A Parent’s Guide To Twitter by Maria Vasquez

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Parents, if you feel the need to join your kids or co-workers or family and get a Twitter, go ahead. But there are a few things you should know when making and using a Twitter account.

Along with Facebook, Twitter, is the newest and most thriving social media website. According to Next Advisor, an independent research company, 9 out of 10 teenagers have used a social media. So, chances are that your child has a Twitter.

If you’re making a Twitter only because you want to follow your child and keep track of what they do, then forget about making a Twitter.

“They’ll find a way to unfollow you. They’ll find a way to set up a new account,” says Faye Rogaski, the founder of Socialsklz, a website that teaching online skills.

If you don’t tell them you are following them and you use another name then be warned: they are tweeting about you. And it’s not sweet. Teens use Twitter and many other social media sites to vent. They will vent about you, complain about you, talk about you, and share their (hurtful) opinions about you.

Once you’ve gotten your child’s permission to follow them, or you decide to make a Twitter for yourself and not to look over their shoulders or breathe down their necks, then the first thing you should do when making an account is put a picture.

No one likes or follows an “egg head.” An “egg head” is the default picture Twitter gives you with your new account. Change your photo to something that represents you. It can be a picture of yourself, your watch, your toes, but not–and I repeat, not– a photograph of your child. If you want to be a “cool” parent, trust me on this.

“Proud mother of two handsome boys and one beautiful baby girl.”–That is an example of what not to have as a description on your Twitter’s profile. Try writing about things you like to do or even a favorite quote.

Whether you’re using Twitter on your phone, tablet, laptop, desktop it should let you know when you have “favorited” or “re-tweeted” something. If the “re-tweet” symbol is green, that means you’ve already “re-tweeted” it. If the “favorite” star is orange, that means you’ve already “favorited” it.

I say this because if you follow your child or friend or co-worker and you want to share what they have tweeted then you’re going to get on their nerves. How? Because some how you parents feel the need to “re-tweet” the same thing various times even though you have already “re-tweeted” it. How? I don’t know, but parents do. (Pardon, this is coming from a kind of aggravated teenage girl who has experienced this first hand.)

At the end of the day, strangely enough, you’re not just parents. You’re also people with everyday lives at work and home. Be sure to follow your favorite celebrities, organizations, artists, news stations, and friends, family, and co-workers. Also, feel free to follow The Harbinger on Twitter: @HarbingerMLEC.

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