Keeping the Gigadream Alive with Twitter

Oamaru has slipped to second place in recent days in the year-long Gigatown competition, but fear not! We are planning a number of competitions and activities to get more and more people involved in the #gigatownoamaru campaign, and to show more and more Oamaruvians how to make use of social media, not just to support the Gigatown initiative, but also to help them use these tools for their own personal and business lives. In the meantime, we have put together a short primer on how to use Twitter, one of the most powerful (and frankly, easiest) ways to gain points for #gigatownoamaru. Have a read of these instructions, and if you have any questions about how to set up your Twitter account, or use its functionality, don’t hesitate to contact me on @GiggityOamaru. 

How to Get Started with Twitter

Instructions for #gigatownoamaru Supporters

Twitter is a powerful and popular social media platform that allows users to share their thoughts with the world in short, (140 characters or fewer) bursts. With 554 million accounts, there is no question that using Twitter has the potential to expose your ideas, your business and our town to a vast number of people. However, the Twitter interface is not 100% intuitive, so here are some pointers to help you out.

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1. Get a Twitter App 

Twitter is designed primarily to work on a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) but you can also use Twitter on a desktop computer. On a mobile device, simply download the Twitter app (it’s free!) and follow the on-screen instructions to set up an account (details below). On a computer, go to www.twitter.com and click on the link to sign in, which will lead you to a page where you can download the computer app.

2. Set Up an Account

Twitter users all must have a unique username, which is indicated by a “@“ followed by a name. You can use whatever name you like (as long as it’s not already taken) but you’ll want it to be relatively short, since the longer it is, the less space there is for people to tag you in their messages, because of that 140-character limit. Also, Twitter has rules about not using offensive names (but you would not want to do that, anyway). 

3. Find People to Follow

Once you have set up your account, Twitter will ask you a couple of questions to find out what sorts of things you’re interested in to see what users might be suitable for you to follow. You can skip this, but it is helpful to find a few people to follow so that your timeline will be populated with tweets. You can search for users by name, or by topics, or by location. 

4. Tagging

You may have noticed that there is always a “#” in front of “#gigatownoamaru”. That # is the protocol for tagging in Twitter (and now in Facebook, too). Think of this as the “keyword” indicator, since it allows other users with similar interests to find tweets that may be of interest to them. If you are an avid knitter, and you just finished knitting a jumper you’ve been working on for ages, you could write “Phew! Finally finished that #jumper I’ve been working on for months. Time for a glass of wine!” You can have as many tags in a tweet as you like, but don’t go overboard! And if you’re posting for Gigatown, don’t forget to use either the #gigatownoamaru or #gigatownoam tag in your tweet, too! (But don’t use both—@ChorusNZ only counts the first #gigatown[yourtown] tag in any tweet, so don’t waste characters.)

5. Tweeting

Now that you have an account, start tweeting! You can write whatever you like, as long as it stays within the 140-character limit. You can post just text, but you can also link to websites and post photos, too. And if you see a tweet from someone else that you’d like to forward to your own friends, you can “retweet” it (and if it has a #gigatownoam tag, you’ll gain us a point, too). But note: Twitter imposes a limit of no more than four retweets for every original tweet you write. 

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