Your Twitter feed (what you see on your "Home" screen) is like an ongoing chat amongst the people you follow. Just follow along and join in!
Choosing People to Follow
The key to get going is choosing people to follow. The more people you follow, the more conversation there is. A good place to start is right here where you have a list of people with at least one interest that’s the same as yours. To find more, you can check out who the people you are following are following, or do a search for topics that interest you.
To create a tweet, just type away, up to 140 characters. Anyone who is following you will see it. These may or may not be people that you follow.
If you want to respond to someone directly, use the “Reply” option on the tweet to which you want to respond. A reply will begin with that user’s handle. For example, if you are replying to me, the tweet will start with “@colcalli”. This tweet will now show up not only in my Twitter feed, but also be highlighted in my “mentions” feed so that I don’t miss it. The only other people who will see this tweet in their feed are people who follow both you and me.
Mentioning Others or @
Because there are so many people “talking” at once, the best way to get your tweet to the people you want to see it is by including their handle in your tweet. For example: “I get so much support from the great members of @tudiabetes.” This will show in @tudiabetes “mention” feed, whether they follow you or not.
ReTweet or RT
If you see a tweet of someone else that you want to share with your followers, just retweet or RT it. A retweet begins with “RT” and is followed by the original tweeter’s handle to give them credit, and then the content of their tweet. Because you’ve added the RT at the beginning, now all your followers will see that tweet, not just the ones that already follow the person you are retweeting.
Direct Message or D
Use D or direct messaging when you want to tweet something to someone for only he or she to see. You can only direct message someone that you follow and that follows you.
Hashtag or #
You will notice the use of # a lot in Twitter. This is called a hashtag. Using a hashtag can give context to a tweet that might not otherwise make sense. It also links all
tweets with the same hashtag together. For example, if you see #diabetes in a tweet, click on “#diabetes” and you’ll be brought to all the tweets that have that hashtag. This is another great way to find followers.
#bgnow and #bgwed
A specific hashtag you will see often in the diabetes community is #bgnow. There’s lots of tweeting of people’s blood sugar readings using this hashtag on any given day. Wednesday’s however, are particularly active and also include #bgwed.
Tips for @ and #
Something to keep in mind when you type someone’s handle or use a hashtag - don’t leave any spaces between the “@” or the “#” and the words they precede. Precise spelling is also crucial. Capitalization is not important.
There are several ways to post pictures including “twitpic”. When you use this application to upload a picture, it will allow you to personalize a tweet to accompany a link to your picture.
There's lots more to using Twitter, but these are the core "rules" to get you started. Here are some other handy references: