Sunday, July 28, 2013

What you need to know about Twitter By David Pride, social media specialist

Not too long ago if someone asked if you were on Twitter you may suspect they were using slang for some sort of drug or perhaps digging for a reference having to do with Tweety Bird. Now a days when people ask if they can reach you via Twitter, you probably know what they mean. But, do you understand all of the great things you can do with Twitter? Below I will offer you three things you should know about Twitter. If you have a question while reading, tweet at me and I’ll answer you live time @DavidaPride.

Search, Hashtags, @, RT, and DM…What does it mean?

Twitter offers you a handful of methods to communicate with your community. If you want to send a message to the world then all you need to do is simply type your thought out and keep it to 140 characters (in fact, keep it to about 120 so that people can retweet your post if they want to). Once you click “Tweet” your post is live and goes out to the Twittersphere. Think of it this way; I just walked into a crowded space and want to let folks know that I’m really excited about the sale at Levinsky’s. I only have about 12 words to do so before I lose my voice. I might tweet/say something like this, “I'm super pumped about the sale on Bruins garb at Levinsky's! Who's with me?”

Across the street dining at the Windham mecca, Chutes, sits my friend who reads my tweet and wants to let me know he’s headed over as soon as he finishes his hobo hash. So, he would click “Reply” and type “@DavidaPride I’m on my way!” Since my friend used the “@” symbol before my name I will be notified that I have been mentioned on Twitter. If he started his tweet with the “@” symbol only, I will see that tweet and it will not appear in his general Twitter stream, only on his profile page and to the other Twitter users who follow both of us. If he wants his whole community to know that he’s on his way over he would say something like this; “I’m on my way @DavidaPride!” Notice in this example he didn’t start with the “@,” therefore it goes out to all of Twitter.

What if my friend didn’t want his tweet to be public and wanted to tell me privately? In this case he could send me a Direct Message (DM). A DM appears in my Twitter Inbox and is only visible to me.

Here’s where it gets even better. If Levinsky’s were on Twitter and typed into the search bar their company name, they would then see my tweet and anyone else who has talked about them by name on Twitter. They could prepare for my arrival, respond, or even Retweet (RT) my post. If they chose to RT, my post would then go out to all of their followers. A ReTweet is the ultimate compliment on Twitter.

Speaking of hobo hash, I get asked about Hashtags a lot. In my last article about Facebook I talked about hashtags (#), but in case you missed it here’s a review. Using a # before a word makes that word available to be clicked on and grouped together with other people using that same hashtag. A lot of TV shows use them, #DuckDynasty was a popular one. If you were to click on that hashtag while on Twitter you could then see who else was using that hashtag. It’s a great way to track what subjects you’re interested in.

If you want to take your Twitter search a little deeper and limit it to a specific state where a tweet came from, exact phrases, sentiment, or specific users you can visit here you can do some really great and detailed searches. For example, if you are own a roofing company you could go to this website and search to see who has recently tweeted “I need a roofer” in Maine. You could then respond directly to those users. This is just one example, imagine all the other ways you could meet new people!

There are a few things to keep in mind when using Twitter. Once you send out a tweet, it’s sent. There’s no going back. Even if you delete something you posted to Twitter there are services that can allow a person to see a tweet that has been deleted. Just ask any number of the celebrities and politicians who have used Twitter irresponsibly. The best rule of thumb is this; if you have to think twice about what you’re going to send out – you’re better off not sending it.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you did, let me know! You can find me on Twitter at @DavidaPride, tweet at me and I’ll get right back to you. Have fun out there and go make some great new connections!

David Pride is a graduate of Windham High School Class of 01’ and the Social Media Specialist for Burgess Advertising. He also owns a social media/relationship marketing blog. David can be reached by email at or find him on Twitter @DavidaPride

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