Getting started on Twitter

Different people use Twitter in different ways: a news source, a chat room, forwarding interesting links, crowdsourcing information like Twitter Vote Report, staying in touch with friends, and so on. It can all be a bit bewildering at first ....

-- @myrnatheminx and @jdp23, The #p2 Hashtag and Strategies for Progressives on Twitter on The Exception

"Allow me to get you to 'get' it, my friend."

-- @randomdeanna, Why Twitter, anyways?

Twitter clients like twhirl, TweetDeck, tweetgrid, Twitteriffic are often easier than using Twitter's web site directly. Try experimenting to see which one you like. @TheWebGeek's A Twitter Mini-Guide: 60+ Useful Twitter Resources has links to additional resources. A few other sites to check:

Oh, and on Twitter is you can reply or send a message to somebody's by using an at sign (@), so that's the convention on how to refer to names in general. You can find a person or organizations's twitter profile under, so for example @maddow (Rachel Maddow) is


The issues with are not as crippling as an “all flash” site but these small details show when developers understand accessibility and have an attention to detail. Don’t get me wrong, is far more accessible than a great deal of sites out there.

-- Nick DeNardis' post on eduGuru discusses some of Twitter's issues with accessibility,

accessible twitter logoAccessible Twitter is an application (still in the "alpha" stage) written by
Dennis Lembrée that provides web accessibility for Twitter that works with or without Javascript. Items currently implemented include making all links are keyboard accessible, large default text size and high color contrast, and forms marked up for optimal accessibility. Follow @AccessibleTwitr for more.


Tagging helps to organize and share our online information with others.... The aim is to bring some order to Twitter users' published updates ("tweets") and make it easier to follow a topic of interest. And you don't necessarily have to be a Twitter user to get a benefit from hashtags.

-- @rjleaman, "An Introduction to Twitter Hashtags", Wild Apricot's non-profit technology blog

Whether or not you've got an account there, Twitter hashtags are an easy way to follow conversations about any topic -- including progressive politics and social media technologies. You can follow a hashtag via Twitter Search, RSS, Friendfeed, clients like twhirl and Tweetdeck; the links below go to the Twitter search pages as well as websites if they exist.
@MariSmith on Twitter Hashtags

There's a huge and somewhat confusing array of hashtags of interests for progressives. @chrismeserole's is one good way to follow them: you can see individual feeds or the "all" feed combining them.

Here are few hashtags of interests to progressives. There's have a longer list on our Hashtags page

  • #diversity: general diversity-related topics
  • #woc: women of color.
  • #fem2: society's issues, women's voices. Twittercasts Sunday, 10 PM Eastern, The Twittercast of their early-February conference was one of the inspirations for #p2 -- as are their naming conventions, obviously :-) Website:
  • #blck: black and African-American perspectives
  • #race: discussions of race
  • #lgbt, #lgbtq, #queer, #jti: lesbian, gay, bi, transgender, and queer issues and the "Stonewall 2.0" movement. Websites: many.
  • #accessibility and #disability: information about accessibility and disability rights
  • #bipart: To be used by #tcots, #topprogs, and completely unpolitical people of all kinds who want to discuss political issues not with true believers only, and not with the intention of offending others, but with idea of challenging people of all opinions to participate in the exchange of ideas and challenges to orthodoxies or party platforms. More here.
  • #women2follow: every Wednesday.The Eloquent Woman has more. if you're following women who have interesting things to say about politics, activism, social media, and/or progressive views, please include #p2!
  • #samesexsunday: #followfriday gone gay, gay, gay!

If you're tweeting something interesting, please consider adding one or two relevant hashtags! For example:

jdp23: list of twitter hashtags for progressives (from the #p2 wiki): #rebelleft #topprog

The weird-looking URL here is a "shortened" url that redirects to the actual web page. Sites like TinyUrl and let you create these, and Twitter clients can make it easier.

Complex Twitter searches

Twitter lets you create complex search queries and this is often useful when you're dealing with multiple combining hashtags. A couple of examples: