Broken Bones and Twitter 101 (No, they're not related)

I haven't been online these past few days, except for the occasional peek (a comment here or there, a tweet or two). Life--which I do have outside the web--has been hectic. My three-year-old introduced me to InstaCare and Orthopediatricians when he hurt his arm so much so that he couldn't and wouldn't let me touch it. Three x-rays later and a busted eardrum (mine), the InstaCare radiologist pronounced his elbow normal. No broken bones or fractures. So, the attending doctor proceeded to pop it back into place with twists and complicated maneuvers, sending my poor little one into a screaming match to rival the ladies of Real Housewives of [insert city]. As the complicated manuevers did not produce the effect we were looking for (she did it 3 different times), they gave him a sling and a referral (someone who'd hopefully know what is wrong with him).

Fast forward to the next day: We met the Orthopediatrician (for you guys who don't know medical mumbo jumbo, that 's a kid's doctor who specializes in bones. No, not similar to the TV show Bones). He ordered a new set of x-rays (no screaming this time though my ears were still ringing from the previous one), took a look at it, and gave us the diagnosis: Non-displaced fracture on the humerus. Treatment: a cast for 3 weeks. (Three seems to be the magic number here).

I've now added butler/maid/servant/slave to my résumé. So please forgive me if I haven't been around much. I'm not ignoring or snubbing you. =)


In an attempt to be helpful, I've come up with a simple Twitter 101, for those of you new to Twitter, contemplating diving into Twitter, or don't know what the heck Twitter is.

I'm fairly new to Twitter myself, being only 3 months old after cracking out of my shell to join the blue twittering birds. But with the help of friends, Twitter has been a positive experience for me.

So. Here are my tips:

1. Twitter is PUBLIC, unless if you opted for a private account, in which case no one you don't know can ever see you. Private accounts are good if you're only looking to connect with family and friends and want to make sure that Mrs. Harrington down the street won't see your tweets about her bumpit obsession and how you suspect she's a vampire because the stray cats she keeps bringing home with her are never seen again (cat vampire?).

So when you sign up for Twitter, remember this: Anything you tweet is open for all to see. Don't do a Weiner and send us photos of your non-existent abs.

2. Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and meet new people. Find a niche that you're comfortable with. For me, my niche obviously is anything writing-related. I follow literary agents and writers/authors. But feel free to branch out every once in a while. Interested in Visual Arts? Follow artists. Foodie? Follow cooks. And so on and so forth.

3. Don't get hung up on numbers. People follow and unfollow all the time. Twitter is a tease of a lady, that first date who may or may not call you, a fickle imp. As long as you see that the followers who matter to you (i.e. friends) have not unfollowed you, then you're golden. Spambots can follow and unfollow at their will and you need not blink an eyelash.

4. Use @ replies when conversing with friends.

e.g. Me: @aghowardwrites (Anita Howard) Hey, how are you?
      Anita: @writercherie I'm good.

If you don't use @ the tweep you're sending the tweet to won't see it or know that you're trying to talk to them.

5. When promoting someone, use . (period) before the attribution. For instance, you just read this awesome blogpost and want to let all your followers know about it. Plus this awesome blogger with the awesome blogpost is a friend. Being the nicey tweep that you are, you give a shout-out:

@writercherie wrote a wonderfully cool and savvy blogpost about Broken Bones and  Twitter, you should check it out at [link].

If you do it this way, the only people who are going to see this are the @ person (in this case, me), and our mutual friends who follow both of us. All your other followers who do not follow @person will not see it.

Another way to do this--aside from the period (.@writercherie wrote a wonderfully cool...etc.)--you can use words before the name:

Hey, @writercherie wrote a wonderfully...blah, blah, blah.

6. Some Twitter apps (like Tweetdeck) has an automatic shrink-link feature, which shortens your URLS so they don't use up all of your 140 characters. I heard Twitter has their own shrink-link now, though I wouldn't know because I use Tweetdeck most of the time. My savvy friend @aghowardwrites told me about http://tinyurl.com/.  You can use this site to shorten your links.

