It’s finally January 31, and that means that the paperback edition of Release Me is on sale in the U.K. today! Headline and Eternal Romance got the celebration started this morning on Twitter with an absolutely awesome hashtag: #starknaked
Love it … and why didn’t I think of that? (In case you don’t know, Damien Stark is the sexy, mysterious hero of Release Me. Have you seen the Damien Stark Pinterest Board?)
Come on and join the fun! I’m also celebrating the news that the original U.S. edition of Release Me is back on the New York Times bestseller list and is now going into it’s fourth week on the USA Today list! Yay!!!
Let’s face it: Twitter can be daunting. Especially if you follow a lot of people. Maybe you’re an author and follow other writers, fans, publishers, agents, celebrities, whoever. Maybe you just enjoy the conversation on Twitter and so you follow a bunch of different folks from celebrities to local businesses to family members.
Whether you follow fifty people or fifty-thousand, using Twitter lists can make the experience much saner! (Also, a lot of folks don’t realize that you can add someone to a list without actually following them!)
This post will teach you how to use Twitter lists to organize Twitter and to better navigate Twitter.
Let’s get started. Lists are a way that you can sort through the stream of conversation that is the world of Twitter. I have thousands of people I follow. If I had to find my friends’ or family’s tweets in that stream, I’d be dead meat. But if I put everyone in a private “Family” list, all I have to do is go to that list to see what everyone is up to.
Similarly, I can keep all my publishers in one list, celebrities I follow, local stores I frequent, etc. etc.
Not only that, but I don’t necessarily have to create the list! Lists can be either public or private–and you can subscribe to the public ones! That’s how I keep track of people in my local writing group chapter. I subscribe to the Twitter list that a member of the group created. Sweet!
Creating a List
What you see when you arrive on Twitter when you’re logged in.
First thing you want to do is go to Twitter and log in. Once you go, you should see something like the image on the left (my Twitter page).
Let’s say that you want to put your five best friends into a list called “Besties.” First, you need to go to where you set up the lists in Twitter. That is in the top right of the screen–the little gear next to the blue writing prompt icon.
When you click and pull down, it will look like this:
The “gear” on Twitter drops down to a menu that includes “lists”
Now, click on “lists”.
This will take you to a page that looks like this:
This is what you see when you click on Lists. If you don’t have Lists, the “list” portion will be empty. But we’ll soon fix that!
See the “Create List” button to the right of “Lists Subscribed to/Member of”? Click on that!
You’ll get a new box that looks like this:
We wanted to call the List “Besties” so you’d type that in the List Name. You don’t have to have a description, but you can add it if you want.
If this list is just for you to organize your Twitter life, you may want to keep it Private (just click that button). If you want other people to be able to see (and subscribe) to your list, then keep it on the default Public setting.
Once your list is created, Twitter will prompt you to add people to it. Navigate to the people you want using their name or their Twitter handle (i.e., @juliekenner). Their information will pop up in list format. (In the image below, I searched for my buddy Dee Davis.)
Beside the person’s name will be a little icon that looks like a person with a drop down arrow. Click on the arrow to get another menu. It will look something like this:
The first step to adding someone to a list. Click the little person icon!
As you can see, the third item on the drop down menu is Add or remove from lists. Click that.
You will get yet another screen. This one will show you all the lists you have created with little check boxes beside them. Check the box you want to add your friend to (in our example, you’d check “Besties,” but since I hadn’t created that list when I took the screenshot, we’ll just say that we want to add Dee to “my new list”).
It will look a bit like this:
Check the appropriate box and voila! you have a list!
To add more people, simply search for that person, click on the little “people” icon and repeat the process!
Once you have lists in place, when you navigate to that list, you see only the tweets made by the people in your list. A much more manageable chunk!
But how do you navigate to the list?
Just click on the “me” button at the top of your screen. The bottom item on the top left box is “lists”. Click there, and you will see all of your lists pop up underneath your profile box.
This is the Box on the Me Screen
So there you have it! That’s how you set up (and find) a list!
But what if you want to subscribe to someone else’s list? Or tell them how to subscribe to yours?
When you arrive, you’ll see the box in the top left with “Lists” as the bottom option. Click on that, and you get to what I’m calling the “List View” page.
One of those is Trident Agents. If you click on that, you’re given the option to subscribe. (See, it’s in the top left about where it used to say “Lists”). Just click!
Now back at your own profile, when you go to your List View, Trident Agents will be in your lists. Not as one you created, but as one you subscribe to. Click on it, and you will be seeing only those tweets! Groovy!
So there you go! I hope this intro to using Twitter lists was helpful!
