You know…chicks! As in: those with recently-hatched accounts who still have their downy fluff (or is it fluffy down?), are ‘cheeping’ as opposed to fully-fledged tweeting, and still awkwardly stumbling around in
the nest Twitter land.
See – chicks!
Or to be more specific – this chick! *points to self*
So now that we’ve got that sorted: fellow chicks and
unhatched thinking-about-joining folk, feel free to gather ‘round for a few basic tips and explanations I’ve picked up along the way.
When starting out with a new Twitter account, you’re on your own. No one knows you’re there, but the general idea is to start saying stuff anyway.
See that compose button? If you click on that, you have 140 characters available in which you can announce things… to yourself. That’s right! You say things, and they just float out there into the whatchamacallit.
Imagine wandering out into the street. It’s dark and deserted.
You: *clears throat* “I did THIS today!”
To mix things up a bit, you might try something different.
You: “Look at what THIS person did today!” *points at newspaper you’ve carried out into the dark street with you*
Crickets: “chirp chirp” *tumbleweed rolls by*
See? That’s tweeting. Announcing stuff, saying things and sharing tidbits of information.
There’s no guarantee anyone will hear them but if you like the sound of crickets, it’s all good.
very strange talking to yourself a bit lonely? Just click on the search button and find other people that are also saying stuff – preferably with similar interests to you. You may still be talking to yourself (or letting out the odd half-hearted “cheep” now and then), but by adding people to follow you can creep in on read what they’re saying about…things.
Just a word of warning: Try not to develop click-and-follow-frenzy. Yes, people are saying things! Things that interest you! Just try to stay cool. You’ll get suggestions on people to follow, and if you’re clicking in a highly-excitable fashion and following all willy-nilly, Twitter will think you’re a 12 year old girl and recommend Justin Bieber (ps thanks, Twitter – that was awesome of you).
Still not sure about following?
Imagine you are at, say, a supermarket, and someone ahead of you picks up your favourite brand of muesli. Keeping a safe distance, you wander behind them – waiting for their thoughts on the benefits of muesli. Or a recommendation on a new type of muesli. Or an announcement that there is a special on!
That kind of thing.
Which brings us to…
If you’re feeling brave, you repeat their muesli announcement. Word for word – making sure it’s said loudly enough for them to hear (you might even nod to each other in acknowledgement).
Making sense? OK let’s look at it in a different way:
Do you have siblings, and if so, did you ever play that game where you just repeat what the other said? Well, in the land of Twitter, the childhood game of Copycat is encouraged with a retweet!
Someone just said stuff that’s pretty awesome? Retweet that stuff!
A bit shy, or don’t have anything to say? Retweet someone else’s stuff!
So basically: sharing someone’s exact words with your own entire zeroes-of-followers.
Which leads nicely onto…
You’ve just announced loudly that muesli is on special, and someone else in the supermarket happened to hear. They’ve popped over a few isles to where you are, had a bit of a subtle squiz at your shopping basket, and basically decided to see what else you might have to say (after-all, savings are savings!).
When it happens, try not to let this exciting event throw you too much.
It may be someone who liked what you had to say, but it could also be someone on their own clicking-and-following frenzy.
Either way, there’s no need to agonise over future tweets for fear of scaring them off.
If until now you’ve just been saying stuff to yourself, it might be time to say stuff to actual other people.
It may feel like you’re butting in on a conversation to add your 2-cents, or answering a random stranger you just happened overhear, but…actually that is what you’re doing…anyhow – on Twitter, it’s OK!
You may even try taking part in an organised chat using hashtags (eg #runchat). Just be prepared for a flurry of
never ending, oh goodness there are so many! tweets. And if you only manage to say a couple of actual things in the space of an hour, that’s OK too (small steps).
Just jump right in and comment. Engage away!
You’ll outgrow your
downy fluff? fluffy down and have feathers in no time.
If someone tweets @you and shares something you wrote, don’t panic (‘what do I do, what’s the etiquette; is there some kind of tweet-speak or secret code?‘).
Once you calm down you’ll realise that a simple thank-you also works in internet land. There’s definitely no need to courtesy, and in fact there is a ‘favourite’ button that you can also use to show your appreciation. Asking fellow
Twitterers / twits / tweeters others is right up there, too (you know, do that ‘engaging thing’ we talked about?). You’ll soon find out they’re a pretty helpful, welcoming bunch.
For anything else, you may wish to Google ‘Twitter 101’ or ‘How to not look like a dick on Twitter’. You know, if you want to…not that I did that or anything. *whistles and walks away*
All cartoons created using the bitstrips facebook app. Additional (poorly Photoshopped) 'chicks' courtesy of Twitter.