What’s it for?
Twitter is often misunderstood as a microblogging service for all of us to tell the world what we are currently cooking for dinner. But it is primarily a way to read the latest news and gossip. By searching for subjects, you can get very fast information on breaking news stories and personal viewpoints that might never make the mainstream media. Of course, it’s also incredibly subjective so you need to be able to mentally ‘triangulate’ lots of different tweets to arrive at the consensus.
How do you get started?
Go to twitter.com and sign up for a free account. In the search bar, type subjects you are interested in to see what people are tweeting. Twitter is an ephemeral service, so most tweets will only be a few hours old at most. If you click on the name of any of the tweeters, you’ll jump to their profile page where you can click the ‘Follow’ button. This subscribes you to all of their tweets from now on and they will show up on your Twitter home page.
How do I tweet?
If you have something to say, you can either text your message to 86444 or type it in the ‘What’s happening?’ box on the website. If you click ‘reply’ on a tweet or begin one with @ and their Twitter name, it will only be visible to that person and anyone that follows both of you. If you include a # symbol before a word in a tweet, other users can search for that word to find your tweets.
On Your Phone
Messages on Twitter are limited to 140 characters because the service is designed to be used from mobile phones. Text the word START to 86444 if you are on Orange, 02, Vodafone or 3 (send it to +447624800379 for all other phone companies) and follow the instructions. On the website you can click the phone icon next to the people you follow and their tweets will be texted to you. If you have a smart phone you can download Twitter apps that will connect directly to your account via the internet.
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