Twitter is texting/SMS gone mad. You can contact friends, family, or the entire planet. At the beginning you’ll need to find two elements. Some people to chat with, and some people to be informed or entertained by. The best place to do this is with Twitter Search, or the ‘Who To Follow’ suggestions on your Twitter home page. At first try to go half and half but don’t try to follow too many at the beginning otherwise it is all too confusing. Start with about 1-200.
Users with very a large following and are only following a few are normally celebrity or media, so follow to be informed. To find some new friends, look for users with a more balanced follower/following ratio of between 500-3000. These are usually active Tweeter and fun to hook up with. (Just check their last tweets to see if you’ll get on!)
Then download a good Twitter desktop application as they are much better than the Twitter home page. Try Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Seismic among a number of others. Then once your set, start reading a few tweets, respond to a few and get your feet wet.
There are two types of Tweet. A mention which is public and preceded by the @ symbol and a direct message (DM) which is private and preceded by a ‘d’.
Just remember that a public Tweet can end up anywhere, even on Google, so be polite.
Once you have sent and received a few tweets and made a few contacts, you’ll find that more experienced users are always ready to help. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Twitter is fun and a great way to meet people with similar interests and also to get attention for your cause, blog, book or whatever. It’s also a marketing jungle, so you will need to do a bit of sorting once you’re up and running.
But be patient, it’s worth the effort.