Twitter: You Can Do It!

A Quickstart Guide from LibraryLinkNJ

New To Twitter? Dip a Toe in, The Water's Fine!

To-Do List: Setting Up Your Account

  • Join! Keep your username brief. Consider using your real name, too.
  • No eggs: use a photo of yourself or something that's easily identifiable as YOU for your profile pic.
  • Your bio! Keep it brief & informative, and be sure to include a relevant URL if you have one to share.
  • Follow people you like & admire. Watch to see who they follow & interact with, to follow people outside of your own circle.

Fav? RT? The handle of what?

Twitter has its own grammar & slang. Here are some key terms:

  • Handle = your username.
  • Profile photo = the image associated with your handle (username), and the one that appears next to all your tweets.
  • Header photo = the image that appears at the top of your profile, much like a banner.
  • Fav = short for favorite; also simply called a like. When you click the little heart icon at the bottom of a tweet? That's faving/liking. Use it to save tweets and links for later, or just to give a thumbs-up.
  • RT = retweet. That's how you share what other people are saying.
  • LRT or RLRT = Last RT or Re: Last RT. Use this to preface a follow-up to a retweet.
  • Mention = to directly reference another Twitter account by typing its handle preceded by @. Tweeting at others can kickstart conversation, and your own Mentions section acts as a list of everyone who's talking about you!
  • Thread = multiple tweets strung together into a longer statement, composed by retweeting yourself and breaking your paragraphic thoughts into 280-character-sized bites. Given Twitter's character limits, the thread is an invention of necessity.
  • Hashtag = self-applied metadata. A way of making your tweets searchable & your account more discoverable by people interested in the same things you are. #savvy

Tips for Successful Tweeting

  • Brevity: 280 characters is a challenge (but a cinch compared to 140)!
  • Search for & save useful & interesting hashtags.
  • Make lists— private or public ones— to organize the accounts you follow by main subject, location, or user type. Here are our lists for reference.
  • Tag your work: If you're participating in a hashtagged conversation (such as at a conference), include the hashtag in your own tweets so others can see & respond.
  • Threading: Multiple tweets on one topic means your followers are more likely to see your thoughts. Thread posts when you have something big to say... but remember to delete @yourhandle from each follow-up.

Threaded Conversation, Ahoy!

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Live Event Twitter is The Best Twitter

Live-tweeting events (the Oscars, a movie with friends, a professional conference) is a great way to dip a toe in a calmer area of Twitter's turbid waters. It's a way to slow the fire hydrant flow to a manageable & refreshing water fountain stream.

Ready to live-tweet? Log in to your Twitter account, then:

  • Search for the event hashtag (for example, #njla16)
  • Save your search - this will make the stream of tweets easy to find & read
  • When you tweet something (an insight from a session, questions about lunch or evening activities), include the event hashtag in your tweet so others who are following it will see, retweet & respond to you.

Next-Level Tips

  • To save links, don't rely on favs - use a service like Pocket, Instapaper or Evernote.
  • You may prefer to use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck or HootSuite.
  • Tools like TweetChat and Twubs can simplify participation in fast-moving tweet chats & hashtagged conversations.
  • Use tools like Storify to archive & share conversations.
  • Twitter's Missing Manual gets deep into the nitty-gritty of Twitter's quirks.
  • If you start a tweet with someone's username, only that person and the users who follow both of you will see it. Which is fine, but if you want everyone who follows you to see a tweet, add at least one character before @theirhandle. Current convention is ".@theirhandle take a look at this!" (See photo above)

But You Don't Have To Take My Word For It!

Over on my personal Twitter account, I asked friends & colleagues what ONE piece of advice they'd give their past selves about using Twitter effectively.

You can read their great responses here.

You can do it. Ask for help if you need to.

LibraryLinkNJ -- The New Jersey Library Cooperative

Created by Sophie Brookover, Program Coordinator & Social Media Manager

A Big Thank You to Gwyneth Jones, the Daring Librarian!

I used two how-to comics by Gwyneth Jones as inspiration: Twitter At A Glance and The Art of the Follow. She's an amazing resource and you can (and should!) follow her at @gwynethjones.

By the way, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.