Sunday, February 24, 2013

Getting Started on Twitter: Part 2

There is an incredible interest in Twitter, and simultaneously a notable uninterested sigh regarding what the fuss is all about. To give you a chance to participate, I am delivering a series of easy-to-follow instructions to get started in Twitter. Part 1 came last week, and will establish you as an official Tweeter.

On to Part 2...

Step #3: Complete your Twitter profile

After you are logged in to your newly-minted Twitter account, head over to this page:

This is your Twitter profile page, a place to provide some of your basic information and a few photos. This will look and feel much like your Facebook profile, although Twitter's profile information is more basic than Facebook.

  • The Photo is a place for your mugshot, or a recognizable logo. This is equivalent to your photo in Facebook.
  • The Header is much like your cover photo in Facebook. You can put a splash of personality here.
  • Your Name and your Location make you easier to spot for your friends and easier to learn about for new Followers. Fill these in, and be honest.
  • Your Bio may be the most critical piece here. Take a moment to put something interesting here. This helps other Tweeters determine if they want to follow you. Brevity is key; you only get 160 characters to work with.
  • You have a big decision to make on the Facebook section. If you choose, you can configure your Facebook and Twitter to link. Every time you Tweet, Facebook will automatically publish your Tweet on Facebook. I don't recommend this, as it tends to generate a lot of extra "noise" on your Facebook account. Yet if you desire to link they two, click Connect to Facebook to configure. Otherwise just leave this alone.
Why bother completing this Profile section at all? For visibility and recognizability.
  • You will acquire about 10 times the followers if you have a photo over not using a photo. No photo makes you look very fake, and most Twitter users are reluctant to Follow a take account.
  • You will acquire about 8 times the followers if you have a completed bio over an empty bio. The same rules apply: A completed bio shows you are real, and helps your friends know its you.

Fill out that Profile. You will be happy you did.

Step #4: Find people to Follow and Start Reading
Here is where Twitter starts becoming fun. Find people to follow.

Twitter may suggest some folks for you to follow. If you know someone's Twitter handle (remember from before, a Twitter handle is the name someone goes by in Twitter), just type it in the search box near the top-right corner. Or, if you have a good guess of a brand you want to follow, type that.

When you pick a name or brand from the drop-down, you will land on their profile page. (You can see why this profile page was so important to complete.) Find the button marked Follow and click it. Once you are following someone, the Follow button changes to show you that you are following that Twitter user.

There is virtually no limit on who you can follow, at least not right away. To read Tweets from those you are following, you can visit their profile. You can also visit your own "home" page in Twitter, where you will get a NewsFeed of sorts to read that is a compilation of those you follow. Just click Home in the upper-left corner to get back home.

Your Home NewsFeed will start to fill with Tweets from those you follow. It's rather fun. And then watch for Twitter users to follow. Your favorite store, your television news anchor, your sports team and your techie friend down the street all have Tweets for you to read.

If you really run stuck on who to follow, come follow me at @gomattlind. 

That should do for now. I know you want to start Tweeting, to start sending messages out. I have found that reading and following others helps you get started and prepares you better for writing your own Tweets. Just practice reading and following for now, and the Tweeting will come along shortly.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Getting Started on Twitter: Part 1

Twitter...just use the term and some people will jump up and down with excitement while simultaneously grabbing for their smartphone to get the latest updates. Then others will glaze over blankly and wonder what all the fuss is about.

Facebook seems easy enough to use, but Twitter requires just a bit of preparation and a primer on learning the ropes of Twitter. Never fear...I will walk you through this step-by-step.

Twitter allows people to communicate, but in chunks that never exceed 140 characters. It can be rapid fire communication, or very short blogs, or a way to quickly communicate. But the big rule is that no single message can ever exceed 140 characters. are already smarter. Now let's get rolling:

Step #1: Go To and register
Seems logical enough, right. Just point your web browser to Then look for the section labeled New to Twitter? To get started, you will need to input your name, an e-mail address and a chosen password.

Step #2: Pick a Twitter username
Then you will need to select a Twitter username. This can get a little tricky because your Twitter username needs to be 100% unique. While there can be more than one Joe Smith on Facebook, there cannot be more than one @joesmith on Twitter.

And while we're at it, you may be wondering about that @ sign. That generally precedes a username. Whenever you need to use a username, you will always signal that by using the @ sign.
Your Twitter username can only be 15 characters long, but it can include numbers, letters and the underscore symbol. Generally speaking, a shorter username is good, because Twitter when people want to find you, they too only get 140 characters. If they have to "use up" 15 characters just to address you, your messages might get shorter.

And here is your first decision point...your username. Do you use a cute pseudonym or your own real name? It's your call. Using a pseudonym might make you identifiable because your friends are accustomed to seeing your username in a blog, e-mail address, or simply from an embarrassing night in college. In contrast, finding you in a search engine like Google can be easier if you use your real name.

And lastly, you will often hear people talking about Twitter handles. In the Twitter vocabulary, a Twitter username and a Twitter handle are one and the same. Once you have a Twitter username, you have a Twitter handle. Way to go!

I picked @gomattlind as my username/handle. I really wanted the nickname I use for my e-mail address, but it was taken. So I opted for something that was easy to remember, somewhat short at 10 characters, but was also a play on my own name.

Once you register, congratulations. You have been to Twitter's website, you registered, you picked a username, and you have a Twitter handle. You are a officially a Tweeter. That is what a Twitter user is called, a Tweeter.

So go become a Tweeter, then check back and we'll get you moving forward from here.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Unfriend and Unfollow...Who Done It?

The social networks do a fine job of telling you when you have new Friends and Followers. You receive an e-mail, and your mobile phone vibrates and makes a cute noise, and your count increments by one, alleviating and yet simultaneously enabling that 3rd grade fear about how popular you are.

YAY! I have a new friend.


That friend leaves...quietly...discreetly...hoping you won't notice.

The social networks generally won't tell you that you lost a connection. And I defy anyone to quickly notice that one person out of hundreds who quietly disappears from your NewsFeed.

Thankfully, there are some nice tools to help you figure out who left. 

For Twitter...
There is "Who Unfollowed Me" located at this link:

This tool is VERY easy to use. Once you arrive, just click the big orange button at the top, then the magic begins. With your permission, this tool will begin tracking who has left you from that point onward. During subsequent visits, you will see who has left, and you can look at some helpful information exposing if this is a 2-way following, or just 1-way.

For Facebook...
There is Unfriend Finder located at this link:

This one requires some additional installation, but it is fairly easy as well. You will end up with some additional buttons integrated neatly into your Facebook page which will help you spot friends who have left, or those who simply never accepted your Friend request in the first place.

The key thing to understand about both of these tools...they only record your loss on a go-forward basis. In other words, they won't start working until the moment you first use them. This is because you have to let these tools take a look at your Followers and Friends, and only then can the tools determine when someone has left that baseline list.

So give it some time, and then you will have the inside scoop on who is no longer in your merry band of social media connectedness.