Twitter Tutorial for 2020

Mark Friedman
Santa Fe, NM
10/1/2020

Twitter is one of the most powerful of modern social media tools. And it is accessible to anyone who is willing to put in just a little effort. (This tutorial is intended to take you through the basics of how to sign up and how to send tweets. It gives the main part of a list of twitter addresses that has taken years to assemble and is useful in political advocacy. I hope you find it helpful.

SIGNING UP FOR TWITTER is easy and free. Go to twitter.com. You will need to provide your real name and email address. This may be validated by an email confirmation process. Your name and email address are kept confidential by Twitter. (Of course, who knows if they will ever be hacked. It’s a calculated risk.) You will get to choose two other names that can be changed whenever you want. The first name is your twitter @ address. This can be anything that is not used by someone else. My current twitter address in the examples below is @circ62951413. It is deliberately cryptic and can be changed at any time. The second name is your public facing name. This too can be your real name (not recommended) or something more cryptic. Mine is currently FDDM. Go to twitter.com and search for either name and you can see the kind of tweets I have been sending out.

SENDING TWEETS is easy and also free. Sign in to twitter.com. Click on the send tweet symbol above. You will be taken to a form where you can compose a tweet. A tweet consists of a message of no more that 280 characters long including spaces and the addresses you are sending it to. See the list of twitter addresses at the end of this document. The next section addresses choosing messages and recipient addresses.

TWITTER MESSAGING: I typically send two types of tweets: broadcast and targeted.

Broadcast Tweets

I use the first four groups on the address list below for “broadcast” tweets. These are intended to reach as many important people and organizations as possible. For example, one broadcast tweet I sent  went to groups 1, 2 and 3 and garnered over 1,300 “impressions.” Impressions are the principle currency of Twitter. In theory they mean the number of times your tweet shows up in someone’s twitter feed, so that they “could possibly” have seen it. Every important person on earth has someone checking their twitter feed. You can also get hearts, and best of all, “retweets,” best because they boost impressions.

Targeted Tweets

The second kind of tweet I send are targeted tweets. These can be used to send targeted advice or criticism to elected officials or anyone else.

Attaching pictures and internet links are powerful ways to amplify your message (see “Adding Attachments” below.) Notice the reference to #Trump. You can put a “#” symbol in front of any word and it expands the tweet’s distribution. Use ALL CAPS sparingly.

TRACKING TWITTER EFFECTS: Look at the first tweet example above and you will see a set of symbols that appear beneath each tweet. The most important of these is the one with three verticle lines. This tells you how many “impressions” you tweet has gained. This is a crude measure that (honestly) no-one really understands. The definition is “number of times the tweet appeared in someone’s twitter feed,” that is the number of times it COULD have been read. There is no direct way to tell if was actually read. The number of impressions is the best measure of the impact of your tweet. With most tweets you want this number to be as large as possible. If your tweet is just sent to two or three people (e.g ‪@realDonaldTrump @FoxandFriends @FoxNews) then 2 to 5 impressions is really all you want. The other two symbols worth commenting on are retweets and replies. Retweets can be very powerful, but in my experience are relatively rare. I recommend that you do not EVER read the replies. They are usually angry crazy stuff you don’t want to hear. Times are stressful enough without this kind of nonsense. Protect yourself.

ADDING ATTACHMENTS: You can’t attach Word or pdf documents to a tweet. BUT you can attach pictures and web links. If you attach a web link it will often come with a picture automatically.  This can be very powerful. Rather than try to describe the options here, I suggest you scan through of other people. You can read the twitter feed of anyone with a twitter account. (See below about finding new twitter addresses.) You can learn a lot by reading other people’s tweets.

SELECTED TWITTER ADDRESSES (as of Oct 1, 2020): Following is a list of useful progressive advocacy twitter addresses, broken into 13 categories. If you read through the list you will get the idea behind each grouping. If your message is short, you can often get all the addresses from an entire group into a single tweet. Otherwise, you can edit the message so it uses fewer characters (a skill you will develop over time – hint: for example, use “&” instead of the word “and”). Or you can break the address list between two separate tweets with the same message.  You can mix and match addresses in any way you want. As you gain experience you will want to add more addresses to this list and perhaps create new categories. You can find the twitter address of any person or organization by doing a simple Google search on their name with the word “twitter.” Even the Pope has a twitter address (@Pontifex).

