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Follow Planet Green on Twitter: @PlanetGreenTwitter is a great way to stay up-to-date about whatever it is you're interested in. If you like TreeHugger, you can get all TreeHugger headlines by following @TH_rss. If you want to interact with TreeHugger writers and see what we're interested in, follow @TreeHugger for links, ideas and conversation from TreeHugger staff.
Don't know what Twitter is? Here's an overview:
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a "social networking and micro-blogging service that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length", as defined by Wikipedia.
In other words, it's a site that people use to share what they are doing with their friends in 140 characters at a time (the length of a cell phone text message). But it has grown to also be a great resource for finding and sharing news and conversing with people, so it's a fun site to be a part of.
Below is a great explanation of Twitter by Common Craft.
If you're interested in learning more about Twitter below are some basic tips for Twitter to help you get the most out of your time there.
How to Use Twitter
To use Twitter, first sign up for an account. It's free. Pick a screen name that you like because this is what other Twitter users will know you by and use to address you. If you have a nickname or your own brand name or are a blogger, it might make sense to use that name for your screen name. Once you're all set up, just type in to the box asking "What are you doing?" You can put in links to stories or videos you like online, words of wisdom or mundane minutiae describing your day. You can be as boring or as interesting as you like, though the logic goes that the more interesting you are, the more followers you'll get and the more people that will see your Tweets.
Understanding Twitter Lingo
Twitter has some simple lingo that you will want to learn if you want to use Twitter effectively. Thankfully, it's really easy to learn. The four main things to know about are tweet, the at-sign (@), RT or ReTweeting and Followers and Following. There are some other tips you can learn, but those are the first three you should know about.
What is a Tweet?
A tweet is Twitters word for an update. So every time you update your Twitter, that is a tweet. The act of sending a tweet is called tweeting.
Followers and Following
On Twitter, followers are people that have subscribed to your tweet updates, meaning they want to read what you have to say, so they have opted-in to have your tweets show up on their Twitter home page. Everyone's Twitter home page will be different depending on who they are following. And anyone who you have chosen to get updates from are those that you are following. You can follow as many people as you'd like. And if you follow someone on accident or decide to stop following someone, you can click "un-follow."
Using The At-Sign @ on Twitter
The at-sign (this symbol: @) is an important part of Twitter. Putting an at-sign (@) in front of someone's screen name will make the name clickable after you tweet and will also let them know you have talked about them. So if you're talking about President Obama, (yes, he's on Twitter), you might want to put @BarackObama so that anyone seeing your tweet will be able to click on his name and then go to his profile if they want. You don't have to do this - you could just put the name without an @ in front of it - but the site is more user-friendly when you can click on people's names.
What does @Reply mean?
An @Reply is when someone either replies to a tweet you have sent or says something to you or about you through a tweet of their own.
What does RT mean?
RT is short for ReTweeting. Because tweets can only be 140 characters Twitter users use abbreviations like RT to save space. ReTweeting a post means sending a tweet that is a verbatim (or close to it) copy of a tweet someone else has sent. For example if TreeHugger sent a tweet that had a great link to an article such as "this is a really great article about going green. LINK" and you wanted to share that with your friends, you could RT or ReTweet it by typing "RT @TreeHugger this is a really great article about going green. LINK"
Including RT at the beginning lets other Twitter users know that you didn't originally write that tweet, @TreeHugger did, but you liked it enough to share. It is a great way to spread tweets you like, so don't hesitate to try out an RT. If you get it wrong, chances are someone on Twitter will let you know.
How is Twitter green?
Twitter can be used to follow or share news, so it can definitely be used to find, follow and share green news. Both TreeHugger and Planet Green are on Twitter, so you can get our take on stories and engage in conversation with us there. We also post a Twitter feed of our RSS stream, so you can get TreeHugger headlines on Twitter. Follow @TH_RSS for those. And there are a lot of other great green blogs and professionals on Twitter. Use the search feature on Twitter to search for certain words and you can find people interested in the same subjects you are. You can also share green tips in tweets or links to articles you want others to read. Hashtags are another way to spread green news on Twitter. Read our post on using the Twitter #greenstream hashtag for more information.
There are plenty of other tips and tools to make you Twitter use more enjoyable that we will share at a later time. But for now, take these tips and go get started. It's not for everyone, but it's a fun thing to try and if you like it, be sure to follow TreeHugger and PlanetGreen and tweet @ us so we can say hi!