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twitter celebrities

I have this friend, Lorie, who is a Twitter newbie. She asked how she replies to someone on Twitter, so in the previous post I explained it to her in a mere two thousand words.

Now it’s time to move on to other things, like the sidebar on the Twitter page. Sign in and go to http://twitter.com/ and you’ll see the home page, which looks something like this..

rhodestertwitterpage

Granted, mine is prettier than yours because I’ve dressed up the colors and inserted a custom background, but hey.. you have nice hair.

Before we get to the sidebar, we need to talk about that little white navigation strip above it on the right, and before we do that I need to address something I forgot to address in the last post, which is..

RETWEETING

Retweeting is simply reposting a tweet that you like so much you want everyone who follows you to see it. So how do you do it? Well, as of now there’s no “retweet button” to click on the Twitter page, just like there’s no direct message button. The only thing they let you do with a click is reply, which is that curly arrow to the right of someone’s tweet. To direct message them you have to type..

d rhodester followed by your message.

Of course, you put the person’s username where I put rhodester in that example. Please don’t bombard me with direct messages.

But to retweet something from the Twitter page, you have to manually copy/paste it into the little box, and if you want to give them credit you can put their username in front of it with RT in front of the username. I know, right? Lot of friggin’ work! This is because Twitter doesn’t really want you retweeting things. They don’t like you all that much when it comes right down to it. They don’t even like your hair (but I do.)

Retweeting is something that got added to those programs you can download to use Twitter, like Tweetdeck, Seesmic Desktop and others. The geeks who made that stuff put in a little retweet button so that if you like a tweet and want to share it with everyone, you click it and it automatically goes out to all your followers.

If you really must retweet something from the Twitter page and you go to the trouble of copy/pasting it, be sure to give credit. Don’t just retweet something like it’s yours, which is a really good way to get yelled at.

So, that’s retweeting.

Alright, back on the Twitter hompage, you see that little white navigation bar on the upper right?

navbar

Yeah, that’s it. The little links on it are fairly self-explanatory but lets take a look at them anyway..

Home – Click this and it will show the latest tweets from the people you follow. As you go down the list you will see a “more” link at the bottom. Click that and get more added on. Below that will be a “more” link. Click that and more will be added on. Below that will be a “more” link. Click that and more will be added on. Below that will be a “more” link. Click that and more will be added on.. ad infinitum.

Profile – Click that and it will show your profile and just YOUR latest tweets. This is what people see when they click on your username out there in Twitterland, and you will see this when clicking on other people’s usernames. Again there’s that helpful “more” link at the bottom if you’re really bored.

Find People – Type in “rhodester”.. voila, you found me! Type in “Taylor Swift”.. voila, you found her and about a hundred imposters, plus fan profiles and dedication sites. Sucks to be her.

Settings – When you click on settings, you get different tabs to click on, and there’s a lot so I’m not going to go through it all. You’re pretty smart and can figure it out, so I’m just going to give you a few tips..

When you have the ACCOUNT TAB selected, look down at the bottom and find the little “protect my updates” box. Don’t check it. If you did check it, then uncheck it. People hate “protected updates,” which means that only your followers can see your tweets when they click on that profile link we talked about earlier. I guess some people like the privacy of it, but if someone follows me and I take a look at their profile to consider following them back, I won’t if they have “protected updates.” It’s like going on the radio and only talking to the people in the studio.

When you select the DESIGN TAB, you can change your colors and add a background wallpaper. The colors are easy but the backgrounds are tricky because Twitter put the background wallpaper section on their Siberian servers and it gets pretty cold there, plus it’s far, far away. If you have trouble with it, it’s best to just stick with the default ones or ask someone who knows how to do that sort of thing for help.

Help – Here you’ll find most of the stuff I’m talking about in this post, but it’s really dry and there is absolutely no mention of Taylor Swift or horses.

Sign out – This is the tab I’d like all the spammers, marketers and experts on virtually everything to click on, but they won’t.

And now we head to the sidebar, which is a lot of fun to play around with. You could spend all day on the sidebar, tickling it, teasing it and simply having a blast.

Here’s mine..

rhodestersidebar

Starting at the top you see my manly avatar depicting Ward Cleaver drinking coffee from a tea cup. It’s manly because he’s NOT sticking his pinky out. Not Ward Cleaver.. he would never do that. Good thing he never found out about Beaver being gay.

