So you’ve started a twitter account, followed a few people and then got hopelessly confused about the whole situation and quit after 5 tweets/posts.
To help you get your feet wet without fearing drowning in the massive flood of Twitter here are three hints.
#1: Only pay attention to the top 20
When you sign into twitter your homepage shows the latest 20 tweets for those you follow. When you’re getting started with twitter these are the only tweets you need to worry about. Twitter moves so fast that once you follow a handful of people or organizations its easy to get lost in the constant stream of info. The temptation to keep up with all the info can quickly overwhelm you, esp if you’re not use to the tweetspeak or jargon of Twitter yet.
So relax only worry about those 20 tweets right there when you first log in.
It’s not like Facebook. Your best friend isn’t going to be upset if you don’t comment on everything they post. People who are on twitter constantly are better able to follow the flow of conversation by using lists, filters and twitter apps to help them. But you’re just getting your feet wet, so don’t sweat it for now.
You’ll see hashtags (the # symbol) in a lot of tweets. Hashtag are used to group subjects or conversations and make searching twitter easier. For instance when I post this I will make a tweet with a link to my blog and the hashtag #blogs. That gives me more exposure to people who follow or search for that tag. Think of it as a subject under which to file your tweet.
Two common hashtag that are used across twitter are the #wordlesswednesday and #ff or follow friday tags.
Wordless Wednesday is a photo blogging tag. The idea is you post a picture with the tag #wordlesswednesday and as few words as possible to describe it. In fact true #wordlesswednesday aficionados let the picture stand for itself. Here’ an example:
#WordlessWednesday 8/17/11 http://wp.me/pSD9a-a6
#FF or Follow Friday is a recommendation tag. The idea is that every Friday you post a list or 3-4 tweeps (twitter friends) followed by the tag #ff. You are basically saying that these are people you think are worth following.
Here’s an example:
Happy #ff to @MarieB41, @JeffFowle, and @lampprpro keep up the good agvocacy!
Even if you don’t know what else to say use these two tags and get started tweeting twice a week.
#3 Find a hobby tag
Another way to begin getting comfortable with twitter is to use it to connect you with hobbies you enjoy.
You may find that a particular hashtag is often used in tweets about your hobby. One that I enjoy is #Fridayreads. Every Friday you post the book you’re reading, the author, and if you have room, your thoughts on it with the tag #Fridayreads.
Here’s an example
Started “You Wouldn’t Believe Me if I Told You” by Susan Mikkelsen. Hardly put it down all day is whyI haven’t been on Twitter #FridayReads
You can also try tags such as #knitting, #gardening, #volunteer, #glee, #idol (for American Idol), #music, #foodies, #cooking. There is a tag for almost everything. Start posting what you are up to with your hobbies and include just one tag. You might just start to pick up followers and get connected to people who are also involved with the hobby.
There you have it 3 Practically Painless Ways to Get Started on Twitter. Let me know what you think. Are there any tag use use often? If you’re a twitter user what other hints do you have for someone just getting started?