What is Twitter?
Twitter is a microblogging site that allows you to post messages or tweets of up to 140 characters. You can also include links to other websites, videos and images. Twitter now auto shortens URLs, but previously the use of URL shortener services such as Bitly and TinyURL were useful to reduce the number of characters used in a message. However they still provide other good uses as the URLs you shorten can be saved for you to refer back to and you can check how many times they were clicked.
Some useful terms to know:
Tweet – to write a message
RT or Retweet – this is when a message is reused and the originator is acknowledged
MT or Modified Tweet – a retweet that has been modified slightly (often to reduce the character count but sometimes to add emphasis)
DM or Direct Message – this is where you can send or receive a private message (providing both parties follow each other)
HT or Hat Tip – to acknowledge finding another person’s tweet or link interesting
Follow – you choose who you want to follow. You may unfollow at any point. If you are followed by a spammer (or undesirable) then you can block that person.
Mention – this is where a tweet has included your user name or you have included someone else.
Handle – Your user name. Every user name is preceded with @.
Feed – The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. These are tweets from users you follow.
# or hashtag – when the # precedes a word or acronym within a message you can save this as a search. Every time anyone uses the same again it will automatically aggregate those tweets together. For example 2ins in Sheffield #uksnow.
Getting started with Twitter
To set up an account you need to go to Twitter.com and fill in the simple form.
Getting the most from Twitter
Tips from the Co-Founders of Twitter are:
1) Follow your interests – We’ve found that the people who enjoy Twitter most tend to follow a variety of accounts: friends, family, people in their profession, local shops and events, and most importantly, people who share their passions.
2) Get specific – Like sports? Follow your favorite leagues, teams, players, coaches, commentators, writers and fellow fans. Love food? Follow chefs, restaurants, critics, bloggers, specialty shops and respected foodies.
3) Don’t panic – People turn to Twitter during emergencies. Snowstorms, power outages and fires are just a few emergencies where Twitter may be helpful. Search for #hashtags and follow local civic accounts to stay informed.
4) Return to Twitter– There are about 200 million accounts on Twitter now – that means new interests, new voices, and new ideas every day. We offer services in seven languages, apps for most devices, and SMS worldwide.
My Top Tips
The Power of ReTweeting (RT)
Here are some excellent reasons (adapted from PodJam.tv) why sharing a tweet as a RT is useful
- Give credit where credit is due – finding information and sharing good content is important on Twitter. There are people who are good curators and RTing them will allow you to give credit to those who work hard at sharing the best information.
- Connect people – When you RT someone you literally share them to people who follow you. You connect others with the same interest on certain topics.
- Break the ice – When new on Twitter, it may not feel natural to converse with a stranger. With a simple RT you can open the way for that person to notice you and talk with you on stream. RTing breaks the ice.
- Sharing is caring – RTing is also a way for you to show your appreciation for someone for a well written post, good information or breaking news.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Social Media is a great way to boost your searchability and online presence. RTing allows you to not only to share great information with your followers, but increase visibility in search engines. RTing also helps the originator of the tweet to increase their visibility too.
- Make your thoughts heard – By adding your own opinion on a tweet before you re-share allows you to show that you agree or disagree with a particular opinion or quote.
- Build relationships – The power of reciprocity grows as you build connections and friendships.
Just for fun
A tongue in cheek song about Twitter!