If you click on the avatar picture or the username next to it on a person’s Twitter page, it will show you their profile and that person’s “tweet-stream.” If you’re on your own page it will show you your own “tweet-stream.” Yes, “tweet-stream” IS a funny term! It’s like you drank too much tweet or something and now you’re in the bathroom making a “tweet-stream.” Suddenly I feel like I’m at summer camp.

Click on HOME at the navigation bar above it to have it return to the main home page.. or click on the word Twitter above the avatar. So many options! It’s like Disneyland!

Now, under the avatar and username on the sidebar you have an indicator that shows you how many people you’re following, how many are following you, and how many updates (tweets) you’ve done. As you can see, I’m following 759 and being followed by 758. I haven’t a clue who most of them are. I’ve updated (tweeted) 7,047 times. I figure that if I spent thirty seconds composing and sending each update tweet, then that’s nearly two and a half days of my life that I’ve spent in the bathroom creating a tweet-stream.

If you click on the following and follower indicators it will show you a list of them, and to the right of each user you will see a little thing Twitter has put there wherein you can decide what to do with them. A neat trick is to click on your followers, and then decide if you want to follow them back, send them a direct message, reply to them, unfollow them or block their nasty ass.

Here’s what my follower list looks like. You can click the picture to make it screen size if you’re like me, meaning you’re old and stuff and can’t see too well these days..

rhodesterfollowing

Under the part that says “Your 754 followers” you can see two little boxes. These select whether you want a simple display of your followers or a display that gives you too much information. I have it set on simple, because if I really want to know about any particular one I can just click on their picture or name and their profile comes up.

You can see that I have a little green check beside ALL my followers because I’m following them back. You don’t need to follow everyone back, it’s totally up to you. I do but I ignore them, which will be our little secret, okay?

Over to the far right is that selection gizmo I was talking about earlier. Click it and you’re given options as to what to do with your followers. If Rhodester is one of your followers, select “follow.” If anyone else is a follower, select whatever you want.

If this guy is a follower..

douchebag

You probably can’t select BLOCK fast enough.

This is a good time to talk about douchebags marketers. You will meet them on Twitter because they will follow you, along with thousands of other people. Our friend in the picture is following 56 people while being followed by 33,255, which is a fairly good indication that he doesn’t really care about YOU, he just wants to sell you something. He also wants to point at you. He’s only following 56 because these kind of douchebags marketers follow you and then unfollow you after you follow them back, and it’s all done with automated software called “bots.”

You’ve seen the Terminator movies, right? Where the big scary android goes looking for Sarah Connor so that he can kill her, and he just knocks off a bunch of Sarah Connors until he gets the right one? Well, it’s kind of like that, only these Terminators don’t kill you, they follow you, and the only way for you to vanquish them is with the BLOCK function, because if you don’t.. ready for it?

THEY’LL BE BACK!

You may be wanting to ask me why you should be concerned if the pointy-finger guy above follows you, because hey, if you don’t follow him back you won’t get his messages and he can’t direct message you, riiiiight??

He can still reply to you.

I’ve actually tweeted something like, “Whoa, Michael Jackson passed away.. he sure was an icon of pop music” only to get the reply, “Yes, and despite his overall appearance his teeth were beautifully white thanks to (insert link to tooth-whitening website here.)

So, yeah.. just block them. They won’t notice.

Someone, somewhere – probably our friend shown above who likes to point at us – is bound to point this out..

taylorfollowers

Yes, Taylor Swift is only following 20 people and being followed by 845,793. But there’s a big difference in that she didn’t follow me first to get me to follow her back, and she doesn’t want to sell me things. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I bought her CDs and a few concert tickets when she’s in town, but her tweet-stream isn’t all about that.

I kind of blushed there a little when I mentioned Taylor Swift’s tweet-stream.

Someone recently ranted about celebrities having thousands of followers, if not millions like Ashton Kutcher, and yet they only follow a handful back. He said it wasn’t fair and he felt they were narcissistic in doing that. I disagree and I’ll tell you why..

Imagine you’re a celebrity. You have thousands of followers, all of whom can reply to your tweets. You tweet something and BAM! you get a thousand replies, most of which you can’t possibly read because there just isn’t enough time; you have movies to make and records to produce. You’d like to read them all and you give it a good try, but alas.. it’s just not possible.

Along with your thousands of fans, mom and dad are following you on Twitter. So’s your brother, your agent, your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, and a handful of close friends. You follow them back for two reasons..

