Some of us early adapters (aka social media geeks) tend to forget that not everyone is a Twitter power-user and has learned the ropes. So here’s a little welcome to the club introduction for both your personal and professional use, if you chose to get your company on Twitter.
When you first begin tweeting, and if you start following some of us power users, it might look like we’re typing in a foreign language. No worries, its quite simple once you learn the lingo.
- “@” means you’re directing your message to someone specifically. Typically you’re responding to a question or commenting on something they have to say. Depending on your personal settings, you can chose to see only @ tweets when they are directed at someone you know as well, or you can chose to not see any of them. Beware, just because you’re using the @ sign does not mean the rest of the world can’t see what you’re saying.
- Direct Messages (Starts with a “D” if using Tweetdeck) means your message will be private to whoever you send a message to. More like a hybrid form of IM & email. Use this when you want to talk trash about someone, send out your phone number or email depending on how cautious you are. You might not want the world to have that information.
- “RT” is an abbreviation for Re-tweet. Social media is all about sharing information. If someone you follow has something great to say, share it with the people following you. Messages will typically look like “RT @anvilmedia Our blog is freaking awesome”. That way you give credit where credit is due to the original mastermind behind a great tweet.
- # (Hashtags) – this is the one that really gets most newbies to Twitter. Hastags are used to create categories in Twitter, which then makes it easier to see conversation trends or common threads through twitter search. These tend to come and go, are really popular for the geek crowd at conferences, etc. Currently #smx is hot, but standards like #fail or #portland are equally good examples. There are even hashtag directories for your convenience.
- You’ll notice that all links in Twitter typically come from bit.ly or is.gd or ow.ly for example. There are a million of these URL shortning sites now, where you put in a full URL and it spits out a much shorter URL. Its all about maximizing your character limit, and not wasting valuable space with a lengthy URL. Some services like bit.ly and ow.ly let you see how many people are clicking on your link.
That’s it. Not really as scary as you thought, right? Now get out there and tell the world what you had for breakfast this morning!