*This week I’ll be talking about Twitter.  If you’re an old hand at Twitter, you’ll maybe want to skip these.  Or stick around and offer your own tips in the comments.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Twitter, that oft-maligned and equally oft-lauded medium of social networking.  Yes, it can become a massive time suck.  But it can also be very effective in both marketing and making connections with other people, especially authors.
If you look at my Twitter profile (@StephanieLMcGee), I’ve almost eight thousand tweets.  Yes, that’s a lot.  But I tweet as I do all sorts of things on my computer.  So I’m totally multi-tasking.  (I’ll get to how I do that on tk.)
We’ll start with the basics, for those of you who may not be terribly familiar with it (or unsure of its utility).
First off, the biggest challenge of Twitter: the 140 character limit.  This can be the greatest tool, believe it or not, for an author who uses Twitter.  Each tweet is a lesson in brevity.  Yes, you can use abbreviations.  And I often will if I’m in a hurry.
With 140 characters you need to get to the point quickly.  Yes, you can spread your message across multiple tweets, but that gets tedious to follow.
On the basic Twitter homepage, you have many different options for what to click.  We’ll start off in your Twitter timeline, the main feed.
User names: Click on this and you’ll get a pop-out of their basic information.  (It takes over the right-hand sidebar on the Twitter main page.)  Here you’ll see their brief bio, location, how many users they’re following, how many users are following them, etcetera.
You also get the option from this screen to send the user a message.  You’re still limited to 140 characters in direct messages on Twitter, but these don’t go out to the general public like @ mentions and @ replies do.
Next to that is the pull-down menu to add the user to a list.  (More on lists on Thursday.)  And that last button is for all sorts of administrative stuff.  From that drop-down menu you can mention the user, block them, or report them for spam.
In this same area you can choose whether their retweets will show up in your feed or if their tweets will come to your phone.

Come back tomorrow for more on the Twitter main feed.  If you’re on Twitter, drop your handle in the comments so we can connect with you.  If you’re not on Twitter, read tomorrow’s post then tell us why you’re not there.  And as always, any thoughts you have are welcome in the comments.