An easy introduction to Twitter (part 2)
This is the second part of Edwin Kruys’ Easy Introduction to Twitter. Click here to read part 1.
Your first tweet
When you compose your first tweet, you could write something like:
“Hi there, I’m new on Twitter. Still figuring out how this works.”
But if you haven’t got many followers, few people will read it. So you could tell someone that you have joined Twitter by adding their username to your tweet. I’ll use my username as an example, but of course anyone’s username can be inserted instead:
“Hi there, I’m new on Twitter. Still figuring out how this works. @edwinkruys”
Now I will receive a notification that you have mentioned me, and I may respond, retweet your message or suggest a few people to follow.
If you would put my username at the beginning of your tweet, your message is still public but only those who follow you and me will see the message:
“@edwinkruys. Hi there, I’m new on Twitter. Still figuring out how this works.”
If you put something in front of my name, all your followers will see your message (instead of only those who follow you and me):
“Hi @edwinkruys, I’m new on Twitter. Still figuring out how this works.”
Try adding a hashtag and a link:
You can link to websites, pdf-files, videos etc. The hashtag increases the chance that others with similar interests will read your tweet.
Retweets and replies
A great way to get started is to retweet someone’s message. Ask questions or make some friendly comments to get a conversation going.
A tweet from someone else, forwarded by you to your followers, is known as a retweet or RT. Often used to pass along interesting messages on Twitter, retweets always retain original attribution. Respect the original message and make sure you don’t change the original tweet when you retweet. If you do change it, for example when you delete a few words to save characters, it will become a modified tweet or MT instead of a retweet.
Here is one example of a retweet. Imagine I have just tweeted this message:
“Have a look at this great resource to get started on #Twitter: http://www.linktoresource.com”
You could retweet this – assuming you wanted to share it with your followers:
You could also add a brief comment to tell your followers what you think of it or to start a conversation:
There are other ways to retweet, for example by retweeting the complete original message without adding your own text, or by retweeting the original message in a box and adding your own 140 character message. Press the retweet button under a message (the two arrows going up and down) to discover the various options.
You can send the same message by replying. Note that, by putting my username at the beginning of your tweet, your message is still public but only those who follow you and me will see the message:
“@edwinkruys Excellent resource, thanks for sharing!”
Again, if you want others to see your reply so they can follow our conversation, you need to add something in front of my name, even a full stop will do:
“.@edwinkruys Excellent resource, thanks for sharing!”
“Excellent resource @edwinkruys, thanks for sharing!”
When you share a resource you have found via someone else, it’s always nice to mention that person:
Direct messages, lists and login verification
Use Twitter direct messages to start a private or group conversation with your followers. It is possible to enable a setting to receive direct messages from anyone, not just followers, which may be useful for businesses. Direct messages have no character-limit so you can type as much as you want.
You can add images to your Tweets and even a link plus an image. Although you’re limited to 140 characters, it is easy to get around this by taking a screenshot from a large amount of text and attaching it as an image to your tweet.
Twitter lists are often used to create a group of other Twitter users by topic or interest. Lists contain a timeline of tweets from the users that were added, offering a way to follow individual accounts as a group on Twitter.
There are many third-party apps available to manage your Twitter account(s). I often use buffer to schedule tweets. To avoid getting hacked I recommend using two-step login verification as explained in this video. Have fun!
This blog was previously published on doctorsbag and has been republished with permission. If you work in healthcare and have a blog topic you would like to write for doctorportal, please get in touch.
Other doctorportal blogs
- Easy introduction to Twitter (part 1)
- A view on the increase in prevalence of mental illness in children and adolescents
- Sharing the experience of grief from a doctor’s perspective
- Life as an emergency retrieval registrar
- Social Media for Health Professionals – Benefits and Pitfalls
Main image: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com