Sunday, September 21, 2014

Momiji Social Media Workshop

Twitter Tutorial, Week 2

Getting Started

As with most social media the only thing you need to set up an account is a valid email address and you must be 14 or older. 

Twitter is free, like most (not all) social media.

To sign up, go to google (or your favourite search engine) and enter “twitter” in the search bar.  On the Twitter home page, find the sign up window. 

Choose a username, but be aware that regardless of your online moniker, others tweeters can find you by simply searching your first and last name.  This may not appeal to you, but less anonymity leads to fewer ‘trolls’. 

Add an avatar.  You have the option of downloading a photo of yourself or of something that represents you or your interests from your hard drive (‘my pictures’ for windows users).  You may have to reduce the size of the image.  This can be done with Microsoft paint and most photo editing type software.  If you skip this process, Twitter will give you an egg as an avatar.

Fill in required fields, including finding 15 people or organizations to follow.  I found this part difficult as I have only a dozen or so family members and personal friends on Twitter,  and you can’t complete the sign up process without doing so.  However, you can always ‘unfollow’ choices that don’t work out later.  Twitter will make suggestions, some of which might interest you.  You also have the option of allowing Twitter to search your email contacts for people who have a Twitter account that you might like to follow.  Or, you can use the search bar to find specific people or organizations.     

Next, Twitter will send you a confirming email.  Go to your inbox and click on the link to activate your account.  Done!


Setting up your account

Before you start tweeting, click on the gear symbol on the toolbar at the top of the Twitter window.  Go through every setting, checking to make sure the defaults suit you.  You may wish to use the highest privacy/security settings at least initially.  For example, you can decide who can see your tweets and retweets.  A tweet is a comment, link, picture, or video that you post on your page or some else’s page or tweet.  A retweet is similar to a Facebook ‘share’.  You also can decide what you want to be notified about via your ‘notifications’ page (accessed by the ‘bell’ icon on your Twitter taskbar), the email associated with your account or your smartphone.  I recommend selecting for showing your who is re-tweeting your tweets, as that member may not be among your followers. Your location is something you may want to keep private.   

Twitter will prompt you to change the look of your home page and ‘me’ page.  This is optional.  You may change the colour scheme or add photos.  If you wish to personalize your account, follow the prompts.

Send your first tweet.  Write it yourself or use the pre-prepared tweet.


Tweeting, Following and #Hashtags

Your Second Tweet:  On the far right side of the taskbar along the top of the Twitter window, click on the button that has a quill pen.  A composing window will open up. 

As you type your message, a word count indicator shows you how many characters remain or, if negative, how many characters over the 140 character (including spaces) limit you are.  Your tweet may include a comment, a url, photo or video and/or a hashtag.

Check your spelling.

…Remember what you wrote could be transmitted across the world in seconds.  “You are what you tweet”. 

Photos:  To include a photo, click on the camera icon at the bottom left of the composing window.  A ‘browse’ window will appear.  In windows go to wherever you saved the image you’d like to share, which is usually ‘pictures’ or ‘downloads’.  Click on the image or type in the file name and select open to upload.   Mobile phone photos may also be shared via the Twitter app.  See link below. 

Urls:  To include a url with your tweet, simply copy it from the browser bar of the originating website and paste it into the composing window.  Urls are automatically (you can’t opt out of this feature) shortened by Twitter’s link shortener.  This is for security reasons and because of the 140 character limit. shortens every link to 20 characters (regardless if the original link is shorter).  At the same time checks the link for common malware, ‘bad’ links, etc.  So, if you try to post a bad link, a warning box will pop up on your screen.  You may use a non-twitter link shortener such as bit., especially if you’re posting the link on various social media accounts, but on Twitter, the site’s own link shortener will still alter it to 20 characters. The bottom line is that makes surfing Twitter very safe.

Twitter has other limits:  You may make up to 1000 tweets per day.  (This is to prevent spammers and bots.)  Your timeline, however, will only display the 100 most recent ones. This includes your retweets.

On the taskbar (far left):  Clicking the house icon takes you to your home page and updates your news feed, which includes the most recent tweets from friends and organizations you follow.  You will also see tweets in which you or those you follow are tagged. Twitter names have two parts. The first part is your name or a Twitter name you have selected. The second part begins with the @ symbol and may be the same or different than your ID name. The @ symbol name is the tag, which links directly to that person’s Twitter page.  Occasionally tweets in your feed will be promotional ads, and are marked as such. 

In your newsfeed.  Clicking on links in Twitter is relatively safe.  Be sure to look at the source of the link, making sure you follow the person or organization tweeting or retweeting it.  Some put “RT” at the top of a retweet, but this isn’t necessary, as retweets are marked with green arrows in the top left of the window. MT is a paraphrasing of someone else’s tweet (occasionally necessary due to character limit).

If you wish to comment on a tweet, right beneath the tweet click on ‘expand’.  A comment field and others’ comments (if any) will appear, as well as buttons to reply, retweet (share on your twitter page) and favourite.  Clicking on ‘more’, allows you to share or retweet in a comment on a blog or other social media.