7. Hashtags (they start with #) are useful if you and your many friends want to chat and keep a conversation. There are also scheduled chats--in the writing world for instance, there is #YAlitchat , #askagent , and many others.

Hashtags also let you search for trends or common things that people use/say/tweet about. If you click on #writing, you'll see all the tweets that employ this tag, whether or not you follow the people tweeting them.

Okay, that's it for now. Any questions? Clarifications? Comments? Let me know. I'd also like to hear how Twitter has been a positive or negative experience for you.


Angela V. Cook said...

So sad to hear about your son's ordeal!! I think that's the worst feeling for a parent--helplessness. Here's hoping those three weeks breeze by ;o)

Twitter can be VERY confusing if you're not used to it (it wasn't that long ago I was a twitter virgin myself ;o)). You posted some great tips for newbies!

Bethany C. said...

Geesh...you poor girl. Dealing with a casted kid on your birthday. BOO!! Glad he's doing okay. Boys dig casts anyway. He's probably got a few insects, a marble and 1/2 lb. of sand down there already.

Okay, thanks for the Twitter info. I would typically be embarrassed to ask this, but since you posted, and since all my buddies know I'm as blond as they come anyway, here goes: Regarding the hash tags. What's the point of using them? people will tweet me and then there's a hash of #goatloaversunite is this something that MEANS something? or is it just a silliness that proves other people are goat lovers, too?

Anita said...

Cherie, you lovely savvy sparkler! You never cease to amaze me with your helpful spirit! Love that about you. :)

Okay, first off, I'm sorry about your wee one! My goodness, poor baby. No wonder he was screaming. He had a fracture and the doctor was trying to pop his elbow into socket WHEN IT WAS ALREADY THERE. Seriously...ouch. Hope he heals quickly!

Secondly, YAY! My handle is an example in your post! Squee-ness abounds. :) *waves to @rookieriter and @angelavcook*

I'm interested to see your answer to miss @rookieriter. I know there are helpful hashtags that actually mean something, but I always thought we just use our goat-inspired ones to be silly.

Is there more to it? Are we attracting the attention of some secret organization of goat world domination? Enquiring readers want to know!

Krista M said...

I'm sorry about your little guy! That sounds painful.

I've never really understood the point of Twitter and though your advice is great, I think I'll stay with twitter abstinence. I can't be confused if I never join. :)

Sarah said...

Wow--what an ordeal! I can't believe you're blogging at all! It's so hard to help kids through medical procedures when they're too young to understand that it's meant to help them. I hope he recovers quickly!

Caitlin Vincent said...

Oh dear, it sounds like you've had quite a time the last few days! I'm sorry to hear about your little guy. My siblings have broken bones before and its no fun for them or the rest of us. I hope he heals up quickly.

Thanks for the Twitter run down. After I graduate and get back to writing more full-time, I'm going to have to take the Twitter plunge myself. I think I'll like it once I get the hang of it...so it's nice to have the ropes squared out :)

T.S. Welti said...

That was painful to read. My daughter got a dislocated elbow when she was two. The doctor told me it was very common for toddlers, but that did not ease the horror. I hope your son's feeling better now.

I never thought of the period before the @. Though I've been using Twitter for over two years, I've only just started using it regularly in the last two months. I guess I'm still kind of a newbie. Thanks for the tip. :)

Ashley Nixon said...

Aww! I hope your son gets to feeling better! That's horrible. My friend broke his elbow, for which nothing can be done, and I always hit it, forgetting he was in pain! :/

I need to use twitter more. I have followed more people (writers and agents) since starting my blog, so perhaps I can get into it a little more. I'll definitely come back to these tips when I start using it more. To me, it just seems difficult and I don't have time to sit down and play with it.

Anonymous said...

