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3 Twitter Tips for Twitter #newbies

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Love it or hate it I think Twitter is here to stay. I realize we aren’t all techno web geeks but if you are into blogging you’ll be picking up a twitter account sometime soon if you haven’t already. (If you really don’t know what Twitter is or how to use it watch this.)

In my opinion twitter has done to blogs what blogs have done to web sites. It’s made them (rather their creators) more accessible and it’s taken the idea of online two way communication one step further. Think about it…

  • First, there were web sites that were, for the most part static. People would visit them to gather information. That’s about it.
  • Then, blogs turned the static web site into an interactive experience. Now web site routinely ask readers to comment, to participate, to have a voice.
  • Now twitter takes that one step further and allows complete two-way conversations, very often in real time.

Notice web sites, blogs and twitter all live harmoniously together online. One hasn’t necessarily replaced the other but each have changed the way we interact on the web. Or at least has the potential to change it.

So how do we use this, fairly simple application?

Anyway we want!

That’s really the beauty of it.

But something that open ended causes confusion, especially when best practices and standards are emerging daily. Here are few tips for those just starting…

Hashtags (#)

Twitter Hashtags #

This is the number one question I’ve seen new Twitter users have, especially when there is a twitter event happening (and they do happen, pretty regularly.) If you ever seen something like #gno or #lost even #stimulus the twitter-er is categorizing her ‘tweet’ (what they call a message on twitter.) There are a few reasons to do this. First, you may be participating in a twitter party like GirlsNightOut (#gno). Using the #gno hashtag let’s other participants find you through twitter search. Simply search for #gno and it will pull all tweets that have the #gno hashtag in them. You can also use the search to find conversations happening around a topic. For example, I’m a Lost fan. While I’m watching I’ll search for #lost and find people discussing the show. Even if I don’t contribute to the conversations it’s a neat way to gage interest and a new perceptive on the show.

I took this same concept and started using the #tep hashtag for people who like to use twitter as a food journal. By using #tep you can find other food journalers. Possibly getting ideas for meals or finding new friends with similar goals.

You may be wondering how do you know what hash tags to use. Most of them are pretty logical, if you want to tweet about the stimulus plan use #stimulus. Talking about your new iPhone? use #iphone. Discussing your thoughts on the president? #obama Makes sense, right? Still not sure what #hashtags to use? Click here to check out the latest trends.

I should add there are 2 ways to use hashtags one is just tacking on the tag at the end of a tweet, like so…

Did you just see Jack on Lost? What was he wearing? #lost

It is also acceptable to mix the tag in the tweet, which saves room and typing like so…

Did you just see Jack on #lost? What was he wearing?

Either way provides the same benefits. I prefer the latter but sometimes the tag isn’t as useful mid sentence like in my Tweet Eat Post application (#tep)

Twitter Search

I mentioned the twitter search above. The twitter search tool is an invaluable feature of twitter. It allows you to see trends, follow conversations around a topic and even keep tabs on who’s talking about you.

You could easily to a search with the default Twitter Search page. However there are better tools out there that allow you to track multiple searches simultaneously, like TweetGrid. Search by hashtag or keyword and TweetGrid will automatically update when anyone uses your search criteria.

@ Replies

Twitter Replies

Another symbol you may see a lot besides the # is the @. The "at" symbol before a name is used to address a person. For example, my twitter user name is RonisWeigh if you wanted to send a message directly to me you could start it with @RoniNoone and I would receive it.

It’s also general practice to refer to people using the @ symbol within in a tweet. For example if I wanted to tweet about working out with Carla (MizFit) I’d use her twitter id in a tweet like so…

Today I worked out with @mizfit We had a BLAST!

This let’s everyone know Carla is on Twitter too and they can now click on her name to see her Twitter page.

Conclusion

In my opinion #hashtags, @replies and searching are just a few things that make such a simple, open ended web application more useful. But they are also the things no one ever tells you about!

So please feel free to ask any other Twitter questions you may have. If you are a Twitter expert please share any other simple tips or best practices you are aware of as I’m still learning myself! :)

If you are looking for more practical advice on how to use twitter check out How to Use Twitter – Tips for Bloggers ProBlogger



Leave a comment

I’d love to hear your story or thoughts on mine.

However, to prevent the massive amounts of spam I was receiving I have turned off comments on any post older than 5 days old. If you'd like to leave me a note regarding this post or anything really try me on twitter (@RoniNoone,) my Facebook page, or even IG (@RoniNoone) I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. I never thought I'd have to do this but it's gotten way out of hand and comment management has become simply too time consuming to manage.

Discussion

There are 11 comments so far.

    MizFit

    February 15, 2009

    THIS IS SUCH A GREAT POST.
    (Im gonna link it. will email you.)
    and we’re working out?
    cant wait.

    blogher 09.
    we there.
    we’re liftin’
    we looookin fiiiine.

    xo xo,

    Miz.

    Natalia Burleson

    February 15, 2009

    Hey Roni, Thanks for this post! You answered some of my questions! :)

    Stacey

    February 15, 2009

    Roni,
    Thanks for this post. I consider myself to be pretty up to date on technology. I code my own websites, feel like I live on my computer, and constantly researching new trends. However, I just feel like I cannot grasp the twitter trend. I just cant seem to get it.

    To me it seemed like twitter was just a way to update people on my status, what I’m doing. I’m not really into that. I like my privacy. So I’ve been struggling with the trend, not seeing myself fit into it.

    But your post showed me a different way it is used. That it is not just to update on status but to have actual discussions about topics.

    Maybe I’ll give Twitter another try…

    Michele

    February 15, 2009

    Roni – can you tell me how to post a tiny URL? Thanks!

    roni

    February 15, 2009

    Sure! Tiny URL helps save some characters since you can easily use 140 on a URL alone. Copy the URL from the adress bar… Go here… http://tinyurl.com/ past it in and click “Make TinyURL”

    Does that help?

    Michelle Smiles

    February 15, 2009

    Wish I had this explanation when I was a newbie to Twitter!

    Courtney

    February 15, 2009

    I made it into a screen shot!
    Who would have thunk it!

    Even though this stuff is “old news” to me, I think twitter is one of those social media sites that will really boom very very soon, and your easy-to-understand explanations will be so great for people to start finding their way around the site and become familiar with the idea of micro-blogging and the best way to tackle twitter!

    Michele

    February 16, 2009

    Thanks Roni! I had no idea it was that easy. Forgot to say in my first post that the Twitter info was very helpful, thanks!

    Jennifer

    February 19, 2009

    Great info, thanks! I like your other blog too.

    @JenniferCrego

    Cathy

    February 20, 2009

    This was super informative!!