To follow a member of Twitter, whether an individual or organization, type the name, say, Globe and Mail, in the search bar. From the drop down list, which auto-suggest as you type, choose the closest match. Click on it. You’ll be taken to the page. You can look around the page to make sure it’s the person or organization you had in mind. Then you simply click on the ‘follow’ button on that person’s or organization’s page. They may or may not follow you, but the next time you click ‘home’ to visit your newsfeed will include their latest tweets. If you see a comment that intrigues you in your newsfeed by someone you do not follow (often a retweet or a comment on the tweet of someone you follow) and you think you might want check them out, perhaps follow them, you can also find their page by clicking on their avatar or @name tag.  Just because someone follows you, you are not obligated to follow them. You can also unfollow anyone at any time.

There are bots on Twitter, even with limits on the number of tweets as well as follows. These bots mostly want to sell you something. Some lead to erotica pages. Bots do not participate in conversations, post comments or retweet your witty comments, etc.  Quotation bot pages seem to be popular and quite harmless.  Bots seek out people to follow. Anyone, human or bot, whom you don’t want as a follower can be blocked or ‘muted’. Muting is a kinder choice for a humans you follow who post mulitiple tweets about topics you have no interest in.

#Hashtags. When you type the # symbol with a keyword after it, at the end of your comment/ photo, such as #painting. Anyone who happens to type #painting into the search bar, would see my picture among others posted recently. With the election going on, many users are tagging their comments about the candidates with #TOpoli. This stands for Toronto politics. To find out the latest election developments, I can simply search #TOpoli.  This will take me directly to a page devoted to comments hashtagged #TOpoli.  If you want your followers to find your comment, say, on a restaurant you liked, if you type #Italianrestaurant, you’ll have better luck than if you typed #bestfettucinialfredoever.  This hashtag could bring up restaurants, but also recipes, or it could be the lone entry on a #page.  Choose the general rather than the specific.  As you type a hashtag in your search bar or comment box, Twitter will auto-suggest a list of popular hashtags.


Direct Messages

As with facebook you can send and receive private messages that are not shared on the newsfeed. To send a direct message or DM, go to the person’s page and you will see a ‘message’ next to the ‘tweet to’ button just below the individual’s avatar. When you receive a message or reply a number indicating the amount of notes you have will appear on the ‘envelop’ icon on the task bar. To open messages, click on the ‘envelop’.  Scroll down. Click on the new message to open it (which includes a reply box at the bottom.) DMs are one of several features which use the (windows) grey screen for security.


What’s ‘Trending’

Popular hashtags and searches of the moment are displayed on the left of your newsfeed. I don’t use this feature much, but it might be useful after a vacation from the internet to catch up quickly news you follow.



This page uses an algorithm to supposedly find the tweets you’d most want to see. Your newsfeed is chronological, newest tweets appearing first. I’m guessing that ‘Discover’ chooses content based on popularity and followers or topics you’ve shown the most interest in (as Facebook does for their newsfeeds). Anyway it’s an option for those who prefer their news filtered. 


The Rules of Twitter:  

Always read the fine print.  Twitter aims to be a nice place:   

Also Terms of Service: 

And Guidelines and Best Practices:

Unlike news and other forums or groups online, Twitter (and Facebook) isn’t moderated and relies on you to report spam and abuses such as stalking, bullying or pornography. 

Note for those posting their copyrighted material (visual art, poetry, prose), unlike Facebook, your ownership is clear and respected.  However your art can be retweeted around to the point that your name could become distant or even separated from it. I’ve had a few notifications saying I was ‘mentioned’ in a Tweet, which included a jpg of my artwork. ‘Mentioned’ means that at least my tag, @MargaretChown was still attached to it.


The Twitterverse

Twitter had its 8th birthday in July 2014.  At election time or when big news stories occur, it’s not uncommon for TV and radio newscasters to quote comments from the ‘Twitterverse’ or gauge public opinion based on tweets, or quote tweets in print and broadcast newsmedia. 

What you do on any social media website is up to you.  But consider the consequences of, for example, publicizing someone’s contact information (address and phone number).  What if you have it wrong and what if harm comes to those at that address as a result of your post?  This actually happened.

The character limit can make your posts sound rather pithy.  Sometimes, like newspaper headlines, brevity can lead to confusing grammar.  Also you may be just joking, but that may not come across on the screen.  As with any post, count to ten before you send. 


Twitter across other social media

You can create a link to a tweet in a comment on another social media account.  To do so, go to the tweet you’d like to link, click on details, then copy the url that appears in your browser bar.  Paste the link in a post or message on facebook, your blog or elsewhere. 

You can embed a tweet (fully clickable) into your website of blog by going to the tweet, selecting ‘more’ and then ‘embed this tweet’. 

To add the Twitter button to your website or add a tweet to your website follow instructions from Twittter Help Centre:

From Twitter Help Centre:  Getting Started with the Twitter Mobile app:

No comments: