What is Twitter? A newbie guide to 140 characters and less

We often talk about Twitter and now the social media craze has struck NASCAR drivers also. If you aren't too sure on the whole idea of Twitter and social media itself, let me introduce you to the ins and outs of Twitter and the act of tweeting.

What it is: Twitter is a social media platform, much in the same as Facebook, Google +, MySpace, etc. but with Twitter you reach millions of people without the need to send friend requests to everyone. The catch, you are limited to 140 characters or less. Abbreviating your thoughts may seem like a challenge, but now there are many ways to get around the 140 character limit through apps like Twitlonger.com.

Why: The better question, why not? Twitter gives you the opportunity to interact with the stars of NASCAR; Jimmie JohnsonMatt KensethKyle Busch and Jeff Gordon are among the growing list of NASCAR drivers who take their personal time to chat with the fans. Many drivers conduct question and answer sessions and even have fan giveaways, so why would you want to miss that? Also among the avid Twitter users, every track on the NASCAR circuit. When the race is headed their way, ticket giveaways usually follow via contests.

How: Learning something new may seem daunting, but Twitter is not rocket science. Let me break it down in a few steps.
  • Step 1. Create an account by visiting http://twitter.com/. (Tip: Choose a username that you want forever, if you ever feel the need to change your name, it's a hassle. Simply, choose smart in the beginning.) 
  • Step 2. Meet new friends. Don't know anyone on Twitter?  There are millions of people using the site discussing everything from NASCAR to politics to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, so you can find friends in all areas of your interests. Type in the search bar: NASCAR and it will bring up NASCAR-related tweets, start there. Of course, follow Skirts and Scuffs for all the latest NASCAR news and we tweet all our articles for you to link to.
  • Step 3. When tweeting friends, you include the @ before their name. So if you wanted to Tweet Skirts and Scuffs, it should read: @SkirtsandScuffs I love your Chase coverage! Great job.  
  • Step 4. To privately message someone, that is called a DM (direct message). To do so, there are two options, on their full profile you can click on the envelope that says message me but to DM someone, they must be following you also. The second way, prior to the @ you include DM, so if you choose to DM Skirts and Scuffs it should look like this: DM @SkirtsandScuffs Just wanted to say great job! That will appear as a private message to us only.
  • Step 5. Hashtags are commonly placed at the end of your tweet. Example: @SkirtsandScuffs Just wanted to say great job! #NASCAR  That means when someone searches for NASCAR related tweets, your tweet will show up. Hashtags can be relative to your tweet or then you have the very random and funny hashtags. 
  • Step 6. As you start to get the hang of Twitter, check out the apps for your desktop and cellphone. Popular apps include Tweetdeck and Seesmic.
  • Step 7. Go tweet and mingle. I have made some great friends on Twitter and have carried that friendship beyond Twitter, so 140 characters is a start but make it what you will. 
Now, what are you waiting for?  If you do not have Twitter...go...sign up...and Happy Tweeting! WARNING: Tweeting is highly addictive! The author and Skirts and Scuffs is not liable for your newfound addiction. 
What is Twitter? A newbie guide to 140 characters and less What is Twitter? A newbie guide to 140 characters and less Reviewed by Unknown on Saturday, October 08, 2011 Rating: 5