Complete guide to Twitter: how to use it, what it is and how it works

Who I am
Lluís Enric Mayans
@lluisenricmayans
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Now everyone is talking about Twitter and many television programs and political debates invite users to post their messages on Twitter. There is no celebrity who does not have a Twitter account in which to post photos or banal messages that are traced back thousands of times by fans. Given all this advertising, in the last year there have been many new registered cittàn users, but, at the same time, the percentage of people who, after registering, leave because they do not understand how to start and how to use it is also very high. instrument.
To explain how Twitter works it can be, in some ways, not very simple as it is a very different tool from Facebook, not aimed at making new friends or even communicating with one's old friends.

A complete guide to Twitter it can therefore be useful to start "chirping" and follow the people who really interest us, without being disheartened by not even having a follower, since in fact there is no real fight against the follower and it all depends on what we share and on people we decide to follow.

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How to use Twitter


Using Twitter is not difficult, but we need to understand what kind of social network it is, what kind of people we can find on it, what we need to do to have a following and how to follow the trends of the moment, one of the reasons why it is always convenient to have a Twitter account at your fingertips on your phone or PC.

What is Twitter?


Twitter is a platform where users share their thoughts, news and information 280 characters of text (Photos, videos, GIFs, surveys and citations are not counted).

Twitter allows you to communicate with the whole world at no cost and with the ability to measure the spread of your messages. Profiles are (usually) public so that anyone in the world can see what is written. You can also decide to make your profile private in case you want to create a confidential network of contacts. Users "follow" each other, based on their interests, but without the obligation of reciprocity: I can follow you but you are free not to follow me. On Twitter, whoever follows is not necessarily a friend, but it can still offer interaction and conversation.

Basic terminology for Twitter


The first thing to know to understand Twitter is to understand and master the terminology essential:
  • Tweet: The main message of 280 characters. Once written and published, this cannot be changed anymore, but it can be deleted.
  • Retweet (RT): is the re-sharing of another person's Tweet, very important if we share a thought or a situation that reflects our thoughts.
  • Feed: The stream of tweets on the homepage, made up of the updates of the users you follow.
  • Mention (@): it is a way to refer to another user with his or her name in a tweet (eg @pomhey). The mentioned users are notified and can, in turn, reply to the message and continue the discussion.
  • Direct message: it is a private message to another person; you can send direct messages only to users who follow us or whom we follow (in the case of public profiles of famous companies or brands).
  • Hashtag (#): one of Twitter's successes, and the most effective way to communicate. It allows you to show the topic of the conversation or join a larger debate by simply adding the hash sign next to the keyword. Other users, even those who do not follow us, can discover our Tweet by browsing the various hashtags that represent, in fact, the topics or categories of the tweets.
  • Following: the users we are following, whose updates make up our feed.
  • Followers: users who follow our profile and see the messages we publish, regardless of the hashtag used.

By learning these terms we will already be well under way to learn how to use Twitter.

Profile creation


After registering for a Twitter account it is very important to introduce yourself in the hope of being mentioned or followed. So let's write a short two-line profile, we put a photograph or a representative image and set the real name or a unique and recognizable nickname.

The username is that of your Twitter page (for example www.twitter.com/pomhey) and must be unique, while the profile name is what identifies the person and does not necessarily have to be unique. For the profile page, you can also change the background and edit the header cover of the Twitter account.

Following and Followers


Many new users leave Twitter because they are not followed by anyone. Twitter is not a social network like the others used so far, where you make friends just to exchange messages with them. On this social network we can also participate only by publishing our opinions on the interventions of other people and following a particular hashtag, without worrying that, if you are not followed, what you write ends up in oblivion.

If you are interested in gossip, you can follow specialized journalists and VIPs, if you are interested in technology, you can follow your favorite brand or blog and receive all the updates in your feed and so on. You can find people to follow in different ways, perhaps starting with people you know and then following users that Twitter automatically suggests. On Twitter you can be followed by commenting, participating and posting images, photos, news and comments. A Following can always be removed with a click if what he writes is not of interest.

Reply to tweets


When you notice an interesting message, you can reply to the tweet or add something by clicking on the Reply button and mentioning the author of the tweet. To summon another user and attract their attention, it is enough mention it that is, mention his name in the tweet preceded by an @ (like @pomhey).

In Twitter you can thus get in touch with a vip or a politician mentioning him in tweets, and who knows that they do not respond!

