Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Nitty Gritty about Twitter

Do you have a smart phone that is smarter than you are? Have you been wondering what the deal is with twitter? Well, I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I put together some basics to share with you.

I think twitter boils down to this - say something interesting or funny or informational in 140 characters or less.

@sweetfunkyvint - is my twitter account - so obviously the @ symbol preceds someones account name. Often, people will tweet and use several different people's accounts, because you can sort your twitter feed to show only those tweets that mention you. So, if you want to be sure that someone very specific (whether they follow you or not) sees your tweet, you want to address them in the tweet to increase the chances they see it.
For example, if I have had bad or good customer service from a company, I may tweet about it and refer to them with their twitter account name in the tweet to be sure they (their marketing dept) sees it.
I got several hundred dollars in compensation from Delta one time by starting a conversation with them by tweeting - after a particularly crappy flight experience. Companies are paying attention. I tweeted during blogher about the keynote speaker - the CEO of Pepsico - and their marketing dept tweeted back with me a couple of times.

So, besides the @ symbol, you also need to be familiar with the # symbol - which with regards to twitter is called a hashtag. On twitter, there are topics that many people are talking about and those are called trending topics. Right now, a couple of trending topics are The Help and #replacemovienameswithbacon.
So, as you can tell, some trending topics are kind of rediculous, but literally thousands of people are tweeting about it to make it a trending topic. Weird huh?

On your twitter page, you will see some tabs. The first (default) tab is the timeline. You will see the tweets of people you follow. Likewise, your tweets only show up on the twitter feeds of those who follow you. The more people you follow, the more crowded your twitter feed gets. Some of these tweets will be interesting, and some will be crap, or advertising. I try not to tweet business/advertising stuff very often, because if other people feel about it like I feel about it, it is largely ignored.
The next tab over is called @mentions - this is where you can see those tweets that use your twitter handle (@yourname) in them. A retweet is just what it sounds like. You can choose to retweet a tweet you read that you agree with, or want your followers to see as well, and it will be posted again, by you, to those who follow you. So, the next column/tab allows you to see those tweets you retweet, or those you originally tweeted, that others retweeted.
I can't tell you much about lists. But, as I understand it, you can organize those that you follow into categories. Which, can obviously come in handy when you have a bunch of people you follow.
So, how do you get followers? You tweet. And, you follow people. Often, people will follow you if you follow them. They get an email notification when someone new follows them (as do you), and they may choose to follow in return - many do.
When you see tweets of someone you think is interesting, follow them. You can always unfollow later. And, they don't get notification if you unfollow them later.
A quick way to find new people to follow is to look through the list of followers of people you follow and see who you might also like to follow. It isn't like facebook where you don't want to friend your friend's friends cause that's weird. Here, it is totally acceptable! My recommendation to you is to find your friends' twitter names and follow them, and then start following people you find that you like. Twitter will even make some suggestions for you to find new people to follow.

Do you have any specific questions about twitter that I can answer?

Don't forget to follow us on twitter!

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