While many interact with social media, most will never use its potential beyond chatting with friends. FaceBook became a huge sensation in a short amount of time. Folks were able to electronically scrapbook their lives and share it with friends. The games followed, and soon FaceBook became the new solitaire. It is hard to imagine someone buying a new computer and not logging on to inform the world "I got a new computer". This is usually followed by waiting to see how many friends "like" it. While it is human nature to converse with friends, I was looking for people with my interests and the same goals. I couldn't find many farmers there, so I began checking out other social media sites. Once I became proficient at Twitter, my FaceBook days were numbered.
There seems to be a competition between FaceBook and Twitter users. I guess that would fall under human nature as well. Like picking a favorite sports team, we defend our favorites in good times and bad. I must admit that I am partial to Twitter. The main drawback seems to be understanding the shorthand often used. There is a learning curve that is well worth the effort. Let's look at a few things that will help you enjoy Twitter as a new user.
Messages, or tweets, are limited to 140 characters. That may not sound like much, but you can fit all the info anyone else wants to see in there.
Want To share a blog post, or web site? Using a URL shortener is helpful and saves space. Bitly is a free site that quickly and easily shortens URLs. If you wanted to share the New Times Best Seller list with friends, the URL http://www.nytimes.com/best-sellers-books/overview.html would use up most of your tweet! A quick shortening at Bitly, and it now looks like this http://nyti.ms/cKveWC . Space saving and appreciated by followers.
What the heck are hashtags? Hashtags are used to find or promote subjects. The format is #hashtag. So, you want to tweet about your favorite author. Instead of saying Laurell Haimilton's book, Hit List, made it to number one in the NewYork Times Hardcover Fiction Bestseller list, you could say #fiction #Books Laurell Hamilton's Hit List http://nyti.ms/cKveWC. Anyone searching for books, or fiction, would then see your tweet and a link to the bestseller list. There is no set format. Give it a shot.
Chatting. This is a quick way to get an advanced lesson in twitter usage. Chats are held on many subjects, probably at least one you are interested in. Here is a list of some Twitter Chats by the days they fall on. Hashtags are once again used to separate the wheat from the chaff. By using a program like TweetChat or TweetDeck, you can filter your incoming tweets to only those with the correct hashtag. You will then be in a real time discussion with like minded people on whatever subject you prefer. One I frequent is #AgChat.
So give twitter a try. You will find some interesting folks out there who are looking for the same thing you are.