A Just-In-Time Script from U-Me New Media

Version 1.6

See also Social media compared

What is Twitter?

Twitter is like public email. That said, you can email the world but no one will read it unless others follow and retweet you.

How do you build a Twitter presence?

  1. Follow others.
  2. Retweet and otherwise interact with them.
  3. Get followers.
  4. Repeat.


Although you can use Twitter.com in a browser, almost no one does. Instead they use Twitter apps on their smartphones or full-featured Twitter clients like these:

You can also set up your Facebook account or blog so that it automatically tweets a link to your post on the original platform.

Anatomy of a Tweet

Sender's name

Twitter will automatically show who a Tweet came from. It's like an email address--your exact name may not be available for your Twitter "handle." You will recognize other user handles because they start with "@".

Sender's message

280-characters (about two sentences), plus images, videos, and/or links. Abbreviations welcome.



Twitter uses "URL shorteners" with funny-looking domains like bit.ly, t.co, or fb.me. If you include a link, Twitter should still leave you 280 characters for your regular message.

Images and videos

If you chose an image or video, Twitter will automatically upload and link it to your Tweet.


Can be automatically added by Twitter. Enable only if you want the world to know where you are.


@ ("At" symbol)

Don't start your Tweet with "@" unless you are directly addressing that person. (Be aware that such Tweets can go public anyway.)

@jonippolito @SultanOfSoil Do you know a good companion plant for tomatoes?

If you want to cc someone on your message, just include their handle later somewhere after your message; they will see your message pop up in their "Mentions" tab:


Does anyone know a good companion-plant for tomatoes? @SultanOfSoil @DoyenOfDirt @RandomStranger

# (Hashtag)

This is a quick way of getting attention from non-followers who may be interested in a subject:


#Solar power is now on in my net-zero-energy @mainecohousing home. Fossil-free heat in Maine! #cohousing #ecovillage


Setting up Twitter accounts for students in this semester's #NewMedia class!

HT (Hat Tip)

Use this with a Twitter handle to give credit for an idea or reference.


I learned today that DNA can be used to store cultural data such as books and images. HT @DigitCurator

RT (Retweet)

This is equivalent to forwarding an email to all of your followers. Most Twitter clients have a button for this now.


RT @belfastceltic Belfast Celtic Celebration features music, dancing, food on the Maine Coast. Entire schedule at http://celtic.com.

MT (Modified Tweet)

If you edit someone's Tweet--perhaps to make it short enough to add your own comment before it--change "RT" to "MT":



Belfast Celtic Celebration features music, dancing, food on the Maine Coast. Entire schedule at http://celtic.com.



We will be there! MT @belfastceltic Belfast Celtic Celebration features music, dancing, food on the Maine Coast. http://celtic.com.

Purposes of Tweets



Ecovillage Summer Festival, Sunday 8/12 12-4. Pony rides, ice cream making, kite flying! http://fb.me/2bOSESz67



No home small if neighbors friendly! RT @sustainableMBA Housing is trending back to "small"


Does a village of 36 families need 72 cars? Not us! RT @craigdietrich: Portland, Maine sees decline in car ownership

Asking questions


How did @mainecohousing get so many followers on Twitter?

Sharing images and videos


This photo of children helping to harvest crops is what we have to look forward to with our kids at cohousing. fb.me/1IGRHupLY



Sitting with @SultanOfSoil and @jonippolito at Open Porch, sipping sun tea.

Best practices

These examples will help you test your understanding of best practices for Twitter.

Choose a Twitter handle that's easy for others to remember or recognize

Which are good practice?







Only post info you want to be public!

Which are good practice?



I'm off to Costa Rica for two weeks. Hope no one robs my house while I'm gone!



Just got back from visiting an ecovillage in Costa Rica--like @mainecohousing but with bananas instead of blueberries!



Check out this photo of my crotch

Explain any links or attachments in the Tweet itself

Which are good practice?



We can learn from this article on how to car-share. http://healthycommunity.com/article



What a photo! http://photoplace.com/myphoto



Our beautiful new triplex is finished! http://photoplace.com/myphoto



Great article. http://healthycommunity.com/article

Ignore spammers

Don't follow or trust accounts with too many random characters, especially if their picture shows a sexy woman.

Which should you reply to?



Just blogged a reference to your NMD class at http://highered.edu



Check this out http://randomdomain.com

OK, let's get started


Desktop computer, laptop or smartphone (iPhone or Android), and access to your email. Point your Web browser or smartphone to Twitter.com.

(This exercise assumes you will be using Twitter.com, though you can follow a parallel workflow from other apps.)

1. "New to Twitter? Sign up"

You can use your real name or a pseudonym.

Check "keep me signed in."

Concerned about privacy? Uncheck "tailor to Web browsing."

2. "Build your timeline"

Ignore the celebrities. You'll search for and follow people who are part of your course or interest group in step 7.

3. "See who's here"

Scroll to the bottom and click "Skip This Step".

4. "Find people you know"

You can import contacts, or just click "Skip This Step".

5. "Add character"

Add an image and description for yourself.

6. Share your new Twitter name

If you're part of a class, follow the instructions given (eg, post your handle to a Slack channel, or write your name on a collective whiteboard).

7. Follow all your classmates

In the search box at upper right, type the name/s shared in step 6. Click on each name and then click "Follow."

8. Post your first Tweet



Looking forward to this semester's class with @DigitCurator!

9. Retweet someone else's Tweet

Hover over a Tweet in your timeline, then click "Retweet" or (the retweet icon).