What To Do When You’re New on Twitter

“I’m new on twitter.”  That’s one of the many statements people tweet when they first start out on twitter.  If you’re coming from Facebook or any other social networking site, twitter might be confusing at first or perfectly clear.

You might compare to what you’re used to at those other sites or you might not compare at all because you’re absolutely new to twitter and social networking on the web.

My first reaction to twitter was comparable to some of the following statements and because I came from Facebook where I converse with family and friends, it was hard to start communicating with, well, the whole world.  I definitely felt like a fish out of water.  Here are some common feelings/announcements:

  • What’s this twitter?
  • I don’t get it
  • I need followers
  • Anybody there?
  • Please follow me
  • This is stupid
  • This is lame
  • on and one and on…

By default, Facebook forces people to invite or be invited by people you might know.  There is no following everyone you want to.  You have to add people as a friend and wait for their reply to add you as a friend.  But on twitter, you can find anyone you want and follow them and everyone else can also find you and follow you.  And you all don’t have to follow each other.  In other words, you can follow folks who will never follow you and vice versa.

So if you’re new to twitter, it’s definitely an open world, unless you protect your updates in your twitter Settings page.  Which begs the question, “Why are you on twitter?”  But that’s for another article.

Here are some things to think about (mindset) and do, when you’re starting out on twitter.

1. Twitter is a stream – Twitter is a stream of tweets by many different people from all over the world.  Whether you’re tweeting about family and friends, TV shows, or your favorite food, or all of that, twitter means many different things to many different people.  If you’re new on twitter, just sit back and take some time to read.  How?  Read on.

2. Reading the stream – When you joined twitter, I’m assuming you came to the main twitter.com page and signed up.  If so, here’s a run down of a few things to look at on the main twitter.com page after you’ve logged in.

Look to the right-hand side of the page and you’ll see a Trending Topics area.

Twitter Trending Topics

Click on one of the topics that might interest you.  Now your page of twitter messages will show tweets about that topic.

So if you clicked on the first topic “Happy Star Wars Day”, your twitter stream of messages will include just those tweets about “Happy Star Wars Day”.  You can save that to your sidebar “Saved Searches” list. Which brings me to…

3. Searching Twitter – Here’s another way to figure out what to do on twitter when you’re new.  Are you interested in cooking?  Maybe cooking pasta?  Or any other topic?

Let’s do a search using the search box in the sidebar to the right of the twitter.com main page.  Enter “cooking pasta” with double quotes and you’ll see all the tweets with the phrase “cooking pasta” in them.

Twitter search on cooking pasta

At this point, you could read through some of the tweets and if anyone looks interesting you could send them a response.  Let’s say PastaPatty was a twitter name and PastaPatty just tweeted about “I’m cooking pasta for dinner”.  You could send PastaPatty a message like (without the double quotes):

“@PastaPatty  Sounds delicious.  Care to share your recipe?”

So the @ (at) sign will send this message to PastaPatty.  This is not a direct message where only you and PastaPatty can see.  Other people who follow you will be able to see the message and it could show up in a search for people who are searching on any of those words in your tweet to PastaPatty.  Again, assuming you DON’T have your updates protected.  Note: PastaPatty is fictitious.  I don’t think a twitter accounts has been created with that username.   🙂

Twitter search on pasta recipes

You could also tweak the “cooking pasta” search to “pasta recipes”.  That way, you actually might find some pasta recipes.  In both cases, you might want to consider following some of the folks you find in your search if you want to establish a relationship with them or just watch what they have to say.

That’s it!!  Go and play!!  If you liked this article please retweet it with the button below.  I appreciate your support.

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