Posted on September 26, 2011 by Johnathan Pulos
Tweets – A 140 character or less message on Twitter.
Tweet·er – A person who tweets.
At the heart of Twitter is the concept of tweeting, or communicating in short and concise messages. Since each tweet is restricted to 140 characters (ie. letters), tweeters must learn to communicate effectively with fewer words. In this article, I will describe how to post a tweet on Twitter, and some basic guidelines to help you tweet more effectively. In the following articles of this series, I will focus on the anatomy of a tweet, and some of the powerful tools at your disposal on Twitter including mentions, direct messaging, and multimedia tweets. So let us begin with how to post your first tweet.
In order to post a tweet on Twitter, you must first log into the site. Once you log in, you will be on your home timeline. At the top you will see a box with the title “What’s Happening?”:
When you click in the box, you will see some additional controls appear.
We will discuss most of these controls in later articles, but I want to point out two of them. The first is the number 140, at the bottom right, which indicates the number of characters that you have remaining for your tweet. As you type, this number decreases, and will continue into a negative range. The Tweet button next to the 140, should be clicked once you completed your tweet. The button will only be enabled if your tweet is longer then 0 characters, and shorter than 140 characters. So take a moment and add a tweet to the box, and click the “tweet” button. I will wait here.
[Soft jazz plays in the background with the sound of an espresso maker.]
So now that you have posted your first tweet, I would like to give you 3 guidelines for improving your daily tweeting habit. They are tweet purposefully, tweet regularly, and tweet carefully.
During the beginnings of Twitter, people tweeted about everything. They told the world what they were eating, where they were going, and what they were wearing. There really was no filter to what they talked about. Twitter still has tweeters that continue this bad habit. We need to tweet purposefully. For example, if you’re a missionary, then you can focus your tweets on updating your followers with praises, prayer request, and how God answers your prayer requests. Even more, you can encourage them to serve in some way in the Great Commission, and get them involved in what God is doing in the world around them. If you’re a church, you can encourage your followers to be in God’s word, get them involved in the church community, and challenge them to share the gospel with their neighbors. If you’re a Christian organization, you can use Twitter to share the core values of your ministry, and rally up support for causes dear to your ministry’s heart. In order to be effective on Twitter, we need to tweet purposefully.
Unlike a blog where you post once every few days, Twitter is designed to be a place where you tweet several times throughout the day. According to Twitter, the average number of tweets posted per day is 50 million. That means users are regularly tweeting multiple times throughout the day. Since a tweet is restricted to 140 characters, the time necessary to write and edit a tweet is far less than an article for a blog. So you can push out far more tweets in the time it would take to write an article. So I encourage you to tweet regularly throughout the day.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to tweet carefully. Twitter allows us the flexibility to tweet just about anything, but not everything is beneficial for our followers. Before posting a tweet, I encourage you to ask yourself the following questions. How does this tweet portray God? How does this tweet reflect my ministry? Does this benefit my followers? Many people get themselves into trouble when they post before they think. So tweet carefully.
Twitter is a powerful tool, and can be a great benefit to our ministries, but we need to use it effectively. If we tweet purposefully, regularly, and carefully, we can protect ourselves from some of the common pitfalls on Twitter, and ultimately encourage, challenge, and reveal God’s glory to our followers and the greater Twittersphere. Happy tweeting!
Other Articles in the Series
- Twitter 101: A New Form of Communication
- Twitter 101: The Power of Social Media
- Twitter 101: Signing Up & Guided Tour [video]
- Twitter 101: Following & Leading
- Twitter 101: Tweeting
- Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 1
- Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 2
- Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 3 (Multimedia)
- Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 4 (Location-Based Tweeting)
- Twitter 101: Direct Messaging
- Twitter 101: Organizing with Lists
- Twitter 101: Searching the Twittersphere
- Twitter 101: Fresh Coat of Paint
- Twitter 101: Text to Tweet
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About the Author
Hi, I am Johnathan, and I am a Ruby on Rails, PHP, and IPhone App developer. I love programming, even in my sleep. I firmly believe technology can have an enormous impact on the missional community, and God's desire to reach the nations. It is my passion to find a way to provide the technology needs to missional organizations in order to successful accomplish the Great Commision.