  1. You like what they have to say on Twitter.
  2. They can DIRECT MESSAGE YOU PRIVATELY.

If Taylor Swift, Ashton Kutcher or any well-known celeb followed back all of their fans they’d get the same amount of direct messages that they do replies, and it’d become unmanageable. So following back, for them, is like giving out their cell-phone number.

Before we get back to the sidebar stuff, I feel kind of bad about what I said concerning pointy-finger guy above, so I should clarify a few points about marketing..

First of all, it’s not evil. There’s nothing wrong with it and it’s in common use in our society. Everywhere you go you see marketing techniques, some of which are a little more aggressive than others. There’s a certain group – a very LARGE group – that likes to use the way Twitter is set-up so that they can market products to you, and they have that right. It’s all free to use and as long as someone doesn’t violate Twitter’s terms of service, which changes almost daily by the way, they can follow you and reply to you all they want.

And you’re free to block them, if you don’t care for having “BUY THIS! TRY THIS! USE THIS!” messages sent to you all day long. Once again, I recommend blocking them as opposed to just not following them, because they will unfollow you and then follow you again later, over and over, until you break down and admit that, YES, DAMMIT, I AM SARAH CONNOR!

linda-hamilton

And then they will sign you up for a ten day free trial on tooth-whitener.

Maybe now pointy-finger guy won’t sue me. I’d better ask my lawyer just to be sure (she’s sitting over there on the sofa, next to our cat) so we’ll continue with the sidebar stuff and other Twitter lessons in the next post.

RhodesTer on Twitter/Subscribe to this blog

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how2twittersquare2

I’ve talked about Twitter several times before.

Some of you don’t use it, and won’t. Others of you do and have gotten the hang of it quite well.

You folks can all skip over this today and go on to the next blog – this is for Lorie and anyone else who asks, “How do I reply to someone on Twitter?” She asked that in a phone text to my wife, coffeesister, and we both looked at each other with deep concern. Maybe a little too deep for Twitter but doggone it, Lorie needs help and she’s going to get it!

I’ve known Lorie for about 20 years. She knew coffeesister first, and she was in our wedding party when we got married. She sings gospel songs, writes murder mysteries, dabbles in theater and takes care of three kids – two of whom are teens and the oldest one is about fifty-something.

He and I were roommates at one time. I was hanging out with him one evening when he said he had his eye on this Lorie chick, and asked me if I thought he had a chance with her. I said yes, he certainly did, so in a way I’m responsible for the rest of her life after that, including making sure she gets a firm grasp on things like Twitter.

So here we go..

Lorie, I’m glad you signed up on Twitter. I hope people follow you, and by people I don’t mean internet marketers, spammers and life-coaches, although they will. I mean people as in cool people like coffeesister and myself, who don’t want to sell you anything or have you sign-up for our course or teach you how to market stuff. We just want to know when you’re going shopping and when Joseph comes home with a black eye (his first fight, yay!) and when Larry gripes about something.

On second thought, hold off on the last one or you’ll be tweeting all day.

Yes, they call it “tweeting,” because it’s on Twitter. Get it? It’s also been called micro-blogging, wherein you say something in 140 characters or less (including spaces.) Sometimes that’s kind of a challenge, especially for a chatter-box like me, but it’s also a good exercise in literary brevity and streamlining your writing, as long as you don’t get into the habit of wrtng lk ths 2 save lttrs.

That’s BAD.

You can tweet about whatever you want. But you will find that a lot of people will bail on you (unfollow you) if you do nothing but provide links to your blog or something else, without trying to add some creativity to it. This goes for regular stuff too, like that trip to the market. It helps to be creative.

EXAMPLES

  1. I’m going to the market now with Jessica.
  2. I’m going to the market now with Jessica – I wonder if I can trade her in for a box of frozen fish sticks?

So which tweet do you think people will find more entertaining? No, NOT the first one! *eye roll* The second one not only tells your followers that you’re headed to the market, but it makes a joke that’s funny to everyone but Jessica, who won’t follow you anyway because you’re her mom and she’s sixteen years old.

I won a bunch of stuff one time with one of my tweets. Seriously! Someone had a contest and a panel of judges voted on the funniest tweet. I won with this one..

The lady at The Coffeebean laughed at my joke when I ordered a "synonym roll," and asked her if there was another word for it.

Yeah, I know, huh? But they really did send me some books and stuff because of that tweet.

