So, you read the last article about joining twitter (and its subsequent comments) and decided you’ll sign up for twitter. Now you’re wondering what the heck is going on here.
Let’s start with a few basics.
Participate in The Tweet
By now, you’ve figured out that you have 140 characters to state what you’re doing, who you’re working out with, etc. Don’t be just a lurker… create, brothers. Others are better served when all participate in a social network. You gotta give to get here.
— Duperger (@Moniteur_CLT) July 23, 2012
"Make sure your worst enemy doesn't live between your own two ears."
— Nathan (@F3_SFox) July 11, 2012
— Tim Whitmire (@trwhitmire_OBT) July 21, 2012
The Mention or Reply (aka the @ symbol)
When you signed up, you had to request and assign yourself a username. An example of this is “sleuth,” which is my long-time twitter username (and college nickname) but not my F3 one. Many of you choose your F3 name, which is a great idea for name recognition and one I endorse if you’re just signing up.
To speak to someone directly on twitter (and to let them know you’ve done so), you put an @ symbol before their twitter name. Why do this? If you do so correctly, everyone you mention gets a notification you’re talking to them. And that’s how conversations start.
Here’s an example of a group conversation where Dredd and I are notified of Gnarly Goat’s comment:
— Rob Cannon (@GnarlyGoat) July 20, 2012
Bonus Pro-tip: Just because you put an @ symbol in front of a name doesn’t mean you’re actually talking to the right person. An unnamed lawyer sometimes shouts out to @AmericanPie and is pinging the movie and not YHC:
— DREDD (@DreddCNC) July 14, 2012
Pay attention to spelling and check to see if the person you think you’re pinging is actually that person… that is, if you care about making sure you want the person to know you’ve engaged.
The Hash Tag
The hash tag has become the Completely Stupid and Utterly Pointless, aka the #CSAUP, part of twitter. The tag originated as a way to better group tweets like #theGoat or #olympics because the site’s search didn’t work well, but that’s been since rectified. The search aspects still work today, but as a fair warning the tags can get over-done by other twitter users. Click on Dallas, for example, in this tweet and the search results are pretty much worthless:
— F3 (@F3Nation) July 23, 2012
The hash tag, however, remains a great place for snark. #ineedaneditor
The Re-tweet, aka the RT, is the complete copying and distribution of something someone else posted first. But that message could or should be shared for others’ benefit, so you do:
— F3 (@F3Nation) July 23, 2012
Most clients have a recycle-looking button to do this without much effort. This would be definitely unlike a early-morning beatdown. Bullsh@#, @DasHitman!
Bonus Pro-tip: Ever see a tweet that has an “MT” instead of an “RT”? That’s a Modified Tweet, meaning someone edited the tweet to be shorter to also add in their two cents.
The Direct Message
Twitter has a built-in private messaging system that allows for any two users, both of which who must follow each other, to exchange messages sort of like email. Where this works great is coordination of spreadsheeting after a couple mentions (see above).
Want an example? I replied to Crotch Rocket’s beach tweet that I too was at the beach. He mentioned Robocop was at the same place I was, then he hit direct messaging to give me Robo’s phone number. The next day, I was getting the beat down by Robo and McGee. Sweet.
Lists are twitter’s sweet little secret, and I personally could not live without them. I have four lists on my account, and they are all private (if they were public, anyone could subscribe to them — I’ve chosen to just keep them to myself of now).
Creating a list helps you filter information. For example, you can have a “news” list, a “politics” list (you know who you are), an “F3” list (naturally), or whatever list you want. Doing so helps you keep up with certain lists all the time rather than feeling like twitter is another email client, which it’s NOT.
My lists are: a-list (people I don’t want to miss), f3 (another list I follow every day), work (industry and people in my company), and tar heels.
That should get you more in tuned to the network. Let me know what you want to chat about next.