Welcome to week 2 of my ‘How To’ blog series.
Last week we talked about Facebook and how to schedule posts so you don’t have to be there every day. If you missed it, hop over and give it a read.
As before, I’m not expert on any of the subjects I’ll be talking about. I just spend a lot of time online and know my way around a few sites and programs so everything you see here will be my experience with these sites. For these ‘tutorials,’ it’ll just be my interpretation of what I’ve seen and done.
This week I’m going to tackle the site that confuses the most people. Twitter. As long as its been around, there are still those that don’t know how to use it or why. The “140 characters” requirement trips everyone up and once they do figure out how to say it all within those constraints, they don’t know what to do beyond posting whatever it is they want to post.
Twitter is a great tool – if used correctly. Like any other ‘social media’ site, its main purpose is to connect you with like-minded individuals and provide you a platform to…well, be social. This means talking to readers, authors, bloggers, etc. Filling your Twitter stream with nothing but links and ‘advertisments’ is a sure fire way to get someone to unfollow you or…put you in an ‘ignore’ list. You want to interact with people and Twitter is a great way to do that.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter allows you to post anything you wish, as long as you say it with 140 characters, which isn’t always an easy thing to do. Characters are ‘spaces’…so if you’re including a web link, every letter and space counts, so you have to choose your words wisely and shrink your URLs with a site like Bitly or Ow.ly. (I use Bitly for this. No reason why other than its the first one I found. It manages all your links and shows you how many people clicked on a specific link. I don’t know if Ow.ly does this or not as I’ve never used it, but I would image it does.)
The set up of Twitter is pretty simple. You have your ‘home page’, where everyone you’ve friended shows up similar to the Facebook Newsfeed. From here you can see everything your friends have posted. You can also respond, re-tweet or ‘favorite’ their tweets.
If you’re like me, you have hundreds of friends and that list of tweets can get a bit overwhelming and is the biggest turn off for most new users. They’re lost in a sea of Tweets and give up before really learning how to use the site. But there’s a way to manage all those friends and that’s with the help of “Lists.” Every user should take advantage of lists for no other reason than to save their sanity. Take a look below and I’ll show you how to use this feature.
On your profile page, right under the banner image, you’ll see a MORE tab. That is where we’ll start building your lists.
Click on that tab, then on Lists.
From here, you can set up your lists. I have mine in a few managable catagories. Western authors, publishers & blogs, indie authors, readers, etc. You can name your lists anything you want and group people where they’ll be easy for you to find. To create a new list, just click the Create New List on the right hand side of the page and you’ll get a pop up box that looks like this:
Just type in the name of your new list, a description if you want, then the privacy of the group. I keep mine set to private for the most part but you can show them if you wish. Once you have your list named, click save list and you’re done. Create as many as you want/need to manage all your new twitter friends.
Once you get all your lists made, its time to put everyone in their proper place. Now this is a time consuming process if you already have hundreds of friends so I suggest placing new friends in a catagory when you follow them. It just makes life easier in the long run.
To put someone in a list, just go to their profile page, and you’ll see a ‘cog’ wheel underneath their banner image. Click on that and it’ll bring up a text box with a lot of different options. You want the “Add or remove from list…” option.
Click on that and you’ll get another pop up box with all those neat little lists you created earlier.
Just ‘check’ which list you want them under and click the X in the upper right hand corner and you’re done. You can also create new lists from this page as well. Just click “Create a list” at the bottom of that box, name your new list and you’re done.
You can also do this from your own page. Click on “Following” from your profile page and you’ll get a list of everyone you follow. Again, click the ‘cog’ wheel by their name, then “Add or remove from lists”…and the pop up box asking where you want them will pop up. (This is the best way to do it, in my opinion, especially if you have a lot of Twitter friends.)
Once you have everyone where you want them, it will be easier to see exactly what you want to see. If you just want to read the tweets from the ‘western authors’ for example, just go back to the MORE tab on your profile, click on LISTS to bring up all the lists you created…
…and click on the one you want. Everyone you put into that catagory will show up for you.
If you want to read another list, look to the left of the tweets and you’ll see all your lists named. Just click the one you want to see and read just those tweets.
I rarely read anything from the main homepage. It moves too fast and it gets so overwhelming, it takes the fun out of the site, so if you want to make things simple, just create some lists, put your favorite Tweeps in there and read without getting lost.
There’s a few sites out there that will help you manage your Twitter pages and those are Tweepi and Tweetdeck. Tweepi lets you see all your followers, who you’re following and enables you to manage all those people. Tweetdeck is a multi-list application that allows you to see all your lists at once, side by side. I’ll go over those next week and show you how to set up and use them. For now, go get your Lists created and start putting your Tweeps into easily managable catagories. You’ll be glad you did!
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About Lily Graison
Lily Graison lives in the foothills of North Carolina with her husband, two high-strung Yorkies, more cats than she can count. First published in 2005, she is the author of over a dozen published books in the Western, Contemporary and Paranormal Romance genres.
When not writing, Lily can be found at her sewing machine creating 1800’s period clothing or participating in civil war reenactments and area living history events. When not portraying a southern belle, you can find her at a nearby store feeding her obsession for all things resembling office supplies.
To see the dresses Lily has created, visit her Pinterest page.
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