Of course you don’t need to be silly and make jokes all the time, but keep in mind that if you have a bunch of people following you who you don’t know, then they really don’t care if you’re just going to the market. But they will definitely want to know if you succeed in trading Jessica in for a package of fish sticks.

Aside from what to tweet, because you can tweet whatever you want, let’s get into the nuts and bolts of it now and answer that question, “How do I reply to someone on Twitter?”

NUTS AND BOLTS

Let’s start with the main page at Twitter.com – open it up in another window and follow along here. You should have the HOME page open, where the URL up in the address bar of your browser will say..

http://twitter.com/

Below is a screen capture of what I see on mine. The colors are different than what you see on yours because I’ve adjusted them to how I like them, which you can do also. Stick with me and I’ll learn ya how to do that later.

rhodesterstream

What you’re seeing spilling down the middle of your screen are all the tweets from the people you’re following, in order from top to bottom of the most recent. In the picture above you can see tweets from people I’m following, including country singer Taylor Swift (taylorswift13).. hey, she’s FUNNY!

taylortweets

See? That’s the creativity I was talking about earlier. I personally think Taylor Swift should win some kind of Twitter Grammy.

At the very top above all of the tweets is the form window where you enter anything you want to tweet. I know you have all of that figured out, so lets just say these things for the people who don’t.

TWEETING

Above that form it says, “What are you doing?” You don’t need to actually tweet what you’re doing – you can tweet, “The price of apples is ridiculous!” or “Is it possible for one man to change the world? Yes, I believe so.. if he has a big enough diaper.

Oh, wait.. that last one is one of mine again.

If your form is empty, there is a number – 140 – over to the right above it. As you type your tweet into the form, the number gets smaller. This is because with every keystroke you kill a kitten, and there were only 140 kittens to start with. The number shows you how many kittens are left mewing and begging for mercy.

Just kidding! It shows how many characters you have left. You can go over the limit and it will show you a minus sign and start counting the other way, which is really cool. Thats because you can edit your tweet down after finishing it. Some things that only let you have a certain amount of kittens.. er, uh.. characters.. just stop when you get to the limit.

They suck.

With the way Twitter has it, you can type a tweet that’s 160 characters long, and then just go back and delete a few words to get it down to 140 or less.

Cool, huh?

Just don’t go thinking you’re going to get a 160 character tweet out there, because it will cut you off. You’re nobody special and neither am I, and even if we were special it would cut us off. It’s a stern, cold mistress, uncaring and rigid.

So, type your tweet of 140 characters or less and hit “UPDATE.” Congratulations, it’s now out there in the “tweet stream.” Anyone can see it. But only people who are following you can see it. Both statements are true. That’s where Twitter gets weird, or wonderful, depending on how you look at it.

We’ll get into that shortly.

Now lets go down to the tweets themselves from people you are following. There are elements to each one, and in this part we’ll cover your “how do I reply?” question. Lets say that the last tweet from someone came from me. Chances are it didn’t, but lets just play make-believe. You’ll see my avatar, which looks like this..

hughcoffee

Some people use real pictures of themselves, but I’m partial to that iconic father figure of the early nineteen sixties, Ward Cleaver, and his penchant for coffee in dainty teacups. He’s kind of a manly man’s man, but with a soft and tender side , which describes me to a tea. (HAR!)

I’ve noticed that YOU use a picture of a galloping ocean horse..

mysteryrat

That’s perfect, because I’ve known you for twenty years and if there’s one thing that comes to mind whenever I think of you it’s wet, breathless, sandy horses.

My whole point about the avatar, whether it be a person’s actual face, an iconic figure of classic television or a galloping steed, is that if you click on it you will be taken to the person’s Twitter profile. This will also happen if you click on their Twitter name just to the right of the avatar, which proceeds every tweet.

Okay, so after their Twitter name you have their tweet. Sometimes their tweet will be replying to someone else and/or they will have a link included in it. If there is a link you can click on it and see where it goes. If there is only a link with no message, and it looks like they do that a lot,  then that person is boring and you should unfollow them.

If they are replying to someone, you will know this because at the beginning of the tweet you will see the @ symbol followed by the person’s Twitter name, but it will be scrunched together. If I reply to you it will say @mysteryrat. If I reply to Barack Obama and you happen to be following him too, it will say @barackobama.

