Friday, 11 February 2011

Tips for the Twitter-curious. 9: Last minute 'How To's + the final verdict

Well, hello again.

This is it, the final post in my Tips for the Twitter-curious series. If you've just found me, fear not, you can check out all the previous 'lessons' here and there's no need to feel you've missed anything or need to hurry to 'catch-up' nothing is time-sensitive ... and I don't think Twitter is going anywhere anytime soon and that's where all of your true 'learning' will come from!

For those of you who've been following the classes ... firstly: thank you. Each tweet and retweet, each blog post and blog comment, each Facebook link and Like has meant most appreciated.

I had an inkling that there were enough people out there who'd welcome an easygoing Twitter introduction and so I'm happy to have been proven correct [well, who doesn't like being right?!]. And the fact that many of you really did find it as useful as I hoped has made it so worthwhile!

And ... secondly:

I am so very impressed by how many of you have created new accounts and breathed life into an old one after embracing your inner Twitter-curiousity and following along with the lessons.

I'm so proud of you - and me for that matter!

It'd be nice if I'd been on a commission for every newbie who signed up ... especially as seeing how just yesterday the rumours began that Twitter could be sold to Google or Facebook for around $10billion!

But rather than hold out for that, I'll get on with the task in hand: tying up some loose ends and attempting to address some of the points raised after I tweeted for items to include in this post.

A question of Retweeting

  • I do have a question about retweeting. How do you add text before the RT'd information? I've seen people comment before the RT but haven't been able to figure out how to do that. I'm sure it's super simple and I'm just not seeing it, but this is a whole new world. Rebecca - @This Present Life
My quick answer to this [which I've already tweeted to Rebecca] is that, as far as I know, the only way is to copy and paste the text from the original tweet into a new one. Here's a real Twitter-life example ...

The splendid @kirstyneale posted this:

Which was then copied over into a new tweet by @thegreengal who also added in the additional phrase "V pretty" beforehand:

While easy enough, this method of RTing does involve several more steps than simply hitting the 'Retweet' button.

However, it does have some advantages as, in adding in your own opinion etc with the tweet, it can give your followers a clue as to why you're bothering to RT it, and therefore why they might care to read it. ie. Gabrielle clearly wanted her folowers to know that she found Kirsty's project pretty!

Iif you do give this method a try, make sure to:

  • add the all important letters 'RT' in there - to make it clear they're not your words; plus
  • remember to copy and paste the original tweeter's @ username into your new tweet too, to givecredit to the original author.

A question of shrinking links.
As with all my 'advice' to date ... I have no idea if I do things the easiest, simplest or most appropriate way. I'm just passing on what I do, as that's all I can confidently say works!

  • I need to know how to add long web links if it's poss? Hannah - @whoisHannahB
  • I would like to know how do you put a link to a blogpost with a short lettered link? Nic - @nichohn

Good question and one I'd not thought to cover. But, clearly, when you've only got 140 characters per tweet you don't want to take up the majority of your space with a long URL / link, so you need to shorten it first:

  • There are other places you can go to to shorten URLs but I use the site
  • It's simple. It's free. And I find that web address so memorable and therefore useful!
  • You can sign up for an account with them if you want it to keep a record of the links you've made previously [if you want to find them again] or gather statistics on the number of clicks the links have etc. I have an account - but it's not necessary.

To use

  • Copy the link you want to use;
  • Paste your link into the blue box;

  • Click the 'shorten' button;
  • Copy the new short link it created for you;
  • Paste it into your tweet.

And here's one I made earlier:

[btw: clicking the image above will take you to those intriguingly shaped insoles. If Ijust forewarn you that they're rather suprisingly anatomical in shape ... you can judge for yourself whether or not to clikc on it. Don't say I didn't warn you ...].

A question of the darkside
Way back in Lesson 2 - when I suggested that you should aim to personalise your profile image and background soon after opening your account- I raised the issue of SPAM accounts and how you'll want to reassure people you contact on Twitter that you are genuine. The following suggestion lets me add to those ideas:

  • Maybe put what to do if you receive spam/nasty tweet. K - @Lady_K_Black
When you gain a new follower and you click on their profile to find out more about who they are and why they might have chosen you to follow - if you don't see any regular kind of chatter or conversation in their timeline, or if it simply consists of tweets saying 'Look at this!' with a link ... chances are they're just spammers.

