Tech Topics: Expanding Your World with a Tweet
Join Twitter to connect with Toastmasters
members and events around the globe.
By Jeff Bailey
As Toastmasters, we love our club meetings. They are fun and educational. We get the opportunity to meet new people and learn about them. It is a rewarding environment that benefits each participant. How can we stay in touch with members away from the weekly club meeting?
Twitter can enhance your Toastmasters experience. You can connect with other members around the world and discuss clubs, projects and any other topic of importance to you. Twitter is a microblogging system that allows you to communicate with others using 140 characters or less. It lets you tell the world what’s on your mind and find out what others are thinking about. Many clubs have a Twitter account that they use to spread the word about Toastmasters events and attract new members.
Getting started on Twitter is easy. You begin by creating an account. Just follow these easy steps:
1. Open your browser and navigate to http://twitter.com. Click the yellow “Join Today” button to begin the process.
2. You will be asked for four pieces of information on the page that comes up:
- Full name. Enter your real name here.
- Username. Enter something resembling your real name. You want to make it easy for people to remember you. I follow people who don’t use their names and it’s hard to remember their usernames. I have to look them up. If you decide to change your username, you can. Think twice about this, however, because your followers may not be able to find you.
- Password. Your password must be six characters or more. Choose a mix of upper-case and lower-case letters, digits and special characters (I have used _@ and #.) Remember: Passwords based on real words are not very safe.
- E-mail address. Twitter will confirm your account using this e-mail address. Moreover, if you forget your password, Twitter will be able to send you a temporary password.
3. Create your account by clicking on the “Create my account” button.
4. Prove that you are human. Unfortunately, there are people who will use computer programs to create hundreds of accounts and then use them to send spam. To protect us from this, Twitter will show you an image displaying two words. You must type the words you see and click “Finish” to prove that a live person, not an automated system, is creating the account. If you don’t enter the correct words you can keep trying. Once this is done, your account will be ready for you to begin finding others.
5. Browse topics to find people who share your interests. Following another user allows you to see their tweets (messages) in the timeline on your Twitter homepage (or cell phone). Feel free to browse the list of the topics on the left. When you click on a topic, a list or Twitter users related to that topic is displayed on the right. You can click the “follow” button to follow any of them. Once you finish browsing, click the “Next step: friends” button at the bottom of your browser Window.
Please note: Twitter will then ask for your e-mail address and password. This is intended to scan your contacts and allow you to see which friends are on Twitter. I really don’t like allowing applications to access my e-mail password and contacts, so I never do this. I think it is best to start with a small group of friends to learn to use the system – together. So disregard that request. Instead, click “Next step: Others” and search for anyone on Twitter.
6. Search for people you know and others who interest you. Feel free to search for me. To do this, enter “Jeff Bailey” in the search field and click the “Search” button. I should be listed near the top. To follow me, select the “follow” button to the left of the profile. Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to do this: You can always find people to follow. Twitter search is easy and you can use it at any time. Now click the “Next step: You’re done!” button.
You are now a Twitter user. This is just the beginning. Take some time to explore Twitter. Create a profile and add a photo. A photo says, “Hey, I am a real person.” Twitter users like following real people. You can do this by selecting the “Profile” menu. Be sure to read the Twitter “help” section.
You can follow someone at any time, and you will see their tweets. While it’s great to find out what others are doing, it’s also fun to share your activities with your friends. Toward the top of your Twitter homepage window you’ll see “What’s happening?” with a rectangle under it. Click in the rectangle. Now type, “This is my first Tweet!” and then click the “Tweet” button.
You have now officially tweeted. Congratulations! You’re now a full-fledged member of the Twitter online community!
Jeff Bailey is a computer consultant and trainer in Cary, North Carolina. He writes about presentation skills on his blog, Wired Presentations. Reach him at wiredpresentations.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/Jeff_Bailey.
Follow the Convention on Twitter!
One of the best things about Twitter is you can keep track of Toastmasters members and events in real-time. A special Toastmasters Convention Twitter account has been created so that you can follow the happenings at the International Convention in August even if you can’t attend. And if you are attending, you can stay abreast of the latest activities and changes by sending tweets directly to your cell phone.
Once you have a Twitter account set up, it’s easy to follow the Convention on Twitter. Simply search for @TIConvention in the “Find People” search box on your Twitter homepage. Alternately, you can visit the Toastmasters Convention homepage at www.toastmasters.org/2010Convention and click the Twitter button. Sign up now to receive pre-Convention tweets!