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:
- @randomdeanna's two-part Why Twitter, anyways? and A non-fanatical beginner's guide to Twitter are great starting points, as is @pogue's Twittering Tips for Beginners in The New York Times.
- @hrheingold's Twitter literacy (I refuse to make up a Twittery name for it) presents reasons for using Twitter and the perspective of tuning the network of information you receive and feeding the network of people who follow you.
- @copyblogger's The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines has excellent suggestions on how best to make use of those valuable 140 characters.
- @OliviaMitchell's How to present while people are Twittering discusses the value of a "backchannel" and has tips for presenters
- @DigiActive's blog posts on Twitter have some excellent reports on how activist organizations are using Twitter.
- Britt Bravo's Twitter Has Gone Mainstream. Should Your Nonprofit Jump on Board? on Social Actions and Daniel Bennett's Tweet locally, reach broadly on Care2.org's Frogloop have suggestions for non-profits.
- @jdp23 and @myrnatheminx' Building Engaged Communities that Act, here on the #p2 wiki, surveys Twitter-based activism campaign and has suggestions for how to build a community. @jdp23's Lessons from Skittles for poets and activists on The Seminal goes into more detail.
- @Jesse_Newhart's How To Effectively Follow 15000+ People On Twitter Using These Tweetdeck Tricks is an excellent tutorial even if you have a lot fewer friends.
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 http://twitter.com, so for example @maddow (Rachel Maddow) is http://twitter.com/maddow.
The issues with twitter.com 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, twitter.com 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,
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.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 http://tweetleft.com/ 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
- #p2: "Progressives 2.0", a resource for progressives on social media who prioritize diversity and empowerment. Website: http://p2pt0.wikifoundry.com
- #rebelleft: progressive, liberal, and radical left twitterers. @problemchylde's announcement post has more.
- #topprog: top progressives, initially proposed as a counter-organize against #tcot (top conservatives on Twitter). Website: http://topprog.org/
- #pxfridays: progressive fridays. Brag on your work, suggest progessive tweeple to follow and share your fun on Fridays. All #pxfridays tweets displayed at http://pxfridays.org
- #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: http://www.fem2pt0.com/
- #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:
The weird-looking URL here is a "shortened" url that redirects to the actual web page. Sites like TinyUrl and is.gd 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:
- to see everything that goes to any one of a bunch of LGBTQ-related channels, you can use #lgbtq OR #lgbt OR #lesbian OR #gay OR #jti.
- to see anything that goes to #p2, #rebelleft, or #topprog but not #tcot, the magic incantation is (#p2 OR #rebelleft OR #topprog) -#tcot ... this sometimes is useful for avoiding flame wars or endless debates