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Twitter Basics by Rochelle Melander

As we continue our social media summer, I will be taking the next month to talk about the three big social networking sites—Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn—and how you can make use of them as a writer.

So let’s start with Twitter. Twitter is a social networking site with over 500 million users who, according to Wikipedia, generate more than 340 million tweets a day. Holy cow—that’s a lot of tweets!

In order to understand Twitter (or any social media site), you need to sign up. Take some time to watch and listen—and then develop your Twitter strategy. This week, I will give you just the basics for setting up a Twitter profile and searching for information. In the weeks to follow, I will give you more detailed information on who to follow and how to use Twitter as a writer.

How can writers use Twitter? In the few years I have been on Twitter, I’ve found Twitter to be helpful for:

*Learning what is going on in a specific niche or field of study.

*Doing initial market research.

*Asking questions.

*Finding sources for stories and articles.

*Connecting with colleagues and readers.

*Finding information and inspiration.

*Connecting with other writers for encouragement and writing sprints.

*Sharing professional and personal updates.


Set up Your Twitter Profile

*Give yourself a handle that reflects your niche. Claim a moniker like FoodWriterRebekah, ScriptingSally or ExerciseGuruNick.

*Create a 140-word description of who you are and what you do.

*Tell us where you are located (so we know you are a real person and not a robot).

*Provide a link to your website or blog (in case we want more information).

*Post a photo (the egg makes you look like a novice).

*Put up a unique background that reflects you and your writing work.


Start following people. But who? As a writer, think about following:

*Fascinating, intelligent people in your niche.

*Organizations, conferences, and other groups in your niche.

*Your favorite writers.

*Your colleagues.

*Agents and editors.


But what do all those symbols mean?

*When you want to cite someone else or reply to them, use the @ sign before their handle.

*Use the hash tag (#) to get more people to see your tweets. Popular writing hashtags are #amwriting, #wip (work in progress), #wordcount, and #pubtip


I’ll be back next week with more information on how to find people to follow and following etiquette. Until then, I am curious about: What’s your most pressing question about social networking? Leave your question in the comments section below.


Twitter Resources:

*Find out what hashtags mean:

*Find writing hashtags:

*For a handy dandy chart on how to use Twitter, try Mom, This is how Twitter Works 




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