OMGosh your poor little fella and poor mama! I hope everything settles down a bit. I can't imagine trying to 'pop' something back into place on a 3yo! :(

And great Twitter advice. The only think I'd add about Tweetdeck is that I personally don't like the shrinking thing because sometimes its a good Tweet but I can't RT it because its waaaay too long. So that's a bummer.

Anonymous said...

OMG Cherie!! Where were you a few months ago when I was completely lost on Twitter?? lol Great advice, tho, so thank you!! Sorry to hear about your baby. :( Hope he feels better soon!!

Christine Murray said...

Hope your son gets better soon, and great advice on twitter. I'm new to it all myself, but am rapidly getting addicted.

chandra said...

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Jacquelyn said...

Ouch, hope your son is feeling better soon!

I agree with sycamoremeadows. I wish this post had been around when I started using Twitter! Great pointers.

Kimberly Krey said...

Glad you got the elbow thing cleared away; hope your little one's feeling better. And thanks for the Twitter tips. I don't know what I'm doing half the time but I'm learning along the way thanks to sweet tweeter's like yourself. :)

cherie said...

Hi lovely people who always manage to make me feel better!

He's doing fine now. He loved his bright orange cast when he got it, and totally thought he was supercool (he was brandishing it around like a weapon, scaring his sister away LOL). It will definitely take him time to get used to it. He'd already asked me several times if he could take it off. Yikes. But so far, so good. I still cringe everytime I remember the InstaCare doc twisting his arm around. *shudders* In her defense, the radiologist did say the elbow was normal so she thought it was ok to manipulate it. My poor baby boy.

Anyway, I'm glad the Twitter info is useful. I was TERRIFIED to use Twitter before I stumbled on Anita's blog and how she'd mustered up the courage to use it. *waves to Anita (Hi luv!)

Also, I totally forgot to add about RTs and DMs. Blame it on my foggy, sleep-deprived brain.

cherie said...

Oops, brain's still mushy. I meant: ...stumbled on Anita's blog AND READ HER POST on how she's mustered up the courage to use it. (With the help of Nina Badzin's Twitter tutorial. I'd post a link but darn if I can find it now. I think it may be in one of my other Twitter post--the cracking out of the shell one. There should be a link to Nina Badzin's awesome tips.)

Oh, and to my goat loving homies...

Hmmm. Your question oh venerable @rookieriter aka Bethany C. is one that requires deep thinking and great thought. Somewhere, sometime, in this vast universe, one life form will unwittingly search for #goatloversunite and find a veritable cache of info that will open their eyes to the meaning of life.

Liz Fichera said...

So sorry to hear about your son! I had something similar when I was a kid. Not fun. For my mom or me.

P.S. Thanks also for tweeting my post from yesterday. Glad you liked it. :-)

Jenny Phresh said...

How totally wretched. I have dislocated my knee 3x in my life (fortunately not for many years) and it is awful. And it hurts. A lot. I'm sorry for your ordeal!
I am also worried now that Mrs. Harrington knows that I have been watching her Bumpit GROW because she has been hiding extra goat fangs underneath it. She is onto me. I had better be much more careful on Twitter from now on.
Thanks for all your super helpful tips!

Carissa Elg said...

Owie!! When my son was 3, we went bowling on a Thursday (as we had since he was 3 months old). It was the second time he used his chubby little arms to push the ball down the ramp and watch it go... The quick little bugger grabbed the ball (trying to put it up there himself) and of course didn't make it. In our rush to stop him, he tripped and the ball landed on his hand, crushing the tip of his middle finger in doing so. You wouldn't think a 6 lb ball could do that much damage, but it can. Even if only dropped from 2 feet up. Glad to hear that your son is on the mend. Hope it heals quickly!

Anonymous said...

Oh, your poor baby. I've been lucky (knock on wood) that my kids haven't broken any bones yet. Wishing you both well.

Thanks for the twitter tutorial. I'm still learning myself, and didn't know about the use of the period before the attribution, LOL.
Angie Sandro

Writer Pat Newcombe said...

Great post and some useful reminders. I forget about the period thing before metnioning someone... Note to self - don't forget!

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