Signing up to a social networking service such as Twitter can be a confusing experience, especially when you do not quite understand what a tweet is, or indeed, what the service is for.
In this tutorial, I will show you how to send a tweet, follow other users and search for information relevant to your interests in order to help you get a better understanding of what both Twitter and, more specifically, the Twitter for Mac application is capable of.
Twitter is a social networking service launched in 2006. With Twitter, you can communicate with friends and family by sending and receiving messages of 140 characters or less and keep up-to-date with all the latest news and gossip that the Internet has to offer.
Twitter has proved to be a useful customer service tool for both large and small businesses alike, disseminating important information while assisting customers with their questions and complaints instantly via a channel other than email and snail mail.
Take JetBlue, for example. When a customer recently tweeted the airline complaining about their delayed flight, JetBlue took control of the situation by tracking down the airplane and informing the customer that their flight was scheduled to depart shortly, thus opening up a direct link between the customer and the company, making them feel valued.
Clubs and organisations have also benefited from Twitter, too, by using the social networking service as a publication tool, circulating news and information between its members. Say you're a fan of football club Manchester United, the club's Twitter feed is packed full of exclusive articles and interviews, keeping you in the loop with the latest developments within the team.
Twitter can deliver information tailored to your own interests directly to your Twitter feed. Perhaps you have a keen interest in growing exotic fruit and vegetables, for instance, you could then follow users such as James Wong (@botanygeek) and get regular tips and tricks related to that topic.
Before you can send and receive tweets, you must first download Twitter and create an account.
Click the Apple logo and then App Store to visit the App Store.
Download and install Twitter.
Tip: There are a number of third party Twitter applications available in the App Store, but the Twitter for Mac application is the official Twitter client, and it's free!
Access your Applications folder and then click Twitter to launch.
Click Sign Up to create a Twitter account.
Enter your details and then click Create My Account.
Log into Twitter via the Twitter application.
Compose a Tweet
Now, you are ready to compose and send your first tweet of 140 characters or less. Before proceeding, however, you should keep in mind that everything you tweet is available publicly unless you choose to privatise your account via the Web interface.
If you can't think of anything interesting to tweet about, try interacting with your audience. Twitter is a great place to seek answers to any burning questions you might have, or to ask and receive advice about a particular subject.
Click the New Tweet icon.
Compose your tweet while paying attention to the character counter. Once you have reached the 140-character limit, the counter will turn red and you will be unable to send your tweet unless it is shortened.
If you would like to upload an image to accompany your tweet, click the Camera icon and then select the image you wish to include.
When you are ready to broadcast your tweet to the world, click Tweet.
Every tweet that you have tweeted can be viewed in chronological order via your Twitter profile.
Follow Other Users
Following other users will enable you to view every tweet that is tweeted by that user in your Twitter feed, whether they are a family member or an A-list celebrity.
Click the Down Arrow icon and then select Go to User.
Enter a username and then click Go to User. I have entered mactuts, which is the Twitter handle of Mactuts+.
Click Follow if you would like to follow that particular user.
Once you have clicked Followed, their tweets will be added to your Twitter feed.
Tip: Twitter boasts a lot of celebrity users, such as Britney Spears (@britneyspears), Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) and Lady Gaga (@ladygaga), and movie stars like Jim Carrey (@jimcarrey), Leonardo DiCaprio (@leodicaprio) and Tom Hanks (@tomhanks). Even the American president Barack Obama (@barackobama) has been known to tweet every now and again!
View Your Recent Activity
Keep track of your recent activity via the Connect pane.
Click the Connect icon on the sidebar to view your recent activity.
Click the username or avatar of that user to view their Twitter profile, and then click Follow if you would like to follow them back.
Once you have followed other users, you can read their latest tweets via your Twitter feed and respond to them if you wish. Think of Twitter as one big RSS feed, displaying news, gossip, images and events as they happen, tweeted by friends, family, bloggers and celebrities the world over.
Introducing your feed. Here, you can read the tweets of the users you are following.
Hover over a tweet to view the navigation bar containing the following four icons: View Tweet Details, Reply, Retweet and Favourite.
View Tweet Details
View Tweet Details enables you to view additional information about that tweet, such as the amount of users who have favourited or retweeted it, and so forth.
Click View Tweet Details to view.
Reply to Tweet
Replying to a tweet will start a conversation between the yourself and the original author. Typing @ before a username will alert the user that the tweet is intended for them.
Click Reply to respond to the tweet in question. Compose your reply and then click Tweet.
Retweet a Tweet
Retweeting a tweet is the act of reposting a tweet to your feed that you feel your followers will enjoy reading, like an interesting fact or a funny image.
Click Retweet and then Retweet once again.
Click Retweet to publish that tweet to your feed or Cancel to cancel.
Quote a Tweet
Quoting a tweet is similar to retweeting, however, you may add a short sentence or image of your own to accompany the quote.
Click Retweet and then Quote Tweet.
Your selected tweet will then be quoted and you can take this opportunity to add additional text or upload an image. Click Tweet to send.
Favourite a Tweet
Favouriting a tweet will add that tweet to your Favourites for easy access at a later date.
Click Favourite to favourite a tweet.
Click the Profile icon to return to your profile and then click More.
Click Favourites to view every tweet favourited by you.
Click a favourited tweet to view additional information.
Send a Direct Message
If you would prefer not to share a personal conversation with all and sundry, you can choose to send a direct message to that user instead, providing that they are already following you.
Click the Messages icon in the sidebar. Click New Tweet and then New Message to send a direct message.
Enter the username of the person you would like to send a direct message to. I have entered johnny_winter, which is the Twitter handle of the Editor of Mactuts+.
Compose your direct message and then click Continue to send. Received direct messages can be viewed by clicking the Messages icon in the sidebar.
Tip: Twitter is an awesome tool for the unemployed or those looking for a change of career. Many companies nowadays will tweet if there are any job opportunities available, which saves a lot of time trawling the Internet in search of employment.
With Twitter, you can conduct real-time searches for tweets containing information relevant to your search term, which is especially useful if you don't have access to a television and would like to know the score of a football match or who got evicted from Big Brother.
You may find that some users insert a hashtag symbol before a keyword or phrase which can be clicked to display even more tweets featuring information about that particular subject.
Enter a search term in the Search box and then press the Return key on your keyboard to view your search results.
Edit Your Profile
Each Twitter user has a profile containing personal information about themselves, such as their name and location.
Click Edit Profile.
Enter your Name, Location, Website Address and Bio, and then click Save.
Your Twitter profile will then be updated.
In this tutorial, I have shown you how to send tweet, follow other users and search for information relevant to your interests in order to help you get a better understanding of what the Twitter for Mac application is capable of. Did you find this tutorial helpful? If you have a question, feel free to ask it below.