Different from e-mail and Facebook, Twitter is not about keeping your profile ‘private’, of course you can set it private, but the essence of Twitter is that it is an open source of information. Twitter won’t be your diary; Twitter will be your newspaper.
Let’s start with the Twitter A-B-C, if you know the basic concepts in e-mailing you will get Twitter easily:
- Pick your Twitter account/handle: Remember when you created your first e-mail, well this is pretty much the same, but shorter it is just @nickname. As in e-mail, you can have different handles, one for personal stuff, some other connected to your personal brand. That will be your name in the Twittersphere. For example, I am @tonidelrio. Tips: try to make it short, remember this is micro-blogging, you only have 140 characters, and your handle counts in those 140 characters when people mention you, reply to you or retweet you. Say what? Don’t worry we are getting there.
- Mentions: If you write a tweet and you mention someone who is on Twitter, you want to use their Twitter handle, rather than their real name. This way this person can track your mentions and people reading your tweets can find the person you are referring to in Twitter. For example, rather than tweeting: “The new Ashton Kutcher movie is awesome”, you want to tweet: “The new @aplusk movie is awesome”. @aplusk is Ashton’s handle.
- Reply: When you want to reply start the tweet with the Twitter handle you are replying to.
- ReTweet (RT): You will see the initials RT in many tweets. Retweeting is to Twitter what forwarding is to e-mail. If you see someone else’s tweet and want to share with your followers you retweet it by adding RT at the beginning of your message.
- Hashtags (#): Frequently you will see words that start with a # symbol (i.e. #iranelection, #michaeljackson, #superbowl). Those words are call hashtags and you can include as many as necessary in your 140-character tweet. Hashtags are to Twitter, what subjects are to e-mail. It gives your tweet a topic. Hashtags were created by users to ease the search within the Twittersphere.
Ready, set, TWEET!