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Heidi Shaffer, Published February 27 2014

Don't 'get' Twitter: Here's who to follow

FARGO – This month I hit a social media milestone when I reached 1,000 followers on Twitter.

I’m not about to humble-brag to you about how I can’t imagine why 1,000 people would want to read 140 characters of what I say (though, seriously, I can’t imagine). Reaching the 1k mark really means nothing.

But as I’ve discussed with a lot of people recently, Twitter does matter, with more than half a billion people worldwide using the micro-blogging platform.

I regularly encounter naysayers who explain they simply don’t “get” Twitter. Or, they claim, they have nothing to say.

To effectively and regularly use Twitter, you don’t need to write anything. In fact, the latest stats from the website show about 40 percent of users watch other people’s tweets rather than posting their own.

Getting going is all about who you follow. You need to follow a few interesting people who tweet often and about subjects in which you’re interested.

Here are five people/profiles worth following on Twitter.

1. The Onion (@TheOnion)

This fake news website updates its feed multiple times a day with pithy, irreverent takes on news stories.

It’s a fun way to poke fun at our obsession with news, while also offering silly observations on everyday annoyances.

One of my recent favorites: “Man Who Keeps Keys On Carabiner Must Rappel Into Office Building Every Morning.”

2. Amy Thielen (@amyrosethielen)

This Park Rapids, Minn., resident has garnered a national following with a Food Network show, and she released her cookbook last year.

She does a great job of exposing other talented Midwest cooks, restaurants and foods through social media.

A tweet on Jan. 31 helped expose me to another Minnesota cookbook author: “No one does ‘decadent-junky’ (or fancy, for that matter) better than fellow Minnesotan cookbook author ZoëBakes.”

3. Mo Rocca (@MoRocca)

Another way to get a humorous dose of current events is to follow Mo Rocca, former “The Daily Show” contributor and host of “My Grandmother’s Ravioli.”

He talks about food, but Mo Rocca entertains best during live televised events, such as the State of the Union Address or awards shows.

“If the ice dancers start making out in the middle of the routine do they lose or gain points?” he quipped last week on Twitter during Olympic ice dancing competition.

4. Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart)

Martha Stewart does everything better than the rest of us, so her superiority on Twitter should come as no surprise.

She shares great tips, recipes, craft projects and personal photos on an almost hourly basis most days.

And of course, she pimps her latest projects: “Have you seen all the new products on my American Made Market place @ebay? Stop by and support these talented makers!”

5. Ari Shapiro (@arishapiro)

NPR International correspondent, Ari Shapiro, tweets regularly about stories on which he’s reporting as well as those you should be following.

My favorites of London-stationed journalist’s, however, are just his personal observations about living abroad.

“Regarding the @facebook purchase of @WhatsApp, it may be little known in the US but EVERYONE I’ve met in Europe uses it.”

Readers can reach Forum features editor

Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511