You do not have to have anything to do with them and, in theory, they can't actually get to you in any real way ... however ...
  • If you're not comfortable with them following you - if their content is inappropriate to you and you simply don't want them anywhere near your account you can easily put a block on them or report them;
  • I generally always block accounts which have shiny, well-endowed, ladies in bikinis as their profile photo!
  • Click on the little cog icon in their profile;
  • Then select an option from the drop-down list:

*For the record I'm not unfollowing the above account! It was the least personal account I came to when looking to create the screenshot!*

As for receiving a 'nasty tweet' element ... fortunately this kind of thing hasn't touched me personally, but I do know it can happen and it's definitely worth mentioning . The best place to seek answers on this is on Twitter's own help pages which are situated in a slightly less-than-obvious place!
  • Click on your username in the top right corner;
  • Select 'Help' from the list which drops down;
  • There's a category called 'Report a Violation' which covers lots of tricky situations.
On a brighter note ...
If you still haven't taken the plunge .. that previous paragraph isn't going to move you in the right direction and I'm absolutely refusing to end on that downbeat topic so ....

I'm going to make one last-ditch attempt to persuade you to consider becoming a Twitter-ite. But, after 8 posts on the topic from me, you'll be tired of hearing my voice ... so here's a selection of the many lovely responses there've been to the class: *sitsbackreadytogetallwarmandglowy

  • Hello Twitter world! I'm finally joining in thanks to the #twittercurious e-class with @notesonpaper! So helpful! - Ginger Burns- @gingersburns
  • Thanks for the excellent Twitter tutorial! Slowwwly getting the hang of things. Jenn Hildebrand- @loveamelierose
  • This is the best series I have seen for those who don't (and even some who do) Tweet!!! I will be sharing this on my magazine for sure!!! Rebecca E Parsons - @RebeccaEParsons
  • to tweet or not to tweet. enjoyed this post by julie kirk...for you non-twitter getters, this is for you! Kelly Rae Roberts - @kellyraeroberts

The Final Verdict

Back when I made my opening argument in 'To Tweet or not to Tweet' I said I was making a case for Twitter. And I think I have. and, not only has it not been thrown out of court ... I'm happy to say that for many in the jury ... Twitter has been found not-guilty.

  • Not guilty on the count of being as baffling as once feared;
  • Not guilty on the count of being impenetrable and unmanageable;
  • Not guilty on the count of being a unproductive networking tool;
  • Not guilty on the count of being a pointless, impractical waste of time;
  • Not guilty on the count of being a impersonal, technological way of connecting with friends.

But, if you voted 'guilty' or you're still a Twitter-skeptic ... well, that's fine with me. I won't be barring the doors of my blog to you!

I understand that it really isn't for everyone.

There's a lot of time and attention grabbers out there online and I'm not sure that if someone was hosting a 'tumblr' or 'pinterest'-curious class I'd be on board with it ... even if it was free!

So today .... how about we just let Twitter walk from court a free man and live and let live? And if you have any issue with that ...

... you can tweet me about it.


Oh and ... if I haven't said it before ... thank you. You've been a wonderful jury. 12 good tweeters and true.

Julie x


p.s: I haven't forgotten about the giviaway I promised at the start - for those of you who've been kind enough to mention the class online. I'll be posting more details tomorrow - there's still plenty of time to enter - I just wanted to keep it separate from today's post.


  1. Thank you v.much for the course Julie, not only have I learnt new things about twitter but I have also made new twitter frends :) xx

  2. Ditto from me Julie. Loved this course and am slowly going back over the ones I missed. Loved it - thank you for the time, effort and humour you filled the lessons with :)

    Not so much thanks for dodgy shaped insoles. Curse my nosiness :P

  3. One way to do RTs with preceding comments more easily is to explore the world of twitter clients.

    I use Seesmic. You can either use the RT button to send a plain RT, or use the 'quote' option to create a RT you can edit. It also lets you see a conversation etc.

    Clients also let you manage multiple accounts (e.g. my personal one @magslhalliday and my design blog one @stripedpolkas). I can see both streams on screen at the same time.

  4. Julie, thank you, thank you for putting all this info together and making twitter understandable. I'm so grateful and shall think of you every time I tweet...and I have no doubt that I shall continue to use your brilliant how to's when I get stuck in the tweeting world.xoxo


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.