I have less than an hour to learn about Twitter—can you help?

We’re heading to our first music festival of the season, and want an easy way for groups of strangers to send/share their pictures with us. Am I correct in thinking that among other things, this something Twitter does well? And that it’s got the widest user base so that it’ll be second nature for most people?

I’ve never been to Twitter’s page until today. I have a very vague awareness of a few terms, but understand them mostly from the context of other conversations. Can you give me a rundown of the bare essentials of what I need to do and the key terms I need to know? Something like “Hey good buddy, why don’t you hashtag me a daguerreotype at Rhythmdvl!”

Also, does Twitter have anywhere near the privacy concerns as Facebook?


Twitter does not have privacy concerns because it doesn’t have privacy. The whole point of Twitter is a complete lack of privacy in what you post. If you post something on Twitter that you don’t want the world to see, that’s not a breach, that’s you not knowing what Twitter is.

I would think a shared Facebook album would be easier than twitter.

I’m fine not saying things I’d regret. My understanding of Facebook is that it tracks and collects data on you wherever you go–that once installed on a phone or with scripts allowed on a browser, most Facebook-enabled pages report back to Facebook what you did (that’s oversimplified and I don’t mean to stray).

Or to put it another way, I tend to do most of my searching via DDG on a virtual machine with privacy mode enabled by default because I don’t quite like how Google keeps track of everything.

Basically, I want to avoid saying something like “Hey, would you send us pics? Great, send them to … to … shit, I ran out of time and I didn’t figure out Twitter. Maybe put them in an old fashioned email attachment?”

Instead I want to be one of the cool kids. I’m under the impression (which may very well be wrong) that I can leave a note that says something like “tweet your pics to me at somthingsomething.” And that it’ll be easier than saying “email me your pics”

A shared facebook album may take too much time to set up or require a computer while twitter’s pretty phone ready. The advantage of a shared facebook album is that all the pics are already required. You could send pictures via twitter with hashtags but if your hashtag is just #MusicFestival, well everyone and their kid brother’s going to be tweeting that so you’ll get a lot of noise compiling after the fact. Something like #RhythmdvlMusicFestival would reduce the noise but become more onerous and may be more difficult for strangers to think to use.

You tell them to tweet their photos using hashtag #whatever. Then you can filter twitter to only show tweets tagged with #whatever, and you can see everyone’s photos. I think you can make your twitter account private but I’m not exactly sure what that does. If you’re using twitter to share photos, I’d do it with the assumption that there is no privacy.

edit: If you’re only concerned about you specifically getting the pictures, I wouldn’t even worry about a hashtag. Just make a twitter account and tell them to tweet their pics to @rhythmdvlrocks or whatever your handle is.

You can. It means you have to approve everyone who follows you and they can’t see your tweets unless they’re a follower. I suspect it would be too cumbersome for what he’s trying to do.

If you want to share the pics later, you can collect tweets on Storify.

Step 1: Set up an account. Pick an easy name to remember and spell.
Step 2: Install the app on your phone.
Step 3: Set up your account on the app.
Step 4 (optional): Decide on a handy, easy to remember hashtag.

You run into someone at the Fancy Music Festival and become BFFs, and decide that you want to communicate with each other via the Twitter. Since you’re likely to make multiple BFFs in the carefree and bohemian environment, and they may want to communicate with each other as well, it’s best to just come up with a specific hashtag that they can use. Something specific, easy to remember, and short (don’t bogart the 140 characters, man!).

It’s very likely that the festival itself will have hashtags in use, so don’t go with the obvious, so #FancyMusicFestival and #FMF are out. You may also want to make it event-specific, so that your multiple festivals this year don’t all jumble together (conversely, you may specifically want that - as a bonus, you could print it out on a little banner to hang from your totem for all to see. Does your family have a fun moniker to go by?) You could do something like #FMFVagabonds, or #FMFWagonTrain, or whatever.

Your Twitter app will help you remember the hashtags you use each time you post something. And you may want to encourage people to use multiple tags on their posts, in case they want to include other links (like a combo of #FMF #FMFVagabonds #DrunkHippies #RPBDB etc.). And best of all, you can post links to specific hashtags, so you can share it later on the SDMB!

It seems as if your Twitter feed can be read by anyone who’s following you. But how does it work that you can direct a tweet to someone in particular?

Use @ and then their twitter handle. So, if you write a tweet and include @innerstickler in it, I’ll be notified that you tweeted me.

