University of Missouri-St. Louis

Social Networking 101: The Fundamentals of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter


  • User Guides
    . Getting Started
    . help page
    . YouTube Training Video I and Training Video II
    . Wikipedia: Twitter
  • Social network and "microblogging" started in 2006
    . Identified as the third most used social network service
  • Terms
    . Tweet: to send a message
    . Follow: receive a message each time the person updates
        You can control if and how you receive messages from everyone or from specific people
        You can set to mobile phone if you wish
    . "Microblogging": because you are limited to 140 characters
    . Hashtag (#): designate messages that are related, such as an event, a group of people; it is a way to create groupings
        Before using, search to see if someone else is using it
        You can search for popular hashtags or the meaning of specific hashtags at, and
        An article on How to use Hashtags
        Sites such as provides real time monitoring of topics
    . @ messages: a link to that twitter home page
    . Retweet: reposting a tweet while giving credit to the original tweeter
    . DM: a direct message to a specific user; that user must be following your tweets
    . Tweetup: create an event (see, for example,
    . Fail Whale: Twitter experiences an outage
                   Twitter's Fail Whale
    . If you receive spam, send a message to @spam
  • Reasons
    . meet people
    . learn about interesting people
    . find people: by name, by email or by brand
    . find people on other networks
    . check out the "suggested users" tab (by topic)
  • UMSL on Twitter
    . UMSL
    . Libraries
    . Athletics
    . Student Life
    . College of Business Administration
    . Continuing Education
    . Non-Profit Program
    . Optometry
    . Public Policy Program
    . Bookstore
    . Golf
  • Notable Uses
    . The 2008 Presidential election
    . The 2009 Republican ethics lapse: the Republican Party in Connecticut set up fake Twitter accounts in the names of 33 Democratic members of the state legislature and sent out messages
    . Arrest of Daniel Knight Hayden who sent out tweets about violence at a teabag protest in Oklahoma
    . 2007 California fires: those using Twitter kept their followers (who were often friends and neighbors) informed of their whereabouts and of the location of various fires minute by minute
    . 2008 Mumbai attacks: eyewitness accounts; list of dead and injured; vital information such as emergency phone numbers and the location of hospitals needing blood donations
    . February 2009 Victoria bushfires in Australia: used to send out alerts
    . 2009 health departments: H1N1 alerts
    . 2009 Iranian Elections: rallying tool and way of communicating with outside world
    . 2009 Brazilian Supreme Federal Court: posts daily planner of the ministers and important decisions
    . 2010 Resignation by Sun's CEO: Financial crisis/Stalled too many customers/CEO no more
    . Gangs using Facebook, Twitter more often
    . UK criminal who taunted police arrested
  • How to shorten a message
    . use characters instead of words:
    .     "+" instead of "and"
    .     "2" instead of two, too or to
    . avoid punctuation
    . use abbreviations
    . Need help? Helpful sites make suggestions on how to shorten message
    . Using links? There are services which help you shorten the links
    . -- shortens links to share; user can track views
    . -- shortens links to share; no tracking ability
    . -- shortens links to share; allows some domain information in new URL
  • Searches can be done at
    . quotes around phrases for "and"
    . to avoid a term use "-"
    . for either of terms, use "or"
    . Advanced search is available at
  • Tracking trends:
    . (for a specific time period)
    . follow @tweetingtrends
  • Whom Should you Follow
    . recommendations based on your specific activity
    . recommendations based on your specific activity
    . -- listing of the top media, entertainment, and consumer product feeds
    . -- businesses on twitter
    . -- business executives who tweet
    . -- people in your organization
    . -- enterprise collaboration
  • Why Tweet?
    . Drive people to your blog or webpage by providing context for it
    . Publish a short story, article or a book by posting one line each day
        @Genny_Spencer: diary of an Illinois farm girl
    . Fundraising campaigns for not for profit organizations (e.g., Haiti)
    . Boost your professional reputation
        Of course that means you must post interesting material that is well written and must post regularly on a specific topic
  • Is this technology sustainable? Check out Gartner's Hype Cycle They say:
    Microblogging. Microblogging, in general, and Twitter, in particular, have exploded in popularity during 2009 to the extent that the inevitable disillusionment around "channel pollution" is beginning. As microblogging becomes a standard feature in enterprise social software platforms, it is earning its place alongside other channels (for example, e-mail, blogging and wikis), enabling new kinds of fast, witty, easy-to-assimilate exchanges.



    Page Owner: Professor Vicki Sauter (

    Vicki L. Sauter. All rights Reserved.