Tangent — Some Pointers for Twitter

Edit: In my former life, I was actually responsible for clear explanations of technical things. Good thing I’m not getting paid for this anymore. So I’m going to take another crack at thoroughly confusing you, er, explaining Twitter. Edits are highlighted or just read the whole thing again. And I’ve got to stop writing these posts by the seat of my pants! Hope I really didn’t confuse anyone enough to make them say forgetaboutit! Hang in there. Twitter really can be fun.

I’m no expert on Twitter, but I’ve learned a few things, and for those of you who are novices, maybe a few words here will knock down the intimidation factor.

On Twitter there are two pages you need to understand. The home page is the page that comes up when you first login. This page scrolls the tweets of people you are following and it also scrolls your tweets. So following someone means seeing a person’s tweets scrolling on your home page. The other page that’s important is your profile page. This is a collection of only your tweets, and it’s what people see when they look you up on Twitter. They cannot see your home page and the tweets that are scrolling there only your profile page, which again, only contains the tweets you have made.

To make a tweet, you can simply go to your home page and type in a message of 140 characters or less and hit enter. Yes, you can delete it if you mess up. You can also make tweets to someone else. It’s important to understand that when you find something on someone’s profile which you want to tweet about (comment on), you actually “reply” (on Twitter “reply” is a misnomer for comment). Your “reply” then shows up on your profile as a tweet, and it also shows up as a tweet on your home page along with the tweets of the profiles you are following. Since following someone means their tweets scroll on your home page, tweets you make to someone not following you will not show up on their home page, but they still have the ability to see it.

There are countless Twitter apps and services out there (WAY TOO MANY to list them all here; as if I actually know all of them LOL!) which help people figure out what’s being said and where and manage what they find a little easier than the Twitter functions, but I’ll spare you all of that for now. LOL! Thankfully, Twitter has a built in function to query on tweets to you. It’s the “@yourprofilename” button on the right sidebar of your home page. Click on that, and you can see everyone who’s talking to you whether you follow them or not. To see those talking about you but who didn’t do it with a reply, you can use the Twitter search function, which is also on the right sidebar. Well, this is assuming your profile name is somewhere in someone’s tweets, and they’re really referring to you. LOL! This is a good reason to have a unique Twitter profile name. If you want to know about anything else being talked about, you can just use the Twitter search, and Twitter also gives some help with the topics that are of most interest or “trending” on Twitter with a function on the right sidebar.

So let’s say you want to know of all the tweets about Richard Armitage (or at least the ones where people were savvy enough to put his name in the tweet). You key in Richard Armitage and it will get all of the tweets beginning with the most recent first, and yes, there will be some of them about the politician. I forget how many tweets are retained before the buffer is overlaid (if it even does get overlaid), but trust me it’s enough to keep you busy.

Another cool thing is you can create a subject for people to use as a tag in their tweets. The sky is pretty much the limit on what you can call it. Tags begin with #. For instance, I recently sighted SFR (StickFigRichard on Twitter) with a tall, leggy red head. So I made a comment and then put my tag #Spying_SFR in the tweet. If you sight him somewhere, you can make your comment and put that tag in your tweet. Then someone can do a search and read about the SFR sightings instead of trying to find them on all these different profiles. Phew! What a pain that would be! Oh, and I also went to StickFigRichard’s profile and did a reply so that it had SFR’s profile name in my tweet as well. That’s for people who don’t know about the tag; they can search on SFR’s profile name. That’s just a couple of ways to make sure people can find things. More later since some of you are just getting rolling.

Well, one more thing. The best way to acquire Twitter profiles to follow is to look at the Twitter profile of someone you’re interested in and take note of whom they follow or who is following them. It is amazing the things you can find this way. Pretty much the same as finding great blogs on some of those blog rolls out there in the blogosphere. I think of it like hunting for treasure. I’ve found some absolutely wonderful profiles, and yes, sometimes very edifying profiles, by just reading other users’ followers and following lists. Of course most of those are on my “real” profile. ;-)

Perhaps all of this is a no-brainer, but I thought I would throw it in for those who might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by Twitter.

We can talk about putting up pictures later. :D

Bottom line: HAVE FUN!

So I guess this post isn’t a complete tangent since I sort of tied it to RA.

And I find it ironic that I’m listening to Streisand sing: Papa Can You Hear me? My mood? Antsy. I alternate between that and flippant.


  1. “The person you reply to cannot see it unless they are following you.”

    Sorry but that’s not entirely true. If anyone replies to you, you can read all those tweets by clicking on the @yourname button (depending on which package you are using to view twitter. This lists all people who are tweeting you, except those who have protected their tweets. Some people keep their tweets private, but not most people. I find this button essential, otherwise it’s very difficult to have a conversation as you need to be aware of who is tweeting you.

    The tags thing is useful, but only if everyone uses the same tag. Sometimes it’s just used as a comic device e.g. #I’mtryingtobehelpfulhere ;)

    I love using Twitter, you can find out all sorts of interesting stuff and there are some really witty people out there. It’s a constant source of amusement, so I’m glad you posted this as Twitter can only get better the more people that use it.

  2. Thanks, Ali. I realized I made that glaring error and came back to fix it this morning and you beat me to it. LOL! I’ve got to STOP making most of these posts by the seat of my pants! The point I wanted them to realize is that the person you’re tweeting and who is not following you cannot see the tweets scrolling on their home page. They must DO something to see them. I should have made it clear they can query on their own profile names. Unfortunately, not everyone does that or knows to do it, and see, I didn’t even include it in my explanation. LOL!

    As to how Twitter is being viewed, the people I’m directing that post to would probably not be accessing twitter other than to go to the site via the web.

    Oh, certainly the tag thing is a free for all. I just hope people have fun with that, and hey, something might turn viral.

  3. “Perhaps all of this is a no-brainer, but I thought I would throw it in for those who might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by Twitter.”

    Nice explanation! I think it’s well explained.
    Actually Twitter can be overwhelming, when I first joined it or thought about joining, I had heard of it but had no idea what was its purpose or how it worked. I actually went into YT and looked for an explanatory video *blushes*.

    On Twitter, you can also “save searchs” and the word/words will appear in the right sidebar, when you click on it, it will show you all the tweets with that/those word/words, as if you had written it in the search bar.
    I use it to find tweets with Richard Armitage, because not everyone puts the # (tag) before his name.

    OML :)

  4. @OML,

    Thanks. Yep, the saved searches are great.

    For anyone wondering, no, others cannot see what you have as saved searches. Only the profile page is visible to others.

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