Re-posted from my original article in Storytelling Magazine 2011.
Q: What is Twitter?
A: Twitter is a room on the internet that is open 24 hours a day where you can speak and listen to conversations happening around the world.
Q: Isn’t that what e-mail or a phone call is for?
A: Have you ever spent all day trying to get a Verizon representative on the phone or waited weeks for an answer to an important e-mail? Twitter conversations can happen instantaneously.
Q: Yeah, but I’m already overwhelmed with online stuff why should I worry about another one?
A: Twitter gives you the most bang for your buck, period!
Q: What does that mean?
A: Whether you choose to speak, eavesdrop on global conversations, or contact others directly, you are limited to 140 characters. That’s roughly 18 words. It’s quick, to the point and for those who tend to ramble, it keeps things tightly focused.
Q: Facebook consumes gobs of my time, won’t Twitter?
A: Nope. You don’t have to worry about photo albums, answering messages from old boyfriends, or losing hours of your life playing Mob Wars or Farmville. On Twitter you simply speak or listen.
Q: Isn’t Twitter just a stripped down version of Facebook?
A: No. Facebook is used to make personal connections. Twitter is used to make business connections. One is like a living room while the other is like an office space. Facebook will punish you if you use it strictly for business, Twitter won’t.
Q: How do I sign up?
A: Go to www.twitter.com. Choose a user name and password. My user name is slashcoleman. I used my own name. Others use something clever like storyconnect. (Hint: Use your first and last name, no capital letters or spaces)
Q: Any advice for creating my bio?
A: Reveal your most unique aspects. Avoid dry and factual and lean toward unique and truthful. Rather than write, “Award winning storyteller from Lexington, VA,” write “Storyteller and bicycling enthusiast who loves fishing.”
Q: What am I seeing on my screen now that I signed up?
A: A few self explanatory links at the top, space to write your tweets, followers, following and listed.
Q: What is it called when you speak on Twitter?
A: Tweeting. You simply write something in the empty space labeled, “What’s Happening?” and push the Tweet button.
Q: I signed up, what do I do now?
A: Click the Find People link. Type in someone’s name. If they come up, follow them. Now, when they send out a tweet, you’ll see it.
Q: What does “following” mean?
A: It means you are following this persons tweets.
Q: What does “followers” mean?
A: These are people who are listing to your tweets.
Slash Coleman is a professional storyteller best known for his award-winning PBS special "The Neon Man and Me." His twitter campaign helped him win over PBS stations nationwide and land a two year distribution deal with NETA His recent column in Storytelling Magazine concentrates on social media and marketing strategies for artists and he was most recently featured on the NPR series "How Artists Make Money." For more information about Slash Coleman - please visit www.slashcoleman.com