A Global Coffee Shop

March 24, 2011 05:30 AM

Key Twitter Terms

Handle: This is your user name. It is always preceded by an @ sign.
Follow handle:
This is adding people to your network, similar to Facebook "friending."

If you want to get the buzz from across rural America, just log in to Twitter, the website that allows users to share short bits of information.

"Twitter is like a big coffee shop," says Brandon Hunnicut, a corn farmer from Nebraska. "I can catch the news, check the markets and trade ideas with farmers across the country."

If you were sitting across the table from Hunnicut at the local hot spot, you would know him as Brandon, but on Twitter he is known as @CornFedFarmer. Farmers just like him across the country and around the world are using Twitter to exchange all kinds of farming and ranching information, from nitrogen application tips to horse training techniques.

New technology can sometimes be hard to figure out on the first go-round, so here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming a Tweep (Twitter user).

Step 1. Set up a Twitter account. Go to www.Twitter.com and click "Sign up." Fill in all of your information. Your user name should be something associated with you. Any variation of your name or the name of your farm will work great. Now click "Create my account."

The column on the righthand side of the screen walks you through the ways to use your Twitter account, including instructions for setting up Twitter on your phone and how to personalize your profile. The left side of the screen is where news will appear once you start "following" people. You’re now ready to post your first Tweet!

Step 2. Post a Tweet. Tweets are messages limited to 140 characters. Simply type in the box under the question "What’s happening?" and then click the "Tweet" button. Don’t forget you can only use 140 characters!

Step 3. Start following people (adding them as friends), which automatically adds their Tweets to your updates feed. Type a person’s name in the search bar. When the search box comes up, click on the "People" tab and then the "Follow" button. Once you are following people, their posts will appear on your home page.

Step 4. Set up searches. Searches will help you filter posts to find what you are looking for. Type your search term in the search bar (for example, "agnews" or "cattle") and click "Search." Next, click the "Save this search" button. The search for that term will then be saved. Use the "Search drop down" [illegible] to view all of the Tweets containing that term.

With these four simple steps, you can stay informed about agricultural news across America and the world. If you start using Twitter frequently, you will probably want to download a program like TweetDeck that allows you to set up multiple searches at once. Enjoy the coffee shop talk, and don’t forget to find us on Twitter! We’re at www.Twitter.com/FarmJournal.

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