Since launching in July 2007, Twitter has grown to become the second most popular social media network behind Facebook, with 140 million active users. Users generate over 340 million tweets per day, and there’s a wealth of fascinating discoveries you can make using Twitter. Let’s get familiar with the terminologies that you will face on Twitter so you can understand how it works.
Getting To Grips with the Jargon
The ‘Tweets’ are the short messages that you post. Every Tweet has a 140 characters limit, so you need to be short and succinct in delivering your message to your followers. The act of posting a message on twitter is referred to as Tweeting.
Following is almost as important as tweeting. You can follow twitter accounts on the basis of your interests. Other people who find your account to be interesting will also follow you. When you follow someone, their tweets will appear on your Timeline – the timeline being the stream of tweets that appears on your home page.
Next, you have to use the @ sign to mention a specific user on your tweets. Using the @ sign before the username ensures that the user will be notified about your tweet. Similarly, if you want to say something about someone’s tweet, you can just click on ‘reply’ and the username of the person you are replying to will be automatically on the start of your tweet with the @ sign.
Tweets with the @ sign are called Mentions. You can mention others and others can mention you- it’s a two way communication process. You can check who mentioned you under the Connect tab on your home page.
Retweeting is another great way of interacting, and is commonly abbreviated to RT. You can retweet others’ tweets with a click on the Retweet button that appears beneath the tweet, or you can manually retweet by copying and pasting. In case of manual Retweet, putting RT in front of the tweet is common twitter etiquette.
If you want to communicate with someone in private you can Direct Message them – however, you can only send direct messages to users who follow you. Direct Message, commonly known as DM, is also restricted by the 140-character limit.
A Hashtag (#) is used to specify a keyword or topic. Using Hashtag allows you to join a conversation on a specific topic and create new trends. For example, if you tweet about a match during Euro 2012, you can put a Hashtag like #Euro2012 to mark the topic of your tweet. You can find the most commonly used topics on Twitter at a specific moment on the list of Trends. The list is visible on the sidebar of your Twitter home page, and you can even specify the geographic location of the trends from your settings.
A Global Impact
Twitter has become a powerful social media with a huge impact on our daily lives. Twitter is more than just a place where you only post updates about what you are doing and see what other people are up to; Twitter has become a platform where you can communicate, share, learn, and most importantly, initiate change. Twitter acts as a closely knitted and responsive social media, a strong news aggregator and a socio-political change maker. News of many global events quickly spread through Twitter. Recent political changes that took place in Egypt were aided by the use of Twitter. Companies worldwide are now using Twitter to increase their brand value and get closer to their consumers.
Combined with other forms of online marketing such as blogs, Pinterest, Facebook and SEO outsourcing, you’ll find that Twitter remains an essential part of growing your business online.