Twitter

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is a service that allows you to communicate through quick, frequent messages called tweets.

Each tweet is up to 140 characters long and may contain photos, videos, links, and text.

On Twitter, you can read tweets in a variety of ways:

  • People can choose to subscribe to your tweets by following you.
  • You can choose to subscribe to other’s tweets by following them.
  • People assign hashtags to their tweets. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used to identify a topic. Click on a hashtag to see all tweets talking about that hashtag,
  • Twitter lists are custom lists of Twitter accounts, usually grouped by topic.

In addition to tweeting yourself, you can sharing other people’s tweets.

  • Retweet to share the tweet.
  • Quote tweet to share with your own comments.

You can tag other users in your Tweet by using the @ symbol and you can also send Direct Messages (private messages). You can choose to receive Direct Messages from anyone, or only people you follow.

Millions of tweets are shared in real-time, every day, so Twitter uses an algorithm to filter the tweets from people you follow and present to you the tweets it thinks you may like.

What is Twitter good for?

  • “Micro-blogging” – short “threads” (series of tweets) that make up an argument, or opinion piece.
  • Humour.
  • Linking to your blogposts or research.
  • Sharing compelling photographs.
  • Communicating with people about topics you are interested in, e.g. politics, the environment, psychology.
  • The news. Much news is broken, real-time, on Twitter.
  • Sharing your news as an author.
  • Linking to anything you find interesting.
  • Sharing anything you like, really!

How can I use Twitter as an author?

The general received wisdom tweet about a topic that is relevant to the books you publish and stick to it. People will follow you for material related to that topic. Your tweets support your expertise as a voice in your field.

For example:

  • If you’re a comedian, tweet jokes.
  • If you’re a political writer, tweet about politics.
  • If you’re a Christian writer, tweet about theology/current affairs from a Christian standpoint.
  • Our advice? Read our Top Tips for Social Media here.

Twitter trolls

Twitter can get toxic quickly, and be used as a court of public opinion. Accounts can pile on with abuse, fast. At absolute worst, a Twitter mob can cost someone their career and mental health.

So if you’re full of rage, take a deep breath, and pause. Do you really need to send that Tweet?

Useful links

JHP Twitter accounts

A few JHP Authors on Twitter

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