Twitter has seen a resurgence of late. The President’s Tweet storms have helped bring attention to the social media outlet. Also the recent news that tweets will expand to 280 characters has excited the edit-challenged.

Surprisingly, many are still not on Twitter. “I just don’t get it.” Okay. As lovers of Twitter, we’re going to help you “get it.”

Twitter The Basics

The first step is to understand the speak. There are certain words and jargon native to Twitter that you may already have heard in passing. These terms and their abbreviations (in parentheses) are essential for understanding the network.

  • Tweet:A 140-character message (again, expanding to 280-characters.)
  • Retweet (RT):Re-sharing or giving credit to someone else’s tweet.
  • Feed:The stream of tweets you see on your homepage. It’s comprised of updates from users you follow.
  • Handle:Your username. @stephenpkoranda @downtownnorman or @visitokc
  • Mention (@):A way to reference another user by his username in a tweet (e.g. @backtoyoumktg). Users are notified when @mentioned. It’s a way to conduct discussions with other users.
  • Hashtag (#):A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (e.g. #Christmas #TheVoice or #SocialMedia).

Twitter has a great online glossary that you can refer to if there are other terms that stump you.

Following and Followers

Once you’ve squared away your username, photo and bio, you need to seek out people to follow. Twitter will help you with that but to start, follow friends and friends of friends.

Enter the Foray: Three ways

You tweet. Send a 140-character observation into the ether and hope someone sees it. If you use a #hashtag relating to the subject, you might have a better chance of getting it seen. More on hashtags below.

Join the conversation. Tap “reply” and comment on a person’s tweet. Could be as simple as “I agree.” Or share your opposing opinion. Emojis and GIFs are also part of the vernacular on Twitter.

Or merely retweet. Like a quote, article, picture or video? Simply share it by tapping “retweet.” You’ll have two options: simply retweet it or add a comment to the retweet.

Hashtags

Mashable explains hashtags: A hashtag is a discovery tool that allows others to find your tweets, based on topics. They label and indicate the subject matter of certain conversations taking place on Twitter. The hashtag is represented by the number sign “#.” Putting one of these little symbols in front of a word or phrase indicates a subject you think is worth talking about. The words you use after the hashtag become searchable because Twitter tracks them. That is to say, if you click on a particular hashtag, you’ll be able to see all tweets that have also used that hashtag. It’s a grouping mechanism that allows you to get the general public’s sense about a specific topic or issue. You can also click on a hashtag to see all the tweets that mention it in real time — even from people you don’t follow.

This is a very convenient way to drop in on subjects as broad as #OrganicFood or as focused as #BehindTheLaunch. Feel free to create your own subjects — just make sure you don’t use any spaces between words in a hashtag. And #Dont #Use #A #Hashtag #With #Every #Word

Hope that helps. Follow us at @backtoyoumktg for more on Twitter, marketing, social media, and business practices.