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Twitter is a system that lets you send short messages (known as tweets) out on to the internet, these short messages can then be read by anyone on the internet who is on twitter, or looking at your website . Twitter has 175 million registered users (as of Mar 31, 2011) and 200 million tweets are sent a day (as of June 30th, 2011.) Twitter is not a force to be ignored.
Your account has already been set-up for you, below is some more information regarding your Twitter profile page, the information here is important as it can help people to find you on Twitter.
Twitter Profile Page
To get to the profile page after you have signed in you just have to go click on your username in the top right corner and choose 'Settings'. I have already filled in the information below as a starting point but I have included these guidelines in case you want to change any of the information, the different options below:
As this is a new account by default there will be an egg in the display picture, It is best to upload your own image, in this case the Scrapstore logo would be ideal though it has been known that pictures that have a person in them do often work better as they show the person behind the tweets, I would say that a logo would be fine.
The location is important as it allows other users to see where you are and allow them to find you if they are looking for people in a specific area, it is best to include a city, county, and country in the location i.e. St Austell, Cornwall, UK
Here you can enter the web address for the Cornwall Scrapstore website, this is important as people want to find out a bit more about you they will often click on the website link.
This is a place to tell other users why they should follow you, there is a limit of 160 characters and the bio is important for being found in searches. You should maximise the number of keywords and words associated with the organisation here so that you appear when people search for you. I have included a keyword heavy description to get you going.
Now to actually using Twitter, Twitter works on a basis of followers, you can follow people and people can follow you. You follow people who you are interested in and other people who are interested in you follow you.
Generally you should only follow people that you find interesting, it could be other Scrapstores around the country, the Cornwall council, it can be who ever you like on twitter. When you follow someone any time they tweet something you (and all of there other followers) will see that message on your page. This is a good method to stay up to date with what people are doing or get the latest news from an company / organisation.
Selecting users to follow is a bit like choosing the channels to include in a television subscription
When people follow you the 'subscribe' to you, so whenever you tweet about anything all of your followers will see it.
To post an update to Twitter (a tweet) you just need to go to your homepage (sign in and click 'Home') and just enter your message into the ' What's happening?' box (the message can only be 140 characters long) and then press the Tweet button.
A lot of new users to Twitter do struggle to think of what to post initially, the best advice is to see what other people post, especially in your case other scrapstore's from around the country (currently you are following 3 others who seem to actively tweet about what they are doing.)
In Tweets you can reference other Twitter users in your messages, this makes the message appear in there stream (the messages they receive.) and allows you to communicate with other people / organisations.
Any tweet that has a word (the word is another persons Twitter account name) prefixed by the @ symbol is referencing or messaging another member, these messages are either directed to or referencing the other person.
For instance to send a message to Leap saying hello would be: “Hello @leapteam how are things in the studio?”
This will be a public message so everyone could see it but it is directed to leapTeam and it will appear in leapTeam's stream. LeapTeam would then be able to reply by prefixing a message with @Corn_Scrapstore i.e. “@Corn_Scrapstore things are good, thanks” which would then be a message that goes out to everyone and also appears in your stream.
You can also talk about someone else on Twitter, or include them in a message that they might find interesting by referencing there account, basically you do the same thing (using an @ symbol) but you do it in the body of the message. i.e. “We want to thank @leapteam for there work on the website.”
Direct Messages (DM)
Direct messages are a way to send private messages to people on Twitter, THIS IS NOT ADVISED as simply misspelling the code slightly will mean the message is public and anyone will be able to read it.
To send a private message you start the message with a 'd' and then you need a space ' ' and then the user name 'leapteam', if you don't have the space then it won't work and the message will be public. 'd leapteam message here'
Direct messages should not be used a sa means to share sensitive information.
Hash Tags (#)
Hash tags can be used to put your message into a group that people who are also looking at that group will be able to see. All you need to do is put a hash (#) and the name for the tag (#food, #scraptore, #leap). For instance if someone was on Dartmoor and tweeted about the lovely view there tweet may go something like this:
“Absolutely lovely view on Dartmoor this morning am going to get some lovely pictures up here #dartmoor”
And then anyone who is watching for the tag #dartmoor, will see that tweet on there screen.