“Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length which are displayed on the user’s profile page and delivered to other users who have subscribed to them (known as followers). Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow anybody to access them. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. The service is free to use over the Internet, but using SMS may incur phone service provider fees.” (Wikipedia)
I manage a number of Twitter accounts:
- http://www.twitter.com/drbexl (general tweets)
- http://www.twitter.com/digitalfprint (social media tweets)
- http://www.twitter.com/ww2poster (history tweets)
- http://www.twitter.com/sfdo (adrenalin sports tweets)
Tips from my Experience of Twitter
- The fun challenge in Twitter is getting an understandable message across in 140 characters!
- If others like your information, they may “Retweet” it, thus their circle of friends may also read it.
- Twitter is about relationship building, you can’t just “broadcast” announcements out, you need to engage with your followers.
- Post a mix of useful information, links to others tweets/information, and some personal information… quotes seem to work quite well too!
- Think carefully about the name that you use for Twitter. Shorter is better so you can be re-tweeted, and you’re not using up large chunks of your 140 characters before you start..
- Add a clear picture of yourself. I don’t like following people without ‘avatars’ unless I already know them in ‘the real world’.
- Think carefully about how you use your 160 characters for your ‘biography’, as others will use this (along with your ‘feed’).
- Password protected accounts allow you to have private conversations, but you can only have one account per email address so think carefully.
- If you’re going to feed your status updates into Facebook, and you’re planning on fully engaging, you may want to find the “Selective Twitter” app in Facebook, adding #fb to your “Tweet” (otherwise FB friends will unsubscribe as you fill up their feed!).
- Use ‘hashtags’ (#) to follow conversations. There’s a number of now settled hashtags (e.g. #followfriday, although the etiquette for recommending is somewhat interesting, and a certain amount of you pat my back, etc.), but otherwise you can invent one. They’re generally ephemeral so with a few basic checks (e.g. on searches), it’s a fairly safe bet.
I think this diagram “Twitter Currency” sums it up really well (and will, in time, add information on useful add-ons for Twitter, as I LOVE TWITTER).
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.