Friday, February 3rd, 2012
These days # and @ are popping up everywhere as Twitter becomes more common. What used to be known as the number sign is now called a hashtag and to follow someone you need to know their Twitter handle, the words after the @ sign. If Twitter is new to you and it makes you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t be! Here is a quick and easy guide to Twitter basics.
What is Twitter?
Twitter is a tool that allows converse or curate information through brief 140 character snippets of text.
How do I use it?
Twitter can be used to engage with your followers by sharing content. Written content, links to photos, videos, and interesting content around the web are all things that you can share from your account.
Do I need an account?
Yes and no. To converse with others, yes, you will need your own account and Twitter handle signified by @. If you just want to be able to search for certain topics or newsworthy events, you can do so using # through the Twitter website.
Like many sites, there is a proper etiquette for using Twitter to be respectful of fellow users.
- Follow those who are following you;
- Retweeting (RT) someone else’s tweets is a way to show that you like what they are saying but precede the RT by sharing why;
- Use the direct message (or DM) feature if you start having a private conversation with someone you’re tweeting with. Also use DMs when sharing email addresses, cell numbers, etc. to respect the privacy of the person you are tweeting with;
- Tag your tweets with a hashtag (#) if they are about a specific topic that is of general interest. Using a hashtag will help your Tweets come up in searches. For example, tweets about the election can be tagged #election;
- Do not protect your tweets. Twitter works best when your account is open to follow;
- Block and unfollow spam Tweeters. They are easy to spot because their Twitter stream consists only of links;
- To help avoid spam Tweets, spell out the names of products like XBox (exBox) and iPad (eyePad);
- Use the same etiquette you would otherwise. If you are unsure if something is appropriate for Twitter, err on the side of caution. If you wouldn’t share it in real life, don’t share it on Twitter.
Are you on Twitter? What additional tips can you provide for those who are just beginning to use it?
I’m @TechSavvyMama on Twitter and I encourage new and experienced users alike to Tweet with me! If you’d like me to follow you, I’m happy to do so! Just leave your Twitter handle below!
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