Most everyone today has a twitter account. But, if you have an account you never use, have tried out Twitter, but never really figured it out, or, like me, have never used Twitter, it can be a bit confusing. The Twitterverse is full of exclusive jargon, characters and hashtags that can stump a new comer.
Don’t worry! Once you get a handle on the basic principles of Twitter, and it’s not hard, you’ll be talking to people around the world, about the subjects you love!
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Based on what I have learned along the way, here are some basic guidelines, tips and stuff for Twitter beginners!
What is Twitter?
Twitter is the place to find out about things that are happening right now! Users share news, thoughts and all sorts of information in real time. This allows Twitter users to speak to specific people or groups, or stay up-to-date on their favorite topics, as they are happening.
Start with a tweet. Join or start a conversation by writing, and posting, a simple tweet. You can even add images to your tweets. The tweet will then be added to your timeline, the timeline of a user you @reply or @mention and the timeline of your followers.
140 is the magic number when it comes to Twitter. No matter what you decide to tweet, or retweet, your character counts matter and 140 is the max! A tweet, including your username, text, link and anything else you decide to include, must stay under 140 characters.
As you decide on a username please keep this in mind! The longer your username, the shorter your message can be. Twitter does limit the characters allowed in your username to 15 but you control the actual number.
If your tweet includes a link make sure you have enough characters for a post too. You don’t want a link filling your entire post. When you tweet a link you need to use a shortened URL. If I need to shorten a link, I use the URL shortening tool provided by Twitter, t.co. These are other popular shorteners, bit.ly and tinyurl, but I have never used them.
Using special jargon and characters on Twitter is necessary because of the 140 character limit. As a beginner, the most important terms to be familiar with are @replies, @mentions, direct messages and #hashtags.
If you get stumped with some jargon you see, or need to fit more into that tiny tweet space, Twitter has a glossary of terms here!
@reply and @mention
Use these correctly to reach out, and connect, with your followers and those you follow!
A @reply is in direct reply to another user and will appear on both your, and the other person’s, public timeline. The users involved do not have to be following each other to @reply or @mention. Both of these posts will be seen by both users and their followers. To @reply to another person, begin your message with @username and then follow with the post itself. Easy.
To @mention another user, just @username anywhere else in the post!
A direct message, or DM, can only be sent to someone who is following you, and vice versa. But, you don’t need to be following each other to send a direct message. Some direct messages are meant to be one-way such as towards celebrities and politicians. These messages will not be public and are found in your Twitter inbox.
A keyword on twitter is categorized by the pound sign (#) and is called a hashtag. Hashtags are used to create, follow or lead an online community about a topic. When you search for a specific hashtag, and click on it, you will find the 100 most recent users that have included that hashtag in their post. You can then follow people, like a tweet, retweet, @mention or @reply to tweets, that are categorized by that specific hashtag, and you think are amusing, important or helpful.
You are what you tweet!
While you can post almost anything you want on Twitter that is not the best practice. To gain respectable followers, connect with people with similar interests and have a good Twitter reputation, curate your content. When connecting on Twitter contribute valuable information to the community to gain an organic, honest following.
Tweeting random thoughts, highly personal information and musings on your Twitter feed are not what it is all about. These tweets may be amusing for your close, personal group, but not the larger community. Your tweets should not be all about you.
To retweet or not to retweet?
A retweet is a post by another user in your timeline that you forward. If you find something interesting, or informative, you retweet it to share it with your own followers. Retweeting is flattering, but you don’t want to overdo it.
To retweet, hit the ‘retweet’ button that appears when you are viewing another user’s post. This will repost the original tweet in your timeline along with the information about the original author.
You can also copy and paste the original text into a tweet. Proceed the text with RT (retweet) and include a @mention to the original author within your new tweet.
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Looking for more information about Twitter?
When it comes to growing a blog, and a community, some of the best bloggers suggest getting to know, and experiment, with different forms of social media. Each of the social media platforms, from Facebook to Pinterest, are used for different kinds of information and forms of connection. These differences give each platform unique users, and thus, different forms of potential traffic for your blog.
For some, unknown, reason, I decided to start the social media for my blog with Twitter. I had never really used Twitter before. Of course, I knew what Twitter was (hypothetically) but I never had an account, sent a tweet, or followed anything. I know, I am kind of old school. But, as I went, it got easier and easier to figure out how to use the social media platform and connect with new people from around the world!
Knowing Twitter basics will have you tweeting, connecting and making friends in no time! Twitter is not quick. It may take you weeks, or even months, to build a presence and gain followers. Don’t rush it! You want engaged, organic followers that enjoy your content and connecting with you. Use this initial time for trial and error and to learn you own Twitter style!
Your turn! If you have any advice for Twitter beginners, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!
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