Next Twitter How-to: Using hashtags (#)!
Did this help? What Twitter topics would you like to see covered?
P.S. - Book two of my Stark Trilogy - Claim Me - is in it's third week on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists! And Complete Me comes out July 30. WOOT! (And if you missed book 1, Release Me, grab your copy now! I'm thrilled that it's now in it's 11th week as a USA Today bestseller!)
P.P.S. And why not scroll down and share the post? After all, sharing is sexy!
I recently set up a Twitter list for a group of traditionally published authors (myself included) who are selling new and backlist copy in digital format. (You can find us at https://twitter.com/juliekenner/kindleklatch-authors - come on, follow along! You may find an author you love!)
In the process, I learned that Twitter is a confusing little birdie for a lot of folks. And I figured if there were a few people who were still finding their way around Twitter in my very small sampling, then there are probably a lot more people out there in cyberspace who want to figure out this whole Twitter thing, but are still a bit baffled by it.
So this series of posts is for you! I’m starting with the basics and I’ll move on to cover more complicated stuff (like using apps like Hootsuite to organize hashtag searches and lists — don’t worry if that doesn’t make sense yet. It will!)
Right here is a video I did on how to set up a Twitter account. I, however, hate blogs that put all the information in a video, so I’ve also set it out with text and pictures below. So if you’re a video person, fab. Enjoy! But if, like me, you want to strangle instructional videos posted without transcripts, then read on. It’s not a transcript, but the information is the same!
Getting Set Up On Twitter
First of all, you need a Twitter account. Go to http://www.twitter.com and set one up. Right now, the page looks like this (see where it tells you to set-up a new account? Just follow those instructions.
Once you have a Twitter “handle” (mine is JulieKenner) then you’re ready to rock-and-roll.
Put in all the info and it will take you to another page that lets you pick your userID. I just created a silly one (Me_And_My_Id) but you want to use the Name You Publish Under so that readers can find you. (An exception to this is if you have multiple pen names. I do, and for a while I tried to manage multiple twitter accounts. It’s a pain in the butt. I finally decided that I tweet as me (Julie Kenner) about all the names I write as (Julie Kenner, J.K. Beck, J. Kenner). MUCH easier. And, hey, I call it cross promotion!
This is the screen you’ll see when you’re setting up your Twitter username
Once you have your username set up, you will go to a screen that will walk you through the next few steps. First of all, it’s going to suggest some people for you to follow. (You have to add a few people before it will show a grayed out box at the bottom of their suggested list. Then you can — finally — skip to your profile).
The Profile Section
When you get to the “Add a Character” page, let’s pause. There, you want to upload an image. If you’re a writer, upload a nice, clean image of yourself (not your book). Twitter’s about hanging out. Selling your books is a nice side-benefit, but mostly you want to think of it as hanging out at a cocktail party.
The page where you add your website.
Your bio is important. You only have 160 characters. Make it entertaining, but also make it be about who you are and what you do. I did a silly one for My Id, but my real bio on Twitter is Author. Mom. Homeschooler. Love film, coffee, wine, chocolate, books. I also write as J.K. Beck & J. Kenner. My erotic romance, Release Me, is coming soon!
But you want them to get to your website, right? And learn more about you! So you need to add the website link. Go to the little gear-looking thing in the top right of the screen. Click the arrow and pull down to “Settings”. Once there, you can add a link to your site (see the image above for what the page looks like).
This is where you set up your profile
Here’s a tip, though, that I took from Michael Hyatt. Instead of leading to my site’s main page, I created a specific landing page for Twitter traffic. That allows me to expand the 160 character bio to something longer and more engaging. You can see my About J.K. Twitter landing page here. (And there, you can also see that I’ve blinged up the background for my Twitter page.)
Now, this post isn’t going to delve into doing special wallpaper for Twitter (it’s easier than it sounds, but I’ll save it for later), but you do want to pick a design. Again, use that pulldown menu to modify the various elements of the look of your twitter site.
There you go! You have a basic Twitter site! Congrats!
Yeah, well, so what? What now?
Well, that is the question of the day, isn’t it? There are a lot of topics to cover ranging from how to follow people, how to Tweet, how to reply, how to insert links and pictures, how to follow a list of people, how to create a list, how to use an application such as Hootsuite to make all that easier, how to organize and find things using hashtags (#), how to interpret all the acronyms such as RT and DM.
