Why does Twitter have to be so difficult without a computer science degree?
Why does it look like a list of characters that do something but I have no clue?
Why can't Twitter make it clear what it is used for?
At this point I would contend Twitter has grown in spite of the company itself. If I were most people, I would create an account and then have no clue what to do next. Contrast that with Facebook where finding friends and family is made simple and understanding what you can use it for comes pretty quickly. Unfortunately Twitter is a graveyard of accounts that have an egg as their profile picture.
Let me try my best to make some sense of this mess for everyone.
What are several ways you can use Twitter?
- to follow celebrities and pop culture
- to stay connected to local and national news
- to connect with communities around whatever interests you have
- to connect with friends in real time
The best way I know to explain this is through my experience. I have a lot of interest in developing apps for iPhones and iPads. I knew some names of people in that industry and started following them. What they say is interesting, but the real value comes in engaging them in conversations. From this start I was able to find an entire community of people talking about my interest. There is simply no other place I could have entered into connections with this group of developers. For me that gives Twitter great value.
Well that sounds neat, how do go about even starting that process?
When you sign up, Twitter will attempt to point you toward possible people to follow but that only gets you so far. A better way is to search for a topic or for people involved in that topic/interest. Find them and then look at who is following them. Chances are you won't be able to get Guy Fieri to respond about culinary delights, but people who follow him may be likely to engage with you.
Ok so now I have some people to follow, what are all these # and @ for?
- # Hashtag; Used to organize tweets around a common topic for people to find. If I send a tweet including #AtlantaBraves in the text, I or anyone else who searches #AtlantaBraves in Twitter could find that tweet.
- @ At Reply; a tweet that begins with @ and someone's user name is a tweet that will only be visible by people who follow both you and that person.
- .@ Variation on the At Reply except now everyone who follows you or them can see it.
- RT Retweet; If you want to share another person's tweet from your account, you press the retweet button.
- DM Direct Message; Message between you and another person that is only seen by the both of you.
Now that I've explained it I think most people can see where they might be able to use it and if it has value for them. In the meantime, I will remain perplexed as to why it has to be so difficult.