Practicum Post – Twitter

When I first started using Twitter, I was confused at all the functions and ways to use it.  I of course knew it was a social media site, but it seemed strange and unfamiliar to me, since I had only been used to Facebook.  As I started to play around with it more and more, I realized many unique features that have become of great use.  There were many terms I had to get used to as well, and that has definitely been an adjustment from the typical terms we use with Facebook or just in general.

Followers.  While Facebook calls people “Friends,” Twitter calls people “Followers.”  You can Follow others with a Twitter account, as well as have Followers of your own – people who follow your Twitter account.  There are a couple of ways to Follow others and gain Followers.  If a person has their account set to public, which celebrities, news sources, and even some of my friends do, anyone can Follow them.  If a person has their account set to private, one must request to Follow that user and until that person accepts your Follow request, you cannot see their Tweets.  Currently, I have my account set to public so that I can gain Followers at a more rapid pace.  However, I have found that several people I do not know are Following me.  I recently discovered that you are able to block users so they can no longer Follow you.  I actually have blocked one person because their Tweets were strange and slightly inappropriate, someone I did not want associated with my Twitter.

RT.  RT stands for Retweet.  When another user that you follow Tweet something that you like or (dis)agree with, you can hover below their Tweet and click on “Retweet.”  Once you have done so, it will appear in your profile as your latest Tweet.  In front of the Tweet, “RT” will appear, showing that what you have Tweeted was not originally yours, but that you have “Retweeted” something from someone else (see NBCNews).  On my profile, RTs show up as the original user, but underneath their Tweet it says “Retweeted by @itssssjessica (see totalsratmove).  I’ve really come to enjoy this feature because it has allowed me to repeat things that others have said that I find amusing or that I agree with.

Mention and Reply.  On Facebook, we would call this “tagging,” but on Twitter, when you are talking to a particular person, it is called “mentioning.”  To do this, you can either press “reply,” which appears below their Tweet (see the nytimes and NBCNews Tweets), or simply type their Twitter handle (or user name (@itssssjessica)) in the “Compose Tweet” box.  This Tweet will appear as your latest Tweet and the person you have mentioned will also be able to see it on their homepage under the @Mentions tab.  It’s a really great tool to keep in touch with others, reply to celebrities, etc.  I actually replied to @UWMadison one day and got a reply back (see below)!

Followers, RT, Mention, and Reply – these are just a few of the basic features of Twitter that I have learned to use and now use on a regular basis.  They make keeping in touch with others easy and create a unique way of social networking with your Followers.

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