You've heard all the ruckus about Twitter, but never really got what it was all about. You watch TV every night and see all those words prefaced by "#" at the bottom of the screen and can't figure out why they are there. This article is for you.
Twitter, beloved by the news media, celebrities, sports stars and politicians, is planning to go public with an IPO that could raise $1 billion. But in documents filed related to those plans, Twitter disclosed that its audience base is at about 218 million monthly active users. That's smaller than Facebook's 1.1 billion or Google+, which has 500 million registered users.
Much of that, analysts say, is because Twitter is a harder nut to crack for many people. So, for today, let's take a good look at 10 ways to use Twitter effectively:
1. Sign up
Go to twitter.com, register and select a screen name. Your new Twitter name will be prefaced with an @ sign. As in, I'm @jeffersongraham. Add it to your e-mail signature so people know to find you on Twitter.
2. Find People To Follow
Twitter is nothing until you start building a network of folks you're interested in hearing from. Are you a news junkie? Start by getting the news feeds from your favorite news organization, whether that be USA TODAY, CNN, the BBC or TheCincinnati Enquirer. Then go deeper, by following individual reporters as well. Most post not only their own latest updates, but also tidbits and news bites from elsewhere on the Web. Beyond the news, check out your favorite friends, athletes, politicians, musicians, comedians, movie and TV stars. But a word of caution there. Most of the famous folk hire staff to pen their posts, known as tweets. Comedians are the exception: Steve Martin, Bill Maher, Albert Brooks and others have turned the quick quip into fine art.
3. Write Up a Bio
Let people know about you, with a short, one sentence blurb about yourself, whether that be that you are the CEO of MyCompany, sales associate for MyRealEstate or a Seattle mom with thoughts on hauling kids. And be sure to include a photo, because a photo is associated with your posts in the Twitter feed. If you don't add the photo, an image of a little egg in a yellow box will show up in your tweets instead.
4. Write in 140 Characters
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