Different people use Twitter for different reasons. There are people that use it to blog about their breakfast or there are people that blog news articles on different sources. (Example: @cameronolivier is great with design resources like myself) An example of a company doing this would be @engadget or @nytimes blogging news or tech news articles within 140 characters and then adding a link to a full article.
Now what happens when you follow people is that you see all of their updates, combined with yours, on your Twitter homepage. (There are Twitter desktop clients, I will educate you on those later) If you are following 5 people and 4 of them post 3 times a day, but the 5th posts 3 times a minute – the 5th person will dominate and overpower your homepage. There are three solutions to this problem: One – You can unfollow the person that is posting a lot. Two – You can start following more people that post more often and have a variety of more posts to read. Three – You can get a desktop client that allows for “scrollable” reading of your tweets (no more loading pages).
Keep in mind, the idea of Twitter is not to log on and read everything that has happened since you were last logged on. Your level of participation is relative to your free time and how much you want to get involved in the “process”. That being said, a desktop client is a great idea. I recommend a free program called “Twhirl”, think of it as a messaging client like AIM, but for Twitter. I recommend this particular program because it allows for easy access to your tweets, direct messages, and @replies. Twhirl offers a one-click reply, direct message, favorite, and re-tweet. (See definitions below) This program also allows you to add pictures and if you include a URL address in your tweet it automatically turns it into a “tinyurl” to save you space on your 140 characters.
Reply – A reply is when you are responding to someone else’s tweet, if you put an “@” symbol in front of their name it will be brought to their attention so the can read it whether or not they were online when you sent it. For example a message to me would look like this “@swichi293 How have you been bud?” or “I am at the movies with @swichi293 and @henhousemedia”
Direct message – A direct message is essentially a reply, but private. This still is required to remain under 140 characters. When you receive a direct message Twitter will send you an email to let you know, making it a great way to get someone’s attention. You can only direct message someone if they are following you.
Favorite – You can make tweets a “favorite” this puts them into your favorites folder and saves them to look at later. Essentially it is the same thing as adding a YouTube video as a favorite. What tweets you add as favorites is totally personal preference. Keep in mind other people can see your favorites.
ReTweet – A retweet is the “reposting of someone else’s tweet” The format of a retweet is
“RT @swichi293: 17 Places To Look For Freelance Jobs – ”
The “RT: stands for retweet and let’s everyone know it isn’t your post. Since the @swichi293 is in there it brings it to my attention as a reply and shows everyone else who originally posted it. The objective of the RT is that if you retweet someone else’s post they will do the same to you. When you post something interesting or cool and it gets retweeted you get followers. This is the most common way to get followers. There are several articles around talking about “retweet etiquette” but as anything with Twitter, it’s personal preference.
Hashtag – A hashtag turns a normal word into a searchable term. The way to create a hashtag is to put a “#” in front of a word. An example of a hastag is “#followfriday”, followfriday has become a cult phenomena on Twitter. What happens on Friday is that everyone says “#followfriday @swichi293 He’s a really cool guy to follow for design news”. Usually that person will return the favor and each person gets more followers from the other person’s audience. Another good hashtag is #BTV which people will put into the tweet anytime they are talking about something happening in Burlington. The advantage of the hashtag is that it makes the word “clickable”. When you click on a hashtag it show you everyone that has typed that word as a #hashtag on the entirety of Twitter. If you want to find people in the Burlington area, look up the #BTV hashtag and see who is using it.
Now all that being said, here are some resources and articles for you to use:
NearbyTweets – This is site that uses the location of your IP address to see who is tweeting near you.
TwitSeeker – Use this site to search people’s bios for people to follow. Example: search “video production” or “marketing”
For those of you that don’t know who I am, my name is Brian Swichkow (Twitter: @swichi293) and I am a design blogger. I will use Twitter to blog about design, photography, marketing, and technology stuff. This “stuff” would be comprised of inspirations, freebies, tutorials, articles and more. I post 200+ articles per day and save all of my resources, if you are ever in need of a specific inspiration, resource, tutorial, etc. – feel free to ask. Until I get famous I will answer EVERY email I get. email@example.com