 

1. National Press:

@FoxandFriends @FoxNews @CNN @ABC @NBC @CBS @MSNBC @AP @NPR @Wearesinclair @washingtonpost @nytimes @latimes @WJS @Time @USAToday @Guardian @DerSpiegel

2. National TV News Shows & Personalities:

‪@maddow ‪@lawrence ‪@allinwithChris ‪@AliVelshi‪@AriMelber ‪@NicolleDWallace ‪@JoyAnnReid ‪@JoeNBC‪@SRuhl ‪@SteveKornacki ‪@11thHour  ‪@FoxandFriends ‪@WeareSinclair ‪@seanhannity‪@limbaugh ‪@TuckerCarlson ‪@JudgeJeanine ‪#alexJones

3. National Variety/Comedy Shows:

@colbertlateshow @LateNightSeth @FallonTonight @JimmyKimmelLive @Trevornoah @StephMillerShow @Thom_Hartman @billmaher @KeithOlbermann @robreiner @nbcsnl

4. Local/Regional Press:

@courierjournal @statejournal @DMRegister #desmoinesregister@postandcourier @DallasNews @HoustonChron@The_Forecaster @theobserver @newsobserver@azcentral @TucsonStar @FresnoBee #LasCrucesBulletin @LimaNews @onwnews @oshnorthstar
MN @StarTribune @PioneerPress @mndailynews
WI @journalsentinel @WiStateJournal @aarpwi
OH @ThisWeekNews @sentineltribune @PDNewsGuild
PA @PittsburghPG @LancasterOnline @PhillyInquirer
FL @SunSentinel @Florida_Today @TCPalm @tbtnewspaper

5. Legal:

@ChuckRsVoice @BarbMcQuade @JoyceWhiteVance @NatlAssnAttysGn @DemocraticAGs @EricHolder @ACLU @TishJames

6. Religious voices & organizations:
Catholic: @NY Arch @CardinalDolan @Pontifex
Protestant: @JoyceMeyer @MaxLucado
Baptist: @VABaptists @GABaptist
#PatRobertson @FRCdc @FRCAction @tperkins

7. Veteran Groups:
@VetNewsUSA @vnnvets @VoteVets

8. Health: @CDC @CDCgov @NIH #Fauci #CV19 #COVID @HealthNYGov @NYStateofHealth @LaDeptHealth @AHAhospitals @CAPPublicHealth @@WHO @ASTHO @NASTAD @NACCHOalerts @cbhda

9. Post Office:
#ProtectTheUSPS #ProtectThePostOffice
#SaveThePostOffice #SaveTheUSPS

10. Nonprofit Groups:
@Indivisible @IndivisibleTeam @ezralevin @leahgreenbm
@MoveOn @VoteVets @LincolnProject

11. Republican Elected Officials (and related newspapers):
@SenateMajLeader @courierjournal
@statejournal 2020 @AmyMcGrathKY
@SenJoniErnst @DMRegister
@LindseyGrahamSC @postandcourier
@JohnCornyn @DallasNews @HoustonChron
@SenatorCollins @The_Forecaster
@SenThomTillis @theobserver
@SenMcSallyAZ @azcentral @TucsonStar
@RepDevinNunes @FresnoBee
@Yvette4congress #LasCrucesBulletin
@Jim_Jordan @LimaNews @TheJordanWatch
@SenRonJohnson   WI @onwnews  @oshnorthstar
#chuckgrassley @GrasleyPress #desmoinesregister

12. Democratic Elected Officials:
@JoeBiden @SenKamalaHarris @TomPerez @BarackObama @SpeakerPelosi @SenChuckSchumer @StaceyAbrams  @SenWarren @SenSanders @RepJerryNadler @RepMaloney@amyklobuchar @WhipClyburn  @RepAdamSchiff @RepRoKhanna @HakeemJeffries @tedlieu @SenateDems @HouseDemocrats