How to get started on Twitter (#bellringing)

Creating you Twitter Identity

Honestly, this is easy. Twitter is kind and helpful and only asks easy questions. It will try to recommend you follow a lot of famous and illustrious people but it does not know you are a bellringer so Spider recommends you ignore all that stuff and just follow you choice of bellringing tweeps. See recommendation at the bottom of the page.

How to be a Good Egg

Twitter Egg
Bellringers venturing into Twitter may be doing so purely because it is a pretty efficient way to keep up with the news. Since Tweets are limited to 140 characters, it is much faster to scan news in Twitter than in email (where it may be necessary to open an email to determine what it is REALLY about) or Facebook (where posts can be very longwinded). Such bellringers can be recognised by these properties:

  • They are an egg. This is the default picture for a Tweep if you do not wish your handsomeness to be on display.
  • They are following a select list of bellringing Tweeps (and probably one or two friends too).
  • They have not tweeted.

This “egg” stage may last between one week (if the urge to tweet becomes overwhelming) and many years (if they find this way of reading the news to be to their liking). Of course, they may have just abandoned their identity after a day or two, there is no way of the observer telling. A good egg has of course not abandoned Twitter. They may have chosen to receive an email for every new tweet (or just a little smartphone notification) and they will be busily keeping up with the news that way, or by logging into Twitter and rootling around in their feed. In particular they will be listening which is perhaps harder than it might appear in Twitter.

Listening to other Tweeps

There are four ways to listen in Twitter and perhaps I was not alone (when I was an egg)  in only understanding the first one of them.

  1. If you follow another tweep, all their tweets appear in your news feed. They pop up in real time in a satisfying sort of a way, and if it is a wet afternoon this can be quite fun.
  2. If someone tweets to you then you will find it in your Connect tab. You will also receive an email but if you have a busy-busy email feed you may miss it… which is a shame because they meant this message just for you in a friendly way. It is easy peasy to do this (although I  confess I didn’t really understand this until a kind teenager explained it to me) – you just put their Identity (that’s the name that starts with the @ sign) into the message somewhere.
  3. Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 10.30.45If someone direct messages you then you will get an email. Also the little envelope on your “me” tab will show a small number telling you how many messages you have waiting for you. This is a subtle sign and should really be accompanied by noisy trumpet fanfares because it means it is probably REALLY important! (If you want to Direct message someone then it has to be someone who follows YOU. Click on their name, and then the little human symbol underneath (see the picture on the left, which shows me just about to message @Dovesguide), and you will get a DM form you can use.
    Messages here are limited to 140 characters too. These do not count as “tweets” and are private between the 2 of you.
  4. 4thly and not leastly, you can listen out for topics of interest which are found by typing into the little grey Search box at the top of the screen. Mostly topics begin with a hashtag (most important of these obviously is #bellringing) which means that the Twitter Engines have been busy building fast and efficient indexed searches of them and your results will be back in a pico-jiffy. You can put plain English (or Welsh or Cornish) words in here but the engines of searching will grumble and wheeze at you and take at LEAST a second to respond. Other fun hastags to look at at the one for your village, town, district etc… It’s worth finding out what #hashtag area you live in cos you can find out what’s going on.

Who to follow

It would be a great thing if there were more good eggs (bellringers) on Twitter and it is most fine to stay that way for ages and find one’s way around. I stayed at the egg stage for 6 months just following @BellRingingWeb who is a most effective and comprehensive tweeter of all the bellringing news on the entire Internet so is highly recommended for eggs. If you wish to follow @Bellropespider as well then that would be most friendly. I will probably follow you back and then I will know your news too!

Amanda on Twitter recommends this online (free) course if you want to learn more:

Over to you

Have you got any thoughts for aspiring eggs? Use the reply box below.

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