I’ve had more than one friend ask me to help them to Tweet something in short notice. Its hard not to come off Twitter elitist, but really, jumping into tweeting is something one should not take lightly.  Here’s my top five ways to begin to learn the obsession that is Twitter.

1. Find a yoda: If you’re even considering it, you must know someone who does it. Ask them for help. Most Tweeps that I know will be more than happy to sit with you and walk you patiently through what, to them, is second nature. As them why they use Twitter and get concrete examples. I’m sure they’ll tell you that they use it not only to blurt and to do research, but that they meet several people and build lasting personal and professional relationships. And who doesn’t love that?

2. Learn the vernacular: Not sure how to add to someone’s ‘Twitter page’? Curious how you ‘become a fan’ of someone? You def need to have a hand holding so that, when you try to do this professionally, you dont automatically alienate those that you are trying to engage. To step into their world without learning the language is just as offensive as traveling abroad with nothing but your American English. Dont be ‘that guy’.

3. RTs, @replies, DMs and Hashs: Learn fully what each entails, not only how to do it, but the courtesy behind each. You dont want to DM someone you just found via search, because, you cant unless they’ve added you. If you only post without @replying you arent a part of the community, you’re spam. Figure out how the community interacts and remember it – take notes.

4. Twitter Search & Recommendations: Ask your yoda for who they follow. Even if you arent in the same industry or have the same likes, have them give you 3 generic people to follow and 2 topical. Have them show you Twitter Search and how to use it to follow people. Maybe ask for one of their lists to also watch without cluttering your main feed.

5. Practice, Practice, Practice. Personally: Dont expect to jump right into Twitter for professional reasons, either for work or for building your career right away. Give yourself time to play and learn and build a base. Add Twitter to your mobile phone to really understand the interactivity of it all.

Special thanks to MF for her questions and ability to understand that I’m not a Twitter Diva – but that I just want her to do it right and benefit. Much love for the inspiration for the post. :)

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