Twitter: How to Get Started & Why I Love It, by Joffre (J.D.) Meyer @bohemiotx
For me, Twitter goes beyond my favorite social media website. Twitter is a way to curate news, and it has become a support group full of thought leaders, power users, and educators from throughout the world. I decided to finally write this article when a favorite acquaintance with more degrees than me expressed a negative view of Twitter, finding it difficult. Furthermore, I recently crossed the 1000 follower mark, only joining two years and nine months ago.
Using Twitter merely acknowledges that you read interesting, informative articles, and share them with like-minded people. Re-tweet your followers and those you follow as much as possible, especially the prominent mutual followers. Eventually this will get really difficult. It’s wise to re-tweet a favorite article of someone when they first start following you to acknowledge their presence in your circle. Some articles will be so moving that you’ll click the gold favorite star. At times, add one or two topics introduced by a hashtag (#), so your article can be cross-referenced under those topics, particularly when tweeting the article yourself. For example, I often read about #sustainability and #climate change. Sometimes I feel the need to explain a title by offering a comment within parentheses or brackets. For example, today I mentioned the MSNBC program in parentheses (Your Business) where I learned about a Salvadorian entrepreneur. Earlier I mentioned in brackets that South Korea was #1 in Bloomberg’s list of the 30 Most Innovative Countries.
Your profile (biography) appears in the left column under your photo; please don’t leave an empty egg! I’ve completely redone my biographical sketch to be less stuffy. Instead, mostly I mention what I taught, the topics I read about and share, and cite the link to my website and hometown. I’ve read that citing your website and hometown make you appear more valid. Some may choose to be more informal than me in their bio, and they can make it work. In the second part of the column, you’ll see photos that you’ve sent, a skimpy area for me. Everyone else’s twitter page will list those that both of y’all know—an excellent feature in deciding who to follow back.
The third category suggests four people to follow, partly based on your latest tweets. The fourth and final category states ten topics that are currently trending. It may be something fun like #amwriting or #FollowFriday, or it could mean something tragic, such as the passing away of singer, Bobby Womack (1944-2014) and actor, James Garner (1928-2014) this July. Returning to #Follow Friday, a good friend told me about that hashtag, so the first week I sent her Twitter addresses of three global leaders in education, and the next Friday I sent her three Twitter addresses of prominent figures in social media—together with that hashtag and her Twitter address. Sometimes there are two columns with two categories each.
Now let’s examine the very top ribbon in the upper left hand corner above everything else: home, notifications, discover, and me. Home is where you’ll see what everyone you follow has been tweeting under the general URL https://twitter.com By the way, you may follow somebody who doesn’t speak English. The translation corner is in the upper right hand corner next to the round ball. Notifications tell you who started following you, or if you were re-tweeted or favorite. Paper.li is a daily e-journal of articles printed by journals and people you follow–should you sign up for this fine publication. Once again, I’m The BohemioTX, http://paper.li/bohemiotx/1318973557, and I follow a couple of others. Notifications will list if your find has been crosslisted in someone else’s Paper.li! Discover is where you can search for a topic. This can be lots of fun, and it’s similar to what’s trending, as discussed previously. Of course, the Twitter folks will tailor “discover” to something they know you’ll probably like. Last is me, where you go to the work you’ve done by tweeting and retweeting under your specific URL—in my case https://twitter.com/bohemiotx
After the top ribbon with those four categories: home, notifications, discover, and me, we have the place to download an artsy heading—in my case the Chinese character, ch’i—a Neo-Confucian term meaning vital force or matter-energy. Now we get to the statistics ribbon, and five number categories: tweets, photos/videos, following, followers, and favorites. These are self-explanatory. You don’t want to have too much of a discrepancy between followers and following, unless you’re a celebrity who doesn’t follow back that much. Favorites are those tweets that you fell in love with and gave a gold star. Then we have lists; you can sign up for one or make one up. I signed up for Best City Policy Planning and made up MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type indicator) sites. A list can serve a similar function to doing a search or to see what’s trending.
Hopefully this has been a good 839 word introduction to Twitter. Catch you soon.