Twitter for beginners (slideshow)

Continuing my practice of putting online journalism lessons online, this is the second part of the week 1 lesson, where I introduce students to Twitter.

26 thoughts on “Twitter for beginners (slideshow)

  1. David Barnes

    Cool slide show, the format works well.

    Have you gone back to using Twitter over SMS? I was annoyed when Twitter cut texts in the UK, but have since found Twitter far more useful as a tool to use at my desk than on the move.

    I wonder if part of the reason many people don’t “get” Twitter is that they CAN’T imagine sending a text to 100,000 people. For most people it’s hard to picture any problem for which texting 100,000 people would be the solution.

    For me, the big sell of Twitter is that it enables low intensity conversation. Say you go to a conference. You collect a bunch of business cards, and fully intend to follow up with email and phone. But then you never get around to it, and you can’t really think of anything profitable to say to these people anyway. So you file the details and that’s the end of it. Or even if I do email, unless these people have a good reason to reply straight away, they’ll archive the message and never look at it again.

    With a service like Twitter, instead of swapping business cards you swap Twitter IDs. You then have a way to keep in touch that requires no direct work from either party. You see what each other are working on, get to know each other better — you’ve planted a seed that might develop into a useful relationship, some time. But no pressure.

  2. Kasper Sorensen

    I think the interesting thing about twitter is that people tend to start out with the idea of being able to reach 100.000 people with one message. But once you really get to use twitter, you realize how useful it is for having short intensive discussions with few people at a time.

    Imagine sending a text to 100.000 people can be scary. Rather imagine that out of those 100.000, you have instant access to a dozen experts in any given field who are able to respond to you in real time.

    I haven’t completely got my head around twitter yet and am constantly trying to improve. I like to think that whenever I’m ‘listening’, I monitor 100.000 people and what they talk about. But whenever I participate (tweet), I engage with only 10 or 20 people. I find it helps me stay more focused and provide more value for my followers.

  3. paulbradshaw

    Thanks David – that’s a really good way of putting it. I was a little unsure about the ‘sending a text message to 100,000 people’ line as it’s very ‘broadcast’, but it does identify the difference between Twitter and, say, Facebook status updates or instant messaging. As the slideshow progresses you get more of the social sense of Twitter (hopefully).

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  5. David Barnes

    Yes the social side comes out more later, and it offers a strong overview of what Twitter can do.

    Remember telling people about email: “imagine you can send a message to anywhere in the world and it arrives in minutes”. A common response was: “I don’t know people there, and besides if I did I could phone”. Of course, now these people see the point of email and use it every day.

    Some of us just love the idea of being connected, and that’s good enough reason to use Twitter for us. You can text 100,000 people at a time? Wow!

    For “normal” people, the reason to use a new communication tool will always be because you can communicate a bit more effectively with the few people, or the few topics, that you care deeply about.

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  12. Vrbo


    You shock me again, this is an amazing insight to an untapped market that I never thought of reaching out to. I am heavily considering this method of driving traffic to my site.


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  19. Bob Mitchell

    I had this page bookmarked to read at some point for some time and was just having a little tidy when I found it (again). I really wish I’d remembered it last week when someone had asked me about Twitter and what it was about and what a waste of time it seemed.

    Oh well – I have it handy for next time. Thank you. 🙂

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