Twitter Twitter Little Star

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Until I started blogging last October, I didn’t even know what Twitter was. Not that I’d taken much interest. But my “how to become an expert blogger” course said it was important to sign up to as many social media as possible. So I asked Black Cat about it (she’s a communications manager after all so she should know) and started checking it out. Basically the purpose of Twitter is to write short updates on your life/job in 140 characters or less including spaces. To do so, you have to have a Twitter account and a Twitter handle. My is AussieFrance, for example.

Who reads the tweets, as they are called? Your “followers” do. Whose tweets do you read? Those that you are “following”. How do you follow people and how do they follow you? Well, after you’ve created your Twitter account, by going on www.twitter.com, you fill in your profile. The idea is to introduce yourself in a few snappy words. My profile is “Insights into the French way of life by Fraussie, an Australian living in France. Love reading, writing, travelling, wine, cycling & mushrooms.” followed by Paris, and my blog address.

I don’t know how “snappy” it is but I figure it contains most of the information people need to know about me. Now, if you go onto # Discover, you’ll get a few prompts such as “Who to follow” and “Find friends”. The “Who to follow” is based on people with similar profiles. You can click on one of the little icons and see their profile. If you think you’d like to hear what they have to say, you click “Follow”. They will be notified by email and can either follow you in turn or not. They can be individuals such as me or organisations such as the NY Times or the Guardian, in which case, you’ll see Tweets about the latest news, etc.

If they are bloggers, they will probably be tweeting about their latest posts or something they sell. Once you are following someone, you can tweet them by name, using @. For example, if I want to check whether varieties of wine take a capital letter in English e.g. merlot or Merlot, I can check with Guardian style guide by selecting them and asking the question. They’re pretty good at answering even though they have 19,000 followers! One can only assume there’s more than one person … To reply, you simply click on reply!

There are other ways of finding followers but once you get the hang of it, it’s fairly simple. Once you’re following someone, you can check out who they’re following and follow suit. Another thing you can do is “Retweet” which is similar to the Facebook “Like”. You like someone else’s tweet so you retweet it to all your followers. Using a smart phone is the most useful way of reading and sending tweets. There are lots of applications. I use the official Twitter one. I downloaded TweetDeck as well but haven’t really taken the time to see how it works. Twitter seems more intuitive.

Then there are hashtags as in #. They’re used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet so users can categorise messages e.g. if I’m tweeting about a restaurant in Paris, I can put a hash next to and other users can then click on it to find another tweets on the same restaurant. I don’t use hashtags much for the moment, but it’s my next move!

All that to explain that the new heading on the right of the blog “What I’m Doing” actually corresponds to my Tweets. The funny website addresses are a shortened form that happens automatically when you type in an URL. You can also use Bitly, for example, to do it for you. It saves a lot of space when you have very long addresses such as http://www.aussieinfrance.com/2012/01/washing-machines-i-have-known/ shortened to http://t.co/5g1LLC53!

My latest Twitter experience is a Tweet-up organised in Paris among English speakers. It was held at O-Chateau, a wine bar in rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, just down the road from me. It was great meeting up with people whom I’d already seen on Twitter, including two Australians – Andrea from www.destinationeurope.net and Carina from http://www.carams.fr/blog/. Don’t forget to check out the other blogs and sites in the column on the right from time to time.

And I’d love you to follow me on Twitter by clicking on the Follow AussieFrance button on the top right of the page.

Follow-up post: Little Bo Tweep

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18 Responses to Twitter Twitter Little Star

  1. Andrea says:

    I’m hoping to go to more tweetups. It’s a great way to meet fellow expats and even a few Frenchies. 🙂

  2. Fraussie says:

    Yes, it was great. I stayed to the end when the crowd got thinner and it was easier to talk to people.

  3. Jill says:

    Hi, having had my 21 year old explain tweeting to me recently …I thank you for making it understandable! 🙂 Still not sure I am into it tho…Im always a few years behind when it comes to technology 🙂
    Cheers
    Jill
    Qld.

    • Fraussie says:

      Hi Jill, I’m delighted my explanation was understandable – young people are so intuitive that they get impatient with our generation. I explained how her iphone works to a friend whose daughter actually refused to help her! Leonardo used to say “you wouldn’t understand” but as he’s got older he’s changed a lot and is now very good. He used to sit down at my computer to show me something and within 2 minutes he’d changed all the settings and I’d never know how to get them back. Black Cat has always been good at explaining but she wasn’t using Twitter herself. If you have a smart phone, I’m sure you would enjoy twittering. You can learn lots of interesting things.

      • Jill says:

        My daughter was only saying the same thing yesterday about smart phones.. my son used to do the very same to me on computer! ugh…such a wizz but no patience 🙂
        Off for my french fix at alliance today..I just love it..have a wonderful parisien day!

  4. Andrea says:

    Not sure if you got my tweet but I wanted to let you know that my site is .net not .com. 😉 I appreciate the mention though!

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  6. Phoebe says:

    I’ve just stumbled across your blog via Twitter as I too am a new tweeter and still learning the ropes! I’m also Australian (half anyway), married to a French man, now living in the south near Nice, running a gîte, after 10 years in Paris. I love reading about other people’s experiences that are similar and yet different to mine. I’m going to follow you on Twitter (and hope you’ll follow me back) and I lok forward to hearing more of your insights! Oh and BTW I have an aunt in Townsville!!!

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  9. Mary Kay says:

    Thanks for the very understandable description of Twitter, Rosemary. I was sorry to have missed the recent Tweet-up as they’re a really good way to meet other bloggers.

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