Thursday, February 14, 2019

A 2019 Guide to Twitter

I wrote my first  Guide to Twitter and Tweet Chats in August 2013 prior to the first #gyncsm (Gyn Cancer Social Media ) chat. This post updates that information and is in line with the current layout and usage of Twitter.

What is Twitter?  How do I get a Twitter account?
Twitter is an online social media networking site.  People who use Twitter write text messages known as “Tweets”. In 2017, Twitter raised the character limit from 140 characters to 280 characters for each tweet.
Go to to set up an account. You will be asked to choose a twitter name and a password. People follow me on twitter at @womenofteal.  You will be asked to fill in a profile so you may add a brief description of yourself and your interests. Remember the default setting on Twitter is Public, so anything you post on Twitter will be public and available to the entire “tweetersphere”. In other words anyone, even if a person does not 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. In this case your tweets and comments are only visible to those you have 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 “Follow” button.
What is on my Home Page?
On your Home page you will see tweets by the accounts you follow and in the column on the right side you will find suggestions of who to follow and current trends. On the menu on the top of the page you will see a house (your home page), a # (trending hashtags), a bell (notifications), an envelope (direct messages),  a search box and your photo with your name ( links to your profile page).  
On the # page you will see the trending hashtags in the country you reside. You will also see current news tweets as well tweets from categories based on who you follow. In my case I see Health Care News. 

If you click on the bell icon you will be brought to your notifications page. This page will show you all tweets in which your handle was used including tweets that were "loved" and retweeted. The mentions column shows all tweets that replied to one of your tweets. 

When you click on the envelope icon you are brought to the message page. On this page you can message a person privately. The person you are messaging has to follow you in order to have the message system work.

What is a hashtag ?
A hashtag is a word or phrase( no spaces) preceded by a # that identifies a topic. I post many things with #ovca which stands for ovarian cancer and #gyncsm ( gyn cancer social media). 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 invite patients, survivors, families, caregivers, researchers,  and health care providers to join the conversation.  On the second Wednesday of the month the community will meet at the same time 9pm ET to discuss different topics.
Basic Tweeting:
What if I want to send a Tweet to my followers?  
On the lower right of the Twitter page you will see a blue oval with a +, a feather quill and the word Tweet.  Click on that button and a blue box will appear and asks "What's Happening". Click in the box and start typing. At the bottom right you will see a + . When you click on that you may add a photo ( mountain icon), gif, or a poll ( bar chart icon) to your Tweet. 
What if I want to reply to what someone wrote in a Tweet? 
Click the talk bubble on the bottom left of the Tweet and type what you want to say. A list of who you are replying to appears above the area where your text appears.

What if I want to share an interesting Tweet with those that follow me? 
Just click on the clockwise arrows (second icon from the left) at the bottom of the original tweet.  A box will appear that lists the options Retweet, Retweet with Comment, or Cancel. Retweet will share the original tweet. Retweet with Comment allows you to write text including hashtags and by clicking on the + at the bottom of the Tweet allow you to add a photo ( mountain icon), gif, or a poll ( bar chart icon) to the original Tweet.

What is on my profile page? 
Your profile page includes a cover photo as well as a profile photo along with a short bio.  The menu bar shows Tweets, Tweets and Replies, Media ( those Tweets which include photos or video) and Likes ( the Tweets of others that you liked by clicking on the heart ).

What are lists? 
A Twitter list is a group of Twitter accounts that is curated. I own a few different lists which are groups which I created of accounts that are related to specific topic. You can add to an account to a  list when you follow an account. I have a list for cancer centers which is public but I also have a few private lists for important contacts, cancer doctors etc.
Now you are all set to join Twitter.  I hope you to see your tweets at #gyncsm. 
Every Day is a Blessing!

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