Yes, the President and I tweet back and forth quite a bit. He loves my advice. I told him to go to Russia.

Under their tweet is something that will tell you how long ago they tweeted, and what application they were using to do so. Let’s take a look at the most recent Taylor Swift tweet (as of this posting)..

taylortweet

It says that she tweeted about 1 hour ago from the web. The part that says “about 1 hour ago” is a link to the actual tweet itself, and if you click on it, it’ll pop-up (unless she deletes it) looking like this..

taylortweet2

Notice that it now says “about 2 hours ago from web.” This is because I had to go put on a Taylor Swift CD due to all this talk about her, and didn’t grab the screen capture until some time later. I like that song about the horse.

The “from web” part is not a link because Taylor was either using the Twitter website itself or a phone application that uses mobile web and won’t say what the application is. If she were using a program like Tweetdeck or Seesmic Desktop to tweet with, it would say “from Tweetdeck” or “from Seesmic Desktop” and it would be a link to the websites where you can get those programs.

I know you don’t know what those are – we’re going to get to them later. First, look at her tweet again as it appears on the tweet stream at my Twitter page..

taylortweetYou see that little star on the upper right? That’s so I can “favorite it.” If I like this tweet a whole lot, I click that star and it gets added to my list of favorites that I can access by clicking “favorites” over on the right sidebar of my Twitter page. Anyone can click that and look at my favorites and yours, and I can look at theirs, as can you, which means we can both look at Taylor Swift’s. I was going to screen grab hers but she doesn’t have any.

Silly girl.

Alright, so finally we answer the question, “How do I reply to someone?” That’s what the little arrow is for on the right side under the star – you’d click that to reply to Taylor Swift. She won’t see it though, because of this..

taylorfollowers

She’s following 20 people on Twitter and BEING FOLLOWED BY 845,793. The reason she won’t see your reply is that every time she tweets something – no matter what it is – she gets deluged with replies from people trying to get noticed by her because she’s a big-shot singing star. She could tweet the word “BOOGERS” and get a thousand instant replies from people saying things like, “Boogers are delicious!” and “Taylor can I get an autographed booger from you?”

I’m following a handful of celebrities and I’ve gotten a few replies back when I’ve messaged them, but it surprised me..

rhodestercelebs

Alyssa Milano and Kirstie Alley have both replied to me several times each, so we’re like buds now or something.

Okay, so to reply you can click that arrow and then up in the form box you will see that it automatically starts your tweet off with who you’re replying too. If you were replying to me and you clicked that arrow, your tweet is already started with @rhodester. So you can do that, OR..

..you can just type @rhodester in the form box and it will be a reply for me. Here’s a little trick to know.. if you BEGIN your tweet with @rhodester, then only me and people who are following both of us will see it. In other words, if someone is following you but not me, they won’t see it. But if you put it somewhere in your tweet other than the beginning, then everyone who follows you will see it whether they follow me or not. I mean like this..

“My pal @rhodester is an idiot”

That way I’ll still get it in my replies. But if you put “My pal rhodester is an idiot” I won’t get it in my replies because you didn’t use the @ symbol, which addresses it to me no matter where in the tweet it is. I might see it if I happen to be watching your tweets but it won’t be waiting for me in my replies section, all patient and cozy. That’s a big mistake that newbie twittererz often make.

There’s one more way you can message me, and that’s directly, which is private. On someone’s tweets there is no direct message thingy to click, so you have to type it into the box. You type the letter “d” and then the person’s username, but unlike the @sign you leave a space. So to REPLY to me you put..

@rhodester and follow it with your message.

..but to DIRECT MESSAGE me, you put..

d rhodester and follow it with your message.

Direct messages are only seen by you and the person you send them to, and they don’t show up in your tweet stream. They are totally private. The one hitch is that a person has to be following you in order for you to direct message them. Otherwise, you can reply to them using the @ sign but it’s very public.. anyone who looks at their tweet stream can see it.

Next we’re going to be moving over to the right and taking a look at the settings and sidebar on the Twitter page. That will be in the next post. For now, go ride your horse.. the tide is out.

RhodesTer on Twitter/Subscribe to this blog

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“Cool”

May 13, 2009

Today I’m pondering “cool.”
I don’t know why but it’s just been on my mind lately.
When we lived in Ashland, Oregon during the nineties we used to hang out in one of the coolest, hippest places in town; The Black Sheep pub on the plaza. One day I was having a beer at the hip and [...]

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