Use the Retweet


Retweeting is a way to share an interesting tweet with your followers. The information thus tends to spread through retweets. A good rule of thumb is to always quote the source and not copy and paste a tweet as if it were thought of by your own head.

When you click on Retweet, the tweet is sent to your group of followers, with the photo of the original tweeter next to it and a note below that indicates the retweet. Also, a small green icon will appear in the upper right corner of the re-tweeted message. You can also add a comment for each Retweet which appears as above the original tweet, which appears as if it were a quote. You can Retweet manually, by copying and pasting the box to send a new tweet, adding the username of the original tweeter preceded by RT and @ (for example, RT @Pomhey).

How to use Hashtags


Hashtags are labels with which to describe a message and indicate the object around which you are discussing. The hashtag is represented by the pound sign "#" in front of a word or phrase (but without spaces). The words used after the hashtag become clickable in Twitter to read all the tweets that have mentioned that word.

It is a grouping mechanism that allows you to get a sense of the general public on a specific topic or problem. Everyone can create their own hashtag and hope it becomes such an interesting topic to enter the ranking of the most discussed topics of the day, as we will see in the next chapter.

How to get information on very recent events (in real time)


Virtually most people who use Twitter use it as a kind of bulletin board of events in real time: if there is something that has happened in the world for a few seconds, the first signs and news of the event can be found on Twitter, which therefore has an unbeatable response time to events!

For example, if WhatsApp stops working and we can't find the cause, most of the time it will be enough to check the Twitter app, take us to the menu Search and check the screen Trends for you, so as to find the cause of the block: if there is a global or continental problem, we will immediately see a hashtag like #whatsappdown or similar rise to the top of the trends and we will be able to read the experiences of users who have noticed the same problem.

In fact, we can very well use Twitter as an updated newscast: if there is something interesting or if something has happened in the world, Twitter will know it before many other sites or social networks.

Using Twitter on a smartphone or tablet


With Twitter, mobile applications are more important than those of Facebook and any other social application. Twitter as seen in the previous chapter is real time, it is like a global news agency so the most interesting facts do not come from your room but from what is happening around.

Using Twitter from a smartphone or tablet is certainly more fun and you can search for updates and news regarding the event or the place where you are, participating with your contribution, even with photos, live.
If we have not yet downloaded the Twitter app we can fix it by downloading the app for free for the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Better to become a tweeter or a follower?


A user on Twitter can choose whether to be just one who follows others, perhaps to receive news on topics of interest to them, or whether to be a point of reference for other people, sharing and writing things that may be of interest. Needless to follow more than 200 or 300 other users, otherwise your page becomes too clogged and you will lose the most interesting things (so don't think about following people just to hope that they reciprocate). In Twitter you don't have to write what you are doing all the time, but you don't have to be a poet or a philosopher either.

You can write about anything, being patient and confident that you will find a group of interested people. The ideal is to place yourself as an expert in a specific subject (for example, in technology or politics), so as to attract followers. It is useless to be envious of those who have many followers: it may be that they are a VIP, or a point of reference for a specific topic or, simply, he used artificial tricks to artificially increase that number.

How to use lists


If you follow 100 different users, they can be grouped into lists based on the topic they are talking about. For example, I could create a tech list, for enclose all my following that deal with computers, information technology or electronics. A list has its own specific link which displays a feed of updates. A list can also be followed by other users. To create and organize lists you can click on the little man at the top right which is the main Twitter menu.

You can learn more about it in another guide on how to search on Twitter, use filters, lists and Tweetdecks. Tweetdeck is a special Twitter site where you can create columns with different filters, to keep tweets under control, in real time, on different trends or topics of interest. It practically becomes an indispensable tool for any journalist and anyone who wants to keep the news organized.

Conclusions


Twitter is a social experience that is profoundly different from Facebook or Instagram and in many ways it is a much more serious social network, since there are no frills or really superfluous things: the more you use it, the more fun and resourceful it becomes. This doesn't mean we can't have fun on social. Personally I recommend you to use Twitter when watching a famous TV show, so as to read people's comments and themed GIFs: laughter is guaranteed!
If, on the other hand, we want to keep Twitter as a serious social network, we can only follow the users who really interest us and follow the trending hashats, so as to always be informed about the latest news and also find out what happened in the last minutes.

To learn more we can also read our guides What is allowed and what is not on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin e Top 10 Extensions to Boost Twitter on Chrome.

Complete guide to Twitter: how to use it, what it is and how it works


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