Consider the following hypothetical tweets:

“I was hanging out with CC last night at McDonald’s.”
“I was hanging out with @CC last night at @McDonalds.”

The first will be broadcast out, and anyone who follows me will have it appear on their feed. Nothing more, nothing less. The second will do the exact same, AND it will notify both owners of the @CC account and the @McDonalds account that I made that tweet. (It will also make “@CC” and “@McDonalds” into hyperlinks, that send you to those specific accounts when you click them.)

Now, let’s get complicated. Consider the following hypotheticals:

@CC: Where were you last night? We were all at McDonald’s!”
“.@CC: Where were you last night? We were all at McDonald’s!”

The first WON’T be broadcast out to everyone that follows me, because the first character of the tweet is an “@”. But, it will notify @CC of the tweet. This is a Twitter conversation. The second WILL be broadcast out to everyone who follows me, because of that period I threw in at the beginning. @CC will still be notified. BOTH tweets will appear on my personal page, and are still public to everyone.

If I just want to contact @CC directly, and not have the world able to see my tweet, I will send a Direct Message to @CC.

As a slight clarification for Munch’s last post regarding Direct Messages, the people involved in the direct message both have to follow each other to allow that to work.

So if I want to DM @RobertDowneyJr, I am shit outta luck, because he’s got eighty twillion followers and I am less than a mote of dust on the infinite beach of the universe.

However, if I want to send a DM to a good friend, they presumably are already following me, as I am following them, and the DM will work perfectly.
In the middle ground are slightly-less-than-overwhelmingly-popular people, who will often add a specific person to their follow list for the sole purpose of allowing a DM with that person, and then after that private confab is over, they’ll unfollow the person once more, shutting off that mode of contact.

I think this clears up my confusion. Specifically, the other day while I was watching a baseball game, the announcer wondered out loud about a fairly obscure issue. Later, he said he had received a tweet from someone providing him the answer. I think your example explains how one guy, watching tv, was able to send a message directly to the announcer, and how the announcer was able to receive it. This was the genesis of my own question about Twitter. I had conceived of it as a form of a continuous personal press conference to anyone who was following. Now I see it can also be directed to just one recipient.

Also, Twitter does have some weird acronyms and customs:

RT: retweet. You’ve seen something that someone else posted, and you want to share it with your followers, or express your affirmation of that sentiment/information/call to arms.

It’s courteous to include the handle (@whoever) of the person from whom you are RTing. If there’s a train of people, the person who originated the tweet and the person that you got it directly from are the usual people to include if space permits.
MT: modified retweet. See the above. With the 140 characters and the citations, you ran out of room. Or you didn’t like how they wrote something, or wanted to edit it for some other reason.

It’s not really safe to do multi-part tweets, but if you do, the most clear option is to create the whole thing elsewhere, and then figure out how many parts there will be, and put a (1/5) (2/5) tag at the end of each section, along with ellipses - again if there’s space.

Like so:

Sorry for the screed, but @halfbaked had some stupid ideas and … (1/3)

… I wanted to make sure everyone was aware that #FancyFestival does card people … (2/3)

…so make sure to have your IDs ready. #drinkresponsibly and have fun! (3/3)

Also, just like anywhere else, ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING, but it seems like on twitter that it more signifies being uncontrollably excited rather than horribly rude.

It is unlikely that the announcer received a DM from someone watching at home - how would he have known to follow Joe Smith in order to get a DM from him? No, what happened was that Joe Smith sent a regular tweet, tagging him “Hey @announcer, Albert Pujols hit .329 his rookie year, not .390”. The announcer would get a notification that he was tagged, and he’d check his twitter feed to read the tweet. I occasionally send tweets that tag the local sports radio show hosts, responding to things they say. No DMs, just regular tweets. They’ll sometimes be read on air, or they’ll respond to them on Twitter, etc.

What Lasciel describes is quite uncommon. Let’s say I send this tweet:

“Hey @GeorgeRRMartin, I have some great ideas for your next book!”

And George RR Martin, not wanting to miss this exciting opportunity, but also not wanting me to publicly reveal these new juicy plot suggestions, follows me in order for us to exchange DMs out of the prying eyes of the filthy masses.

Boy - this system illustrates why many of us old farts like the phone.

Not to be cranky, but since twitter is not nor has ever been intended to be a replacement for phones, I’m not sure where you’re getting that.

Text messaging replaced talking on the phone. I always thought twitter was for people that just couldn’t STFU; much like people that keep facebooking there meals to everyone. But now see that it has some usefulness in the hands ofbthe right people.