of the top 3 social networking sites, with steady gains behind Facebook (#1) and LinkedIn (#2).

So, a tool that announces someone’s spotting of an eagle or Aunt Betsy’s favorite TV show can also be useful to a creative writer. Though I included some of the examples above to get a laugh at Twitter’s expense, you also see that there is a useful side to Twitter for writers: big numbers. Twitter seems to be an easy and effective way to promote yourself and your writing.

In future posts I will expand on how writers can promote their work on Twitter as I continue my research. Even though you are a new writer, with not much yet to promote, take time to familiarize yourself with Twitter. You’ll be ahead of the game when it’s time to show your stuff.

Question: How do you plan to use Twitter in your writing life?


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