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How to use Twitter

Something new has happened online and if you're not part of it, you're missing out. The new trend I'm referring to is Twitter.

Welcome to How To Use Twitter! Before we get into the detail let me make one thing very clear! Twitter is a way of connecting with other people who share your interests or who might be interested in what you have to say. Twitter is free to join and you can get set up with an account in a matter of just a few minutes.

Twitter has two main components. Just like social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook, you can add "followers" and follow other people as well. They'll receive your updates and you'll receive theirs.

What is unique is that your messages are limited just to 140 characters, which is why some people call it a "microblogging" tool. You have to keep your messages brief and to the point... these are called 'tweets'!

How To Tweet - How To Post on Twitter

First, there's a regular post. When you type in a message to Twitter and hit "update" it will be viewable by all the people who are following you.

The next type of post is a reply. When you type in a regular message, people may reply to your post. You'll see your user name with the symbol @ before it when someone replies to your message. You can respond to other people the same way. You simply type @ and then their user name directly after that. Replies are viewable by everyone who is following you or the other person you are replying to.

Finally, there' a direct message. If you want to send a private message to someone that no one else can see, you can send a direct message. To do so, simply type the letters dm with the person's user name. You'll receive messages from others on a special page of Twitter and be notified via e-mail when someone direct messages you.

All social networking sites have a certain etiquette that you need to follow, and Twitter is no different. Before you commit a Twitter faux-pas be sure to keep these rules in mind:

* Don't be a spam twit. When you post nothing but your blog posts, or posts to your other sites, your followers will lose interest fast. Don't spam your followers. Be sure to talk about something other than yourself so that you don't come across as a spammer.

* Respond to all replies. When someone replies to your message, make sure to respond to them to let them know you got their message. Since messages move so fast on Twitter, especially when you have a lot of followers, it can be difficult to keep up with replies. Fortunately, Twitter has a handy function that will track your replies for you. However, do keep in mind that if your replies start to become overly personal tone, make sure to use the dm function. You don't want to clutter up your follower's update feeds with your personal prejudices, opinions or rants!

* Don't use all caps in your updates. This is one of those general online etiquette tips that applies to Twitter as well.

* Check in from time to time with your account. Don't start a Twitter account only to check in with it every few days or once a week. Make it a part of your daily routine so you can connect with your followers.

* Don't post the same link more than once. If people are really interested in your blog and your links, they'll visit it the first time you post it. You don't need to post your link multiple times.

to join Twitter just go to www.twiter.com

Our Twitter page is www.twiter.com/bartonleclayorg .... see you there!

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