How to Tweet
You don't have to tweet to get value from Twitter, but it can be a lot of fun. Ready to join the conversation? It's time to dive in and start composing tweets of your own.
Watch this video to learn how to tweet.
Having trouble with the 140-character limit? TweetDeck allows you to compose longer tweets that include a link for people to read the rest.
Similar to forwarding something you received in an email, Twitter's retweet feature—often abbreviated as RT—allows you to repost other people's tweets so your other followers can read them too.
Some Twitter users like to create the effect of a retweet while adding comments of their own. To do this, just copy and paste the original tweet into your update and identify the original poster by including RT and their user name (for example, @triangledotcom) at the beginning of it.
Including links in your tweets—also known as URLs—can use up your 140 characters pretty quickly. Twitter will automatically remove the beginning (http://www.) when you share a link, but sometimes this may not be enough. Popular sites like bit.ly and TinyURL.com can help by taking full-length URLs and making them shorter—as little as 20 characters long. For example, the link to the tutorial you're viewing right now, http://www.gcflearnfree.org/twitter101, can be shortened to http://bit.ly/dQn9l0. That's almost half the characters, yet both of the links go to the same site.
Twitter is a great tool for connecting with others, but once you begin following people and writing tweets of your own keeping up with the flow of information can feel overwhelming. The @Connect tab allows you to stay connected with your followers and keep track of conversations.
The Interactions buttons in the left navigation pane provides a custom timeline that will let you know whenever someone favorites one of your tweets, mentions your user name, retweets a post, or begins following your tweets.
If you click the Mentions button in the left navigation pane, you will see if anyone has mentioned you on Twitter recently. The stream of updates on Twitter can move quickly, so it's easy to overlook a tweet that was addressed to you or lose the thread of a conversation all together. The Mentions tab keeps all of your mentions and conversations in one place.
Conversation is a big part of Twitter for some users. By now, you've probably noticed that Twitter user names are always preceded by the @ symbol, also known as an @Mention. When you mention someone's user name on Twitter, it's simply a way of referencing that person, perhaps to start (or continue) a conversation, cite that individual in an update, or copy him or her as you would in an email. It's easy to have a short conversation on Twitter using the @Mention feature and Twitter's built-in conversation tools.
To curate a longer conversation on Twitter, you can use Storify, which allows you to pull together a list of tweets and other social media to create a "story."
As Twitter becomes an increasingly popular social network, more and more websites are offering ways for you to share what you discover with your followers. This practice is commonly referred to as social integration. If you've ever seen a button that says Tweet next to a photo on Flickr, video on YouTube, or article on a news site, you've seen an example of social integration. You can even tweet about this tutorial by clicking the Tweet button right above this paragraph!
Sharing takes a different form on every website—maybe a button, maybe a link. Just look for it wherever you find photos, videos, or articles you want to share with your followers.
Sharing photos on Twitter used to be complicated, but today it's as easy as adding a picture to your profile. You can upload a photo from your computer to any tweet and share it with all of your followers.
You can quickly access the images you upload on your profile page.
While you cannot upload a video directly to Twitter from your computer, you can share videos from popular sites like YouTube.
Although you can't upload videos directly to Twitter, you can still share them with your followers using a variety of third-party sites and apps. Some of of these resources even allow you to log in with your Twitter account. No signup is required!
Resources for uploading your videos:
Telly and TwitLens allow you to log in using your Twitter account. YouTube and Vimeo do not; you must create a separate account.
Direct messages exist in case you ever want to have a private conversation on Twitter. You can find more information about privacy in the second lesson of this course under Before You Sign Up and Privacy Settings.