The ABCs of Twitter

Twitter is gaining traction as a social media communications platform. With 100 million monthly active users around the world who send over 5 billion tweets a month, prospects, newbies and participants must learn Twitter’s unique shorthand. To bring you up to speed, here are the ABCs of Twitter.

  • A is for apps. It’s also for avatar, how you appear to the world. Change this so  your profile doesn’t appear to be a bot.
  • B is for bot, a form of Twitter spam. Of course, it’s also for Twitter bait.
  • C is for chats. Twitter chats, a prime example of social media’s many-to-many communication, is great way to interact and learn from others. (Here’s how to be a Twitter Chat Champion.) My two favorites are #UsGuys, a free wheeling 24/7 discussion among friendly users, and #BlogChat, a fast moving conversation about blogging on Sunday evenings at 9.00pm ET.
  • D is for direct message. This is a personal message from one participant to another. Unlike email, both parties must be following each other in order to exchange direct messages.
  • E is for email notification, notices that alert participants about new followers, direct messages and mentions. E is also for eggheads, these are participants who haven’t personalized their avatar.
  • F is for followers, those people who want to see what you’re communicating on Twitter. (Here’s a list of top followed Twitter users.) F is also for #FollowFriday or #FF for short. FF is a Friday meme where you recommend people worth following and give a reason why.
  • G is for GPS – one way to share your physical location with your followers. You must give permission to divulge this information.
  • H is for handle, your Twitter username that you select. To maximize your 140 characters of message space you should try to minimize the length of your handle, especially since the @ sign is added to your handle in tweets. H is also for hashtags (#)a means for tagging your Twitter conversation with searchable keywords.
  • I is for icons. Twitter users have expanded the usage and versatility of Twitter’s icon.
  • J is for Jail where you wind up if you overuse Twitter within a given period of time.  Twitter will lock your out for a few hours if you go over the limit of 100 tweets in a single hour or 1,000 tweets in a day. It happened to me when I was an active participant of #BlogChat.
  • K is for Klout, one of the growing measures of online influence.
  • L is for lists, which provide a means for organizing the people you follow on Twitter. L is also for live tweeting at an event. It’s like live blogging only faster.
  • M is for mention. This is when another person puts your Twitter handle in their tweet. It’s a way of getting someone’s attention or attributing a comment to another person.
  • N is for new tweet. This is when you start a new discussion, rather than retweet or respond to someone else.
  • O is for open, Twitter freely opens its data to other websites and applications (apps) allowing others to build upon its services.
  • P is for profile. This is your information on Twitter. It’s recommended that you brand or personalize it to reflect you as well as to link to your other social media and websites. P is also for promoted tweets and trends, forms of Twitter advertising. Lastly, p is for photos that can be distributed via Twitter. There’s J. Krum’s now famous photo of the US Airway plane that landed in the Hudson River.
  • Q is for QR codes that some participants use as their avatar. While QR codes are useful for connecting to information, on Twitter, they’re not recognizable. I recommend using a photograph or other image.
  • R is for retweet (RT for short.) This is when you repeat someone else’s tweet. It gives them credit for being the originator of the information. R is also for reputation, that’s important on social media platforms.
  • S is for search. Want to find out what’s happening in real time on Twitter or in the world for that matter, put a term into the Twitter search box. It’s how news is conveyed now.
  • T is for Twitter of course. But on a more serious note, T is for tweets, Twitter’s 140 character messages. T is also for trends, the top topics at any given point in time. You can adjust the location to see how topics vary.
  • U is for updates another name for how people communicate on Twitter.  (Want to see some stats? Check the top tweeters.) U is also for URL shortener, used to reduce the length of a URL to take up a smaller number of characters.
  • V is for violations; Twitter defines hacked tweets and spam as forms of violations. V is also for videos that can be conveyed via Twitter.
  • W is for widgets that include Twitter. (For example, check out the widget in the right hand column showing my recent tweets.)
  • X is for xenophobia that doesn’t exist on Twitter since you can connect with people around the world.
  • Y is for you, the Twitter participant who make this social media platform more engaging.
  • Z is for zero, the number of followers and tweets you have when you first start using Twitter.

Twitter is more than just a social media platform; it extends and enhances how we communicate in real time. It truly helps users get smarter, faster and makes the world a much more connected place.

What other points would you add to this list and why? Please add your comments below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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Photo credit: Illustration based on photograph by jerebu via Flickr 
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