Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Guide to Twitter and Tweetchats- Part I

In anticipation of the new #gyncsm chat in September I will be writing posts that will provide a short guide to Twitter and tweetchats.

What is Twitter?  How do I get a Twitter account?
Twitter is an online social networking site.  People who use Twitter write text messages known as “Tweets”. There is a limit of 140 characters for each tweet.

If you don’t have a twitter account just go to to set up one. You will be asked to choose a twitter name and a password. People follow me on twitter at @womenofteal.  You are asked to fill in a profile so you may add a brief description of yourself and your interests. Remember everything you post on Twitter will be out there for the entire “tweetersphere” to read. The default setting on Twitter is Public. In other words anyone even if they don’t have a Twitter account can read what you wrote. You can set up a protected account but you have to approve each and every one of your followers and your tweets and comments are not visible to those you haven’t approved. Check out the Help Center pages of Twitter for how to set up an account.

Once you have an account you can follow the tweets of people, companies and organizations you are interested in. You can browse categories or search for the name of the person or company you want to follow. Once you find their Twitter page just click on the blue “Follow”.

On your Home page you will see tweets by the accounts you follow. On your @connect page you will see tweets you are mentioned in, when your tweets are favorited and when your tweet is retweeted (more about that later). On the #Discover page you will see tweets tailored to what topics/ people you follow. On the Me page you see all the tweets you have sent. From your Me page you can send a private message to people you follow, see how many people follow you, change your profile, etc.

You can browse through tweets in the feed on your Home or Discover pages. But what if you see something that interests you or someone asks a question that you want to answer?
If you want to make a comment or answer a question you just hit “reply” in the original tweet.
Remember only 140 characters are allowed and that includes the characters in the account name you are replying to.

Twitter seems at times to have its own vocabulary..  What if you want to share an interesting tweet with those that follow you? Just click on retweet in the original tweet.  RT  will appear in the body of the tweet you post.
What if you want to share a tweet but you want to comment or add to it?
You use MT (ModifiedTweet) in the body of your tweet. This abbreviation lets others know that you changed the original tweet. When would you want to do this? I use it if I want to add a hashtag or comment and/or when I exceed the 140 characters.

Hashtag # ? What is #? A hashtag is a topic people add to their tweets. I post many things with #ovca which stands for ovarian cancer. If I go to the search box and put in #ovca I will see what others are sharing about ovarian cancer. When Superstorm Sandy hit my state last year I would follow #Sandy to see tweets about the electric grid, gas lines, recovery efforts, donation sites etc.

The hashtag #gyncsm stands for Gynecologic Cancer Social Media. If you search that hashtag you will see what others are posting about gynecologic cancers.. You can add information, share links, and be part of the community of women diagnosed with gynecologic cancers ( ovarian, endometrial , uterine, vulvar, GTC, fallopian tube, primary peritoneal). We also invite their families, caregivers and health care providers to join the conversation.  On the second Wednesday of the month the community will meet at the same time 9pm EST to discuss different topics. More about how that will work in a future post. 

I hope you to see your tweets at #gyncsm. 

Every Day is a Blessing!


Facing Cancer Together said...

A great explanation. We're going to share it on Twitter, but it also feeds over to our Facing Cancer Together page. ~Catherine

Dee said...

I'm glad you find it useful. Thanks for sharing it.