November 18, 2012

The Cackling Hen's Guide to Twitter

"Who are you calling a Tweeter?"

My hen friend Kim recently clucked that she didn't understand Twitter. She was asking questions like, "What's a hashtag?" and "Does my iPhone connect to the internet?" Up for the challenge to turn my school brain back on, I took Kimmie under my wing. We had a Twitter class/lunch date to peck over Twitter's uses and purpose and a big lunch. We left full and accomplished, even sending a few tweets from the table. Kimmie is no longer spelling out the word, "hashtag," and although she still says "Tweeter" sometimes, she'll be okay. Here is The Cackling Hen's Starter Guide to Twitter, inspired by Kim.

Twitter can be used on the website ( or on the free mobile app for smart phones. It’s free.

A “tweet” is a message posted on Twitter.

“Tweet” can also be used as a verb. When you post something on Twitter, you are “tweeting.”

“Tweet” is also a noise small birds make. Birds have been tweeting far longer than humans.

Since starting in 2006, Twitter (a social media outlet) has become a really big deal. It is one of the 10 most visited websites in the world and generates over 340 million tweets per day. But before you think that’s too much chirping, don’t stress. It’s estimated that about 70% of tweets go unread. Make yours worth reading!

Twitter is unique because all posts (TWEETS!) are limited to 140 characters. The point it to be to the point (Concise! Succinct! Pithy!)

Unless you set your account as private, all your tweets are PUBLIC! Keep that in mind with every tweet!

Anyone who’s anyone uses Twitter – from celebrities to news outlets, and every friend and business in between. 

You “follow” accounts on Twitter – friends, businesses, news outlets, celebrities, etc. – and all of their tweets will appear on your homepage. It’s effortless, legal, socially accepted stalking.

Twitter users follow you if they want to keep up with what you post! There’s nothing you can do – it’s legal for them to follow you.

The “@” symbol followed by a user name (e.g. @BritneySpears) mentions that person in your tweet.

You can reply to any public tweet. Clicking the reply button automatically mentions that user at the beginning of the tweet. (e.g. Britney Spears tweets that she likes ice cream. You do too. You click “reply” on her tweet and your tweet could look something like this: “@BritneySpears I like ice cream, too.”)

You can see who mentions you or replies to you by clicking the “Connect” button on Twitter. That button also has the “@” symbol on it.

The “#” symbol (called a hashtag) creates a topic or subject on Twitter. Users have gotten creative with hashtags, and many TV programs and celebrities have suggested hashtags to unite followers discussing them. Writing a hashtag (The “#” symbol followed by a word or phrase with no spaces, e.g. “#Olympics or #firstworldproblems) creates a link to all other tweets with the same hashtag. Don’t ask me why it’s called hashtag. 

Good examples of using hashtags

If you’re watching the Olympics, a good hashtag use could be a tweet something like this: “Ryan Lochte’s race just made both of us wet. #Olympics” (remember your tweets are PUBLIC!)

“Just bought a ticket to Hawaii even though I’m still unemployed! #YOLO” 

“I have too many purses to fit in my house. #whitegirlproblems”

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