Twitter, Stacey Myers

Twitter Jargon Demystified – Part 1

This is Twitter.com says about Twitter:

'An information network

Twitter is a real-time information network that connects you to the latest information about what you find interesting. Simply find the public streams you find most compelling and follow the conversations.

At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don’t let the small size fool you—you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos and other media content.

You don’t have to tweet to get value from Twitter

You don’t have to build a web page to surf the web and you don’t have to tweet to enjoy Twitter. Whether you tweet 100 times a day or never, you still have access to the voices and information surrounding what interests you. You can contribute, or just listen in and retrieve up to the second information. Some people never tweet, they simply use Twitter as a way to get the latest information on their interests.'

So, that is twitter in a nutshell.

I agree that you can probably get a lot of value from twitter, even if you never tweeted.  But twitter is a great place to connect with people, create relationships, share your voice and story to the world.  You can use it to invite people back to your website to learn more from your content, or invite them to connect with you on Facebook.

So why would you just be a casual observer??

There are many reasons people are just casual observers.  They feel they have nothing to say, who would want to listen to them, they do not have a blog or website to invite people to, they have not created any products or services to talk about, they don't fully understand how Twitter works and what everything means.  

I know people think this because I have talked to them, I also know, because these were the kinds of things that were going through my head when I was looking to start on twitter.

You don't have to be scared – just jump in!

To help you on your way I am going to explain some of the common words you might have been wondering about – like hash (#) tags, DM, RT, Mentions, @ symbol, twitter handle.

Let's start with a 'Twitter Handle'-

A 'Twitter Handle' is your username and URL (web address) that is used on twitter.  For example – mine is @staceylmyers.  Whenever you see someone's name with the @ symbol in front of it – it is their username on twitter.  My Twitter URL is: www.twitter.com/staceylmyers. I can give people that address and if they put it in the address bar on the internet it will take them straight to my profile page on Twitter.

Most people when choosing a 'handle' will either use their name or business.  Sometimes the name you want is taken and you need to tweak it a bit.  I want to have – staceymyers – but it was already taken, so I put my middle initial in there.  Some people use an underscore – Making_aMillion or put a number.  If want you want is not available you will have to just try a few different combinations, until you find one that is available.

'Hashtags (#)' are used before keywords in tweets to categorise the tweets.  You can use the search menu in Twitter to search for a particular hashtag and any tweet that has been used with that tag will show up in the search.  It is great to use at events, where the host or even the participants themselves, will create a hash tag for an event and ask whenever anyone tweets from, or about, the event they use the hashtag.  This also allows those participants to later search the hashtag and connect to anyone that was at the event that tweeted with it.

If there is a topic you have an interest in, you can search for that topic in the search bar to see if there is a hash tag in use for that. I did a search for #rawfood and there is a hash tag for that.  I can then start in the conversation about raw food by using the #rawfood hashtag in my posts.

As well as searching for the hashtag, if you click on a hashtag in a post and it will take you to all of the posts that have that tag.

A very popular hashtag will sometimes become on of the 'Trending Topics'.  Trending topics, which can be seen on the right hand side in Twitter, are topics of discussion, news items or emerging trends that are really popular at the moment.  I know when we had the riots in London – #LondonRiots was one of the trending topics. It is what a lot of people are talking (tweeting) about.

There are many hash tag directories that will list out all of the hashtags in use. Check tagdef.com out to get an ideas of the thousands of hashtags out there.

DM Direct Message (it is now shown in twitter as Message, but people still refer to it as a direct message) is a private message sent to one of your followers.  Other people cannot see these messages. You cannot send a DM to anyone that is not following you.

To send a message or see who has messaged you, click on the Messages tab at the top of the page.  There you will see who has DM you and you can click on New Message to message someone else (as so long as they are one of your followers).

Read Part 2 here.

Please comment below and tell me which of these you are going to try out this week. Maybe for you it will be starting out on Twitter by choosing a 'handle'.

Also write in the comment area or on my Facebook page anything that you would like me to cover in the upcoming weeks.

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