Oh, please don’t dismiss me for being so stupid. I have already admitted that I am naive when it comes to social media. But today, I learned how ignorant I have been about some platforms.
The greatest writing invention in history. Twitter.
Now, I have a Twitter account, and I haven’t checked it for ages. Every day I get multiple emails from Twitter urging me to check my account. I religiously delete them all. Not once I thought about ‘tweeting” anything.
So I decided to check my Twitter account.
Imagine my surprise when I saw my own articles staring back at me.
Other people were tweeting my articles, and I had no idea.
First of all, thank you to all those who have liked my articles so much that they took the trouble to tweet them.
Here I am, having no idea how to use Twitter. Although I get a bit of consolation from Tim Denning’s words, he too has ignored the beauty of the platform; it is still not an excuse enough to click a button at the end of publishing an article to promote my own work.
I wondered why I was not doing that.
The main reason for that was I never went on the platform.
I have no idea how Twitter works.
Unless you go on the platform and see it in action, you can’t figure out how it works.
I knew J K Rowling is the queen of Twitter, and Donald Trump won the election and basically got away with so much on the power of Twitter, but I didn’t know how I can use it.
So I googled it.
This is what I learned (summarising it here for those who like me have no idea how Twitter works):
- Twitter is a great promotional tool, a superfast way to reach your target audience and do market research.
- It has its own lingo. Hashtag (#), Retweet (RT), Mentions (@), Hat tip (HT), Direct Message (DM) are some of them. You got to learn it.
- You can write only 280 characters which are roughly 50 words. But you shouldn’t use them all.
- If you have more than 280 characters to say, hit the + button on the bottom right. You can write multiple tweets and post them all. But boiling down your thoughts to a couple of lines makes them stronger, faster to read, and more shareable.
- Sharing a link to your Tweet will decrease your character count by 23 characters. Leave a space between your text and the link. Otherwise, it may include the entirety of the link in your character count.
- Photos do not use character space. You can add up to four photos or a video less than 2:20 in length and 500 MB in size. You can do so in the lower bar of the “Compose new Tweet” box.
- You can tweet about anything – yourself, your work, emotions, inspirations, announcements. You get extra marks for being witty, but not at the cost of obscenity. Stay away from racism, religion, and politics.
- Just like Medium, you can pin your best tweets.
Twitter isn’t about befriending; it is about following.
You can follow people you know personally or artists or projects you’re a fan of. You can follow robots and parody accounts too.
To begin with, start following a few people, retweet their content, and hopefully, they will start following you and retweet your content.
Twitter will offer suggestions for who to follow. These suggestions will appear in your feed if you’re using the app or on the side of the screen if you’re using the website.
There’s no limit to how many people you can follow, but once you’ve landed between 100 and 250 accounts, you’ll notice the correlation between the number of people you follow and the number of tweets that show up in your feed.
You can also follow events or topics. Search for the hashtag of the event, then tap on the “Live” tab to see the most recent tweets in the larger conversation.
How often to tweet?
You need to tweet regularly. It doesn’t have to be 20 times a day, but it shouldn’t be once in 20 days. Figure out a frequency that suits you and stick with it.
Twitter is public by default. But you can easily make it private to communicate with friends. Just set your account to private. You will have to permit your friends manually.
A lot of people think Twitter is hard to follow. It doesn’t mean it is.
It is just different from every other platform.
The idea of Twitter isn’t to catch every single thing someone tweets; it’s to be on the internet at the same time as other people. It’s like a giant hangout — an open and rich chat room that’s happening in public. — Wired
If you follow someone and want to see what they have been tweeting, go directly to the page, and you can see all their tweets.
You can turn on notifications, and you can get them on your phone or by email. However, I suggest you only do it if you want to keep track of something particularly news or an event announcement.
You can use Tweetdeck, a more customizable Twitter app to follow a few specific people and see all their tweets.
To Tie It Up
I was seeing all tweets about my articles because I was hardly following anyone.
Thanks to those who tweeted my articles have done me a great favor. They have opened me to a platform that Tim says is the greatest invention in the history of social media.
I have done the crash course on it while writing this article.
I am on it now guys and girls. Give me a few days and I will report back how I am going.
Below are some of the screenshots of my article just for fun.