Here’s the basics of Twitter for our self-guided Introduction to Outreach class. Are you brand new to Twitter? Sign up for an account here (it’s free). Here is a great guide from Mashable (with more information than you could know what to do with), but we’ll start you out with a few FAQs:
- What does RT mean? If you like a tweet, you can retweet it to your followers. Twitter allows you to just retweet a tweet with the press of a button.
- What does MT mean? This is a modified tweet, so used when you change a tweet in someway before retweeting it (eg: MT @someoneawesome: An amazing video of a tornado).
- What are quote tweets? A newer Twitter trend is to tweet as a quote. This allows you to save precious character space and include the entire tweet that you’d like to comment on, or RT. Try this option (also a press of a button) to add more to the conversation at hand.
- What does h/t mean? This means ‘hat tip’ and is a way of pointing out that you were alerted to the info in the tweet by someone else (eg: Today is World Outreach Day! h/t to @someone for reminding me)
- What’s a hashtag? A hashtag (#) is a way of categorizing a tweet. Just add a “#” before any word and you’ve hashtagged it. Use hashtags to get noticed and add followers, to organize tweets by similarity (like for an event), or to just have fun. We will be using the hashtag #SciFund so please add this when tweeting about the class.
As an important thing, you should use Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck is a free app that you can use directly in your browser to manage Twitter and that makes your Twitter experience much easier. Although you can use Twitter without Tweetdeck (or other Twitter management apps), you probably don’t want to. Tweetdeck works just on desktop or laptop computers (that is, there is no Android or iOS version of Tweetdeck).
Next, send your first tweet. Once you are set up with Twitter and Tweetdeck, send a tweet saying hello to me, Jai Ranganathan, (@jranganathan) or Anthony Salvagno (@Thescienceofant). We are two of the people behind SciFund Challenge and we always love to say hello to new science outreach folks! Remember to use the #SciFund hashtag in your tweet.
How do you send a tweet in Tweetdeck? There are a set of icons in the leftmost column, the top one of which is used to send new tweets (see 1 in the image below).
Finally, add a #SciFund column in Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck allows you to highly customize the information that Twitter provides. For example, Tweetdeck allows you to keep track of all tweets about this class. In Tweetdeck (here is a great guide, by the way), create a new column just for #SciFund tweets. You can do that very simply in Tweetdeck, by clicking the magnifying glass icon (that’s for Search) in the left column (the icon is just below the New Tweet icon). Type “#SciFund” (minus quote marks) in the box that opens, and click the blue “Add Column” button at the bottom of the box. See picture below, for illustration. Note, you can make almost anything of interest a separate column.
To get used to Tweetdeck, add a column or two of interest (using the Add Column button from above). Move the columns left and right within Tweetdeck. The point is that you can fully customize Tweetdeck to put the information you need front and center. Once you are ready, you can find your audience using the power of Twitter. Let’s do that now!