Throughout February 2013 we will be using Twitter to try and encourage more people to join the library. The main focus will be on National Libraries Day (9th February) when librarians will be tweeting from libraries around Devon. If you’ve never used Twitter before, here’s how to join the conversation.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and to read text based messages of up to 140 characters, known as “Tweets” In its simplest form, you read the Tweets of people you follow and your Tweets are read by people who follow you.
Latest figures (December 2012) show that there are over 200 million users around the world.
So, if you want to join them here is a quick summary of how to get an account with Twitter and start using it right away!
Signing up for Twitter is very easy.
To start, log onto twitter.com and go to the “Sign Up” box. You’ll be asked for your full name, email, and password. Enter your information (you can change this at any time) and you’ll get an email asking you to verify your account. Click on the link in your email and you’ll be asked to create your username.
Your username is the official name you go by; it’s a unique name that people can use to identify and find you. It’s what you see after the @ sign (more on that later). Your full name, by contrast, is what’s shown on your Tweets. You can use your real name or a version of your username – for example, the username @funnyquotes9876 can use the full name Funny Quotes.
You’ll be asked to fill in your profile with some basic information. You can modify this information at any time, so just start with some very basic details that you don’t mind sharing!
Once you have your Twitter account, what can you do with it??
You wanted to catch up on some news. So how do you do that? First you will need to start following other Twitter users. You could start by following Devon Libraries! Whenever you follow someone, all of their Tweets appear on your homepage, which is the page you see when you visit Twitter.com. You can ‘follow’ by going to their profile and clicking on the Follow button.
Tweets are displayed in chronological order, so as a new Tweet comes in (that is, whenever someone you follow sends out a Tweet) your homepage is updated. This is known as your timeline.
There are a few things you can do with a Tweet:
- Click on a link and it will be opened in a new tab.
- Click on the Tweet itself and it will be “expanded” (the image of a Tweet you saw earlier was expanded). You can see additional information when the Tweet is expanded, like retweets and replies.
- Hover your mouse over the Tweet and you’ll see links for you to Expand, Reply, Retweet, or Favorite the Tweet.
- Click on the name of the author to see their profile – you can, again, see information about them and follow them from here.
When you first look at Twitter you will see that @ and # are used all the time. So.. what do they mean and how do you use them?
The @, pronounced “at”, is used for “mentions”. If you’re writing a Tweet and want to mention another Twitter user. You’d write @ + their user name anywhere in the body of the Tweet to “mention” them. When you mention someone in a Tweet, that Tweet will show up on their homepage.
You might want to mention someone if:
- That person was the source of what you said – often used with news
- That person did something related to the Tweet – often you’ll just replace their name with their username.
- You want that person to see what you’re saying – often used when you’re writing about a company, etc.
- They might be interested in what you have to say – often used when you’re sharing links
If there’s one aspect of Twitter that confuses people more than any other it’s using hashtags #
A hashtag doesn’t actually do anything. It’s basically a tag, a badge, a label, that acts as shorthand for “this post is about x.”
Let’s say, for example, that you want to know what is happening for National Libraries Day – how can a hashtag help you find the relevant tweets?
Log in to Twitter and do a search for #NLD13 – the resulting page reveals every tweet that’s been posted using that hashtag. You’ve just unlocked the hashtag’s secret superpower!! It offers a means for multiple people tweeting about the same topic to view and react to each other’s tweets. A good hashtag will be: descriptive, short ( it counts as part of your 140 characters) and unique.
Now, you are ready to send your first Tweet!
A Tweet is a short message (max 140 characters) that any Twitter user can post. Tweets are the headlines of the web. A Tweet can contain any of the following:
- Links to webpages
- Links to images/photos
A summary of Activites for becoming A Twitter user
1. Visit Twitter and sign up for a free account. Try a few tweets.
2. Visit the Devon Libraries Twitter page and “follow” us!
3. Search Twitter for anything that interests you to explore how people use this tool. Try searching for #NLD13
4. If you’re a library member tell us why you love your library using the hashtag #lovemyDevonLibrary