Seven Twitter tips for beginners

Twitter is the next big way of communicating with your friends, but what are the best ways to get the most out of the micro-blogging service? Here we list seven tips (one for each day of the week) that should get you started in the world of Twitter.

1. Be short
Twitter is best described as micro-blogging because you've only got 140 characters to get your message across. No time for rambling here. If however you're a bit useless at getting your point across quickly you can use the "Auto summarizer" in Microsoft Word or the "Tools for Noobs" summarize tool on its website (http://www.tools4noobs.com/summarize/). It crunched down the above to "Twitter is best described as micro-blogging because you've only got 140 characters to get your message across". Much shorter.

2. RT ReTweet
Someone you are following just twittered something cool and you want to share the love? No problem just copy and paste the tweet with the words RT in front of it and post again. RT stands for ReTweet and shows others that you weren't the originator, but thought it was cool.

3. Replying
Someone has tweeted something and you want to get in on the action, give them a response or merely let them know what you think. Putting an @ in front on their twitter account name means they get tweeted even if you aren't replying to them directly. So put @pocketlint in your tweet and here at Pocket-lint we'll hear what you're saying.

4. Direct Messages
Anything you say to others via replies is shared for all to see, if you want to chat with other twitter users, but want to keep your conversation private you can direct message or DM them. To do so all you have to do is put a DM + username + message or even D + username + message. For a while the D option didn't work meaning loads of raunchy messages where up for all to see, but alas no more. Still make sure you use DM else that affair you are having might not be so secret after you've let all that are following you know.

5. tinyurl.com
If you're planning on twittering your favourite web stories chances are you'll run out of the 140 words that your limited to. That's where tinyurl.com comes in. It takes a long url like the one for this article:

http://www.pocket-lint.co.uk/news/news.phtml/20522/21546/seven-twitter-tips-better-twittering.phtml

and makes it look like this:

http://tinyurl.com/7urx7y. Much better.

6. Find people
There are a number of ways to find people on Twitter. You can either use the "Find people" option on Twitter itself, click on icons of the people following the people following you. Alternatively you can sign up to services like Mr Tweet who will recommend people you should follow based on the people you already follow. If people opt to follow you, you don't have to follow them back, but maybe they have a follower that's just as interesting. Don't worry you can just as easily drop people if you don't like what you get. Start small and build slowly though - less you could get bombarded with too many tweets. That's no fun at all.

7. Ditch the browser
Chances are your best tweets are going to be away from the boring confines of your desk (like at the site of a plane crash in the Hudson River), so get yourself twittered up on your mobile. There are plenty of apps out there for BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Nokia users and all are really easy to use. If that's not your game, at least ditch your browser and get apps like TweetDeck or Twitterific that allow you to monitor your "Twitter world" without having to hit the browser refresh button every 10 minutes.

You can follow Pocket-lint on Twitter via the link below.


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