December 14, 2011

Twitter Crash Course

I wanted to go ahead and get this Twitter thing out of the way before I really get into the blogging stuff (tomorrow I will post more on blogging anonymously).  There are still a lot of people that are not using twitter, and most of the reasons that I have heard are because they have nothing they want to share that publicly and that much.  This is completely understandable, actually if it weren’t for my advocacy, awareness and coaching I would not Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...have joined in the twitter craze.  However, now that I am on there I do use it for some minor personal stuff. 

Twitter is a great way to get into social networking; especially for abuse survivors.  I say this because you can make an account that has nothing to do with your real name and you can begin to connect to others that are abuse survivors as well.  This helps to build communications and lets you know that you are not alone in this.  It also can help with trust issues that we all face once we are away from the trauma and abuse.  You can begin, even on a surface level, to communicate back and forth with others without having to even know who they are and without them knowing who you are.

I would also suggest that when you join twitter...don’t just follow people that talk about nothing but abuse, violence, trauma, etc.  It is harder (if not impossible) to heal if all you take in everyday is more stories about abuse.  If you have a hobby do a search for others that share that same hobby.  I follow people that tweet about crochet and reading; I also follow those that tweet about different healing techniques such as Reiki, tapping, Yoga, meditation, Law of Attraction, etc.  So, be diverse and follow many people, it is actually more fun that way! 

The rest of this post is for those that are new to twitter.  There are things that may have you scratching your head in confusion and you aren’t even sure where to look to figure it out.  I’m going to start with the symbols used within the messages and what they mean and how to use them; as this seems to be the one thing that most people give up using twitter because of.

  • @ -- this is the symbol you use directly in front of a profile name to reply to someone specifically (ie @TLCoaching), everyone else can read this tweet.  The reason you use this is to get the other person’s attention.  All of your mentions (@’s) are on one page or depending on which twitter client you use they are in one column, that way you can see who specifically has said something to you.  You can also use this to mention, recommend, or give credit to another twitterer.  Using the @ in front of a profile name creates a link to that profile that is clickable.
  • # -- this is called the hashtag and by putting this symbol in front of a word you create a hashtag that is searchable (#domesticviolence).  Do not use spaces in hastags, if you do only the first word is picked up.  If you make up an abbreviation to use as a hashtag, send out a tweet explaining it, so that your followers will know what it means.  Using the # in front of words makes a link to the search page that is clickable.
  • d -- you use the letter d in front of a profile name to send a direct message to someone that no one but that person sees.  (d TLCoaching).  There is a space after the ‘d’. 
  • RT -- this means re-tweet, you use this when you are copying exactly what someone else tweeted (RT @TLCoaching).  You still use the @ in front of the profile name because that gives a link to the person who sent it.  This is a polite thing to do, you will upset people if you constantly forward their tweets without giving them the credit.

Other things to keep in mind:

  • When you send a tweet that you want to have re-tweeted make it short enough so others CAN re-tweet it.  If they have to work too hard in shortening it themselves many won’t.
  • If you send something that you want others to pass on just add a (PLS RT) to the beginning or end, don’t be shy about asking people to pass it on, they will.
  • If you want to RT something that has been RT’d several times and all the profiles are taking up the 140 characters; delete them all except the original person who sent it (this should be the profile name closest to the message).  If you have room then you could also leave on the person that you are following that passed it on so that you saw it.
  • Texting slang/shortcuts are helpful but do confuse people sometimes.  Make sure you are using widely known shortcuts to cut down on confusion.  If you need to figure out what a certain abbreviation or slang term is a good place to look is Internet Slang Dictionary & Translator or Netlingo.

That’s about it!  There are other things that you will figure out as you go along!  If you have questions either ask on twitter (others will help you along) or post your comments and questions here and I will help you if I can.

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