Using the tools of the future

A little later today I have someone coming in for a ‘Twitter Tutorial’. The person in question is lively, gregarious, loves people and loves to communicate – in other words, perfect Twitter material! Very soon she will be flying solo across the Twittersphere, but for now here are the tips I shall pass on:

  1. Profile and pic – your profile is your opportunity to introduce yourself to the world in just a few words.  On the basis of it, people decide whether to follow you or not.  Some people like to have a cartoon or graphic image for their pic – I prefer a photo as it contributes to the social nature of Twitter.
  2. Direct messages – if you want to communicate privately with a Twitter friend, use the private (or direct) message function.
  3. Bots and blocking. If you use a word like “ipad” or “windows”, then techno-bots which trawl the web will contact you on Twitter. If you use a word like MiddleSEX, bots of another kind will seek you out! Have no hesitation in blocking them and reporting them as spam.
  4. Hacking – hacking is rare, but can happen if you open a link from someone you don’t know. If it happens, change your password immediately and let your Twitter friends know if you think spoof messages have been sent from your account.
  5. Hashtags (#) These are a way of identifying a particular topic for your tweet. It allows anyone interested in that topic to find your tweet readily.
  6. #FF and #LoveMonday. These are two special hashtags. #FF means “follow Friday”, and gives you the opportunity each Friday to recommend someone whom you think others should follow. #LoveMonday is a chance to affirm another person on Twitter on a Monday – and who doesn’t need a bit of Monday affirmation?
  7. Retweets (RT) – a retweet is a way of passing a message on to all your followers which you think they might like to see. Best used sparingly.
  8. Twitterquettedon’t preach, don’t SHOUT and don’t gossip, but do decide whether your message is for someone in particular (@___) or for the world in general. Whilst on Twitterquette – bear in mind that a little housekeeping is perfectly acceptable and will offend no-one. We all ‘tidy out’ the list of people we follow from time to time.
  9. Register – its fine to interact with strangers or celebs whom you’ve just met on Twitter, but don’t treat them like your best buddy!
  10. 3B’s – in my recollection a 3B is a soft pencil which makes a subtle but distinctive mark. Same here – BE genuine, BE generous and BE kind – remember your tweets are there for all to see.

When my ‘student’ joined Twitter yesterday, she declared that ‘reluctance is the fear of it but acceptance is because it’s our kid’s future’.  This is clearly a message which the staff of the Albert Camus Kindergarten near Bordeaux have taken to heart. Since the start of 2012 the 29 children at the school have been tweeting their activities each day for their parents to see. The teacher regards this as a good way to improve their language and writing skills, and also to introduce them to technology. Its helping them to ‘use the tools of the future’ ,he said. For obvious reasons the account for the school is private – but their profile pic, seen below, is one to savour.

Whilst you are looking at it – what would you add to my 10 tips above? All improvements welcome!