Crazy about Writing: Twitter 101

A few weeks ago, I shared What Happened to All My Peoples?, and a friend suggested that I offer a brief introduction to Twitter. While I definitely don’t claim to be a Twitter expert, my experience might help someone find value in the social media site that I use most, even over Facebook and Pinterest. Twitter doesn’t absorb much time and has the potential to be far reaching.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Unlike Facebook which promotes lengthy posts, Twitter embraces brevity with tweets limited to 140 characters or less. Less, if you’d like people to share your posts or retweet (RT). To share, you just click RT (the two arrows that form a square) or modify it and type MT in front of the original tweet. Generally, if someone RT’s something of mine, I pay it forward and RT something of theirs versus replying with a “thanks.”
RT = Retweet
MT = Modified Tweet
So that you’re not wasting valuable real estate, you can shorten links by using tools like bitly or And just like with every other social media site, pictures play a big role here as well. A favorite (star) means someone likes your tweet or they’re saving it to read later.
Much like Instagram, hashtags are popular on Twitter. I joke around that I think in #hashtags. See? lol. A hashtag is just a conversation, topic or phrase such as #amwriting or #amediting. Google to find hashtags, check to see what’s trending, or jump right in with something fun and unique!
When possible, be strategic in your tweets and include names and hashtags. For example, when I presented a workshop at a local library, I tagged the library system. They retweeted along with a reader’s group, and that day my name and profile was put in front of 61k tweeters. Not a bad return for the one minute it took to compose the tweet, right?
Twitter users follow other tweeters, rather than friend them. Following someone doesn’t obligate them to follow you back, unlike Facebook. Twitter prompts you with suggestions of who to follow. I recommend clicking on a profile first and checking their tweets. Who wants to follow someone who tweets the daily max of 2400? (I can’t even imagine!) Those tweeters would inundate your feed. And why bother to follow someone whose only interaction is through Facebook or whose tweets are all “buy my product?” Also, once you follow 2k, you will be restrained by a follower to following ratio, which you can learn more about here. TMI?
Be aware of eggheads and tweets by someone with no followers, and if you get a message like “somebody’s spreading nasty rumors about you,” don’t open the link.
As your Twitter account grows, lists are helpful to manage the people you follow, and lists can be public or private. Some ideas for lists might be friends, family, news, celebrities, etc. If you pull those special people into a list, you will always catch their updates.
Sound off. Did I miss a topic you’d like to see covered?

Did this post give you the courage to give Twitter a try?

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