Wednesday 7 March 2012

Finding your way around your Twitter page

Maybe you are completely new to Twitter. Or maybe you were happily using it, and knew what you were doing, until a few weeks ago you logged in one day to find it looked completely different. Over a period of a few months, Twitter has gradually been changing from "Old Twitter" (which wasn't really all THAT old) to the redesigned "New Twitter" and now everyone has the new look version.

You'll find it really useful to have your own Twitter page open in a separate window before you read any further, so click here to open it.

You will see your "timeline" - the list of tweets from all the people you follow - is the main column going down the right hand middle of the page. At the top left is your picture, or avatar, and below it your number of tweets, followers and the people you follow.

To write a new tweet, start typing in the box below that OR click on the blue box at the very top right, on the black band that runs along the top of your screen. It's supposed to look like a quill pen in an inkwell! If you want to add a photo to your tweet, click on the little camera which you can see very faintly underneath the box. And if you want to send your tweet to a particular person, type an @ then immediately start typing their name. Twitter will  give you a drop down menu of people to choose from: unfortunately it only picks them from the most recent 500 people you have followed, so for instance, it doesn't suggest to me the name of my own husband if I start to type his name! I suppose they feel that if you followed somebody more than 500 people ago, you know them well enough to type their names from memory. They obviously don't understand people with a memory like mine.

If you hover your cursor over a tweet in your timeline, you will see four options along the top - reply and retweet are self explanatory.
Favourite will save the tweet for later, in your list of favourites. It might be something you know you will want to read again, it may have a link in it you would like to check up on later, or if you are a comper, it may be a notification of a win. I always favourite win notifications - that way, when the prize arrives I know just where to go to contact the promoter to thank them. And if I unfavourite the tweet at the same time, I can see at a glance if any prizes have not arrived because the tweets are still there in my favourites.
Open will give you more information about the tweet - it will get a little window all of its own, with the time, the Twitter client it was sent from, who, if anyone, retweeted it and the word Details along the bottom. If  you need to give the URL of a tweet, for instance in a  blog competition that uses Rafflecopter, click on the word details and the tweet will open up in a window of its own. Copy the address from the address bar and you have your URL.

Now go back to the black band at the top of the page. Next to Home, you will see @connect and #discover. @connect is where you will find  tweets that are sent to you, or those that mention you, and where you will see any new  followers and retweets. Click on it and you will have two options - Interactions shows the tweets  and the followers, Mentions shows just the tweets. If you are a  comper, make sure you check your mentions every day - that's usually the first place you learn about a win!

The #discover section leaves me rather puzzled. I don't really see the purpose of it! It contains sections called stories, which gives links to the backgrounds of trending topics, activity which tells you who other people you follow have themselves followed or retweeted, who to follow - which has just offered me a list of minor celebrities in whom I have no interest, find friends which can help  you to seach for people and browse categories which gives you yet more suggestions of people to follow. Apart from "find friends" there doesn't seem to me to be much practical use for this section, but it might be a fun place to while away a wet afternoon.

Next there is a search box, which is self explanatory, and then a little head and shoulders silhouette. If there is anything you can't find, it is probably here! Click on the little arrow at the side of it to bring up a drop down menu, as in the photo above. As  well as links to helpful information and a place to change your settings, you will find Direct Messages and Lists on this menu. Lots of people have asked where their direct messages have got to on new Twitter - well, this is where they are hiding. In the lists section, you will not only find any twitter lists you have made, but if you click on Lists/member of you can see if anyone else has listed you. Your favourites are also here,  along with all the photos you have recently posted on Twitter, and list of people you follow and who follow you. One of the most useful sections of your Twitter page - and one of the best hidden!

Finally, not really part of this article but relevant to new Twitter, and something lots of people, especially non-compers who may not be quite as used to seeing retweets as compers are, have asked:
Why do I see tweets from people who I don't follow in my timeline? Surely if I'm not following them I shouldn't see them?
If somebody who you DO follow retweets something from somebody you don't, it no longer looks  like a tweet from the person you follow, it looks like a tweet from the original tweeter. So of Fred tweets "Happy birthday Sue" and Sue retweets it,  Mary, who follows Sue but not Fred, may be puzzled to see the tweet from Fred in her timeline. But if she clicks on "Open" as described above, she will see at the bottomof the tweet, a note that Sue retweeted it.

1 comment :

  1. Also under the head and shoulders is the settings button. Its worth checking that everythign is still set correctly. On my 1st day under the new regime I found my time zone had shifted to Hawaii!


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