I found this article on CIO.com and wanted to share it with those of you struggling to understand Twitter (trust me, I am trying to educate myself, too). It was written by C.G. Lynch, and published February 03, 2009. I have condensed it below:
“Twitter remains a very nascent social network, so if you don’t know how it works or what it does (or you haven’t even heard of it), don’t feel bad. In fact, you’re still in the majority. Twitter is a free service that allows users to publish short messages of 140 characters or less. These messages are read by “followers” — people who make a conscious decision to subscribe to your messages and have them delivered to their own Twitter home pages. Each message you post is known as a “Tweet.”
Do You Belong on Twitter? The Wild West view of social networks proposes that you should just try them out and see whether or not you like them. But in a world where most people already belong to existing social networks, allocating time for another outlet should be considered carefully. Think about why do you want to do it. Twitter should be place where you want to share common interests. People in a particular industry often use Twitter to keep up with news, opinion and happenings in their field, for example. When you go to Twitter to sign up, it says, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” The best way to make the most use of it is not just answer what are you doing now. Instead, answer: ‘What’s important to me?’ That changes the conversation and makes value.
How to Sign Up for Twitter:
1. Twitter.com Click on the “Join the Conversation” button in middle of the page.
2. Fill out basic information. This will include your full name, preferred user name, password and e-mail address.
3. See if your friends are on Twitter.
4. Twitter will suggest some people for you to follow as well. Check to see if anyone of them are relevant.
5. Setting up your profile. Click on “settings” in the upper right hand corner of your Twitter home page. You’ll be brought to a tab-based menu that helps you build your profile and adjust settings.
6. Fill in the fields. Of particular importance is the “one line bio” under the “Account” tab. You have 160 characters to present yourself to the Twitter community.
7. Start looking for followers and people to follow.
Go ahead. Dip your toes into the water. A little birdie told me to take the plunge, and I’m glad I did.