Never fear, it’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. We’re going to take the easiest ones today and save the others for later. On board right now:
how to Tweet
how to follow somebody
how to “talk” to somebody specific
how to reply
how to share Cool Stuff with your Twitter world using “retweet”
First off, Twitter makes a lot more sense if you think of it as a giant cocktail party that is so big that even though you know a decent number of people there, you probably aren’t standing right next to them. You want to move through the party and get your buds within earshot distance. Keep that analogy in mind as we go through this.
How to Tweet
You arrive at the party. You’re so thrilled, you just want to shout out “Hello, everyone!”
You do that by “tweeting”. Folks who are “following you” (near you at the cocktail party) will hear you.
At the party, you holler. On Twitter, you click on the little box in the upper right that looks like a piece of paper. A box opens. You say your hello in 140 characters or less. You click the button that says Tweet. (On some pages on the Twitter screen, there is also a “Tweet here” box. You can use that, too. But the blue paper is always in the top right of your screen.
How to get involved in the conversation: Follow somebody!
Folks are friendly on Twitter. Many will follow you back if you follow them. You can use the search box at the top of the page to find friends (or celebrities or anybody) and follow them. Once you’re following people, all the tweets from all the people you’re following show up in your “twitterfeed”. (I follow a lot of people; it’s too much. I can’t keep track of the folks I want to know about at any particular time without using lists. We’ll talk about those in the next post in this series.)
To follow somebody, just click on the button on their profile that says “Follow”. Try it for me. Put Julie Kenner or @juliekenner in the little search bar at the top of the page. See my profile come up? Now click the box that says “Follow” (after you do, Twitter will helpfully recommend other folks for you to follow!) (I do not autofollow people, so I won’t see that you’ve followed me unless you Tweet to me, which I’ll show you how to do below. Tweet me with something like: Hey, @juliekenner. Liked the blog post. Follow me?
Once you are following folks, your stream can get crowded. The image is what my twitter stream page looks like:
This is what your Twitter feed looks like
How to Talk to Someone or Reply to someone:
So, once you have followers, chances are you want to engage them in conversation. (This is even more detailed in the video, so if any of this doesn’t make sense, try that route before you pull your hair out.)
All you need to do is hover over a tweet by someone in your timeline. Options pop up beneath. You want “reply”
Click that. See how Twitter fills in @Person for you? Don’t delete that! That’s they’re address on Twitter (mine is @juliekenner. yours is @YourUsername)
Leave that at the beginning and type your short message. Click to send. Voila! Technically you are replying to their tweet, but you can also use that opportunity to start an entirely new conversation.
If someone you want to talk with isn’t in your stream, use the Blue Box Up Top to simply start a conversation: Hey, @juliekenner. What’s up? (The @juliekenner means the message will come to me).
So where do you find the messages that come to you?
See the list on the top of your page? There is Home, @ Connect, # Discover, and Me
Home: Your twitter stream (everything from everyone you follow). In otherwords, all the folks at the cocktail party that you’ve bumped into.
@Connect: Stuff folks are saying to you.
# Discover: specific conversations at the party that you can eavesdrop on. Maybe #amwriting or #ameating or #ebooks or #vampirediaries — the list is huge (and we’ll talk more about hastags later)
Me: essentially everything that you’ve posted.
How to share cool stuff using Retweet
Sometimes, neat stuff will come into your stream and you want to share it with your followers (remember, they don’t see your stream). You want to “retweet”.
Just click on “retweet” instead of “reply” and it goes out from you, so your followers see it!
(There are actually two ways to RT, but we’ll talk about that next time).
So there you have it! You’re no longer a Total Newbie! We’ll move on next time and you’ll be up to Journeyman user…woot!
Feeling full up with the knowledge? Has it helped? Got specific questions or comments? Leave them below and I’ll try to address them in the next day or so!
Found this fascinating post over at Kristen Lamb’s Blog. Kristen always has such great things to say about social media … if you don’t already follow her blog, check it out!
As the Social Media Jedi for Writers, I am very blessed to be able to speak and teach around the country at various writing conferences. I am always open to learning new methods, and I love hearing other perspectives. Yet, with the good, comes the bad, the ugly and the downright—in my POV—boneheaded observations about social media. My favorites?
This is a technical post for the benefit of my fellow students in Kristen Lamb’s social media class (which, by the way, I’m highly recommending!), but obviously I hope that anyone who’s lost in Hoot Suite (an app that I absolutely love) will find this helpful.
Several folks have posted on twitter and on our class loop about being unable to find their class tweets, which have a #wana112 hashtag. It can be confusing. Rather than try to set out instructions, I thought a visual would be helpful. So here’s a video I did to, hopefully, help some of y’all navigate the waters of HootSuite. It seems choppy and full of scary riptides, but I promise once you get in past your toes, the water’s fine!