Guest post by my brilliant EA, Lindy Waldeck.
Followers, re-tweet, flushing, symbols like # and @. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with the phenomenon that is Twitter, it can be tweeping confusing!
Brainstorming blog post ideas, DJ (a.k.a Dean Jones, a.k.a My Bossman) suggested we tackle the topic “Twitter De-mystified”