What is Twitter and How Do I use It?
We’ve all heard about it one way or another. Tweeting, Re-tweets, Hashtags, and @ signs, are just some of the ways people use Twitter. But what is Twitter all about? To put it more simply, twitter is a free social media platform and micro-blogging service through which people share information. It’s users share content by sending and receiving text based messages, known as tweets. Simple enough right? Here’s the catch.
The character limitations of Twitter
The catch is, you can only state what you want to in just 140 characters or less. To some, this might be viewed as a limitation, but this is the beauty of Twitter. It’s because of this character limitation that an entire culture has been created and developed. It has created a fast paced world of timely shared information. Those unfamiliar to twitter perceive this stream of tweets as incomprehensible babel, but twitter is a very valuable and relevant tool for finding out current information in a timely fashion. This article will hopefully clear up a few misconceptions and ultimately answer the question, “what is twitter?”
Useful Terminology of Twitter
Twitter has spawned a culture, and within each and every culture, is a language. The limitations on each tweet you put out, have created specific ways in which people use twitter. Here are some of the more popular Twitter Terminology, what it stands for, and how it is used.
How many times have you seen a number sign followed by a word in recent time? This is what is referred to as a hash-tag and it is utilized in twitter by classifying a tweet. It looks like this: #. So for instance if you wanted to classify your tweet about pizza, at the end of it, you’d add #pizza. You can also search hashtags for trending topics in the media. If the new iPhone or Android phone just came out, you can search #iphone or #android to see what’s all the rage.
The @ Sign
The @ sign is one of the most basic ways to interact with people on twitter. If you decide you want to message someone and have the whole twitter world view and comment as well, you can use the @ sign. This varies from the private message, because it is displayed on under your tweets. If you don’t have a private profile, this means your tweet will be put in the public eye.
Your bio is just a brief description about who you are, and why you ware twittering. Some people make it personal, others make it funny. Take this opportunity to make your Bio creative and differentiate yourself form the rest of the millions of people in twitter land.
As mentioned before, @ signs are used for public tweets. If you’d like to reach someone personally and ask something private you can use a direct message. This is very similar to sending an E-Mail. The icon for private messages is below your profile and looks like an envelope.
Favoriting a Tweet
Have you seen or read a tweet you really enjoyed? Save it for later by clicking the little star button near it. This will mark it as a favorite tweet, and is comparable to a Facebook Like. It’s also a way of letting the person who tweeted know that you enjoyed their thoughts and ideas, without having to share it on your own stream of tweets.
FF or Follower Friday
FF stands for Follower Friday and is a great opportunity for people to gain followers each week. Twitter activity goes off the charts on Fridays. By classifying all your tweets with the hashtag (#) and FF you can easily gain over a hundred followers in a day.
Your twitter handle is your identity. When you share your twitter profile link to other websites, you share your twitter handle. It’s the name that follows your @ sign in your profile. Pick something clever and memorable, but should you decide you want to change it, there is always the option to do it later.
A mention occurs when someone else reaches out to you in a tweet using your twitter handle. It is located on the home page under the @ symbol. Here you can see all the people talking about you. The people who follow you are also displayed in this section
Retweet or RT
The notorious RT, this is the name of the game people. A Re-tweet or RT for short, is when your thought, idea, or comment is shared on someone else’s profile page. When someone RT you, they are not only saying they like it, they give props to you by keeping your name attached and posting in on their twitter stream. This is the ultimate goal for twitterers because it expands your reach and makes you look like you’re an influential tweeter.
Last but not least, a tweet, if you already didn’t know, is your way of spreading your knowledge across the twitter universe. Feel free to tweet at your heart’s desire, no tweet is to broad, or specific for the twitter universe. Make sure to classify it with a hash-tag and keep it interesting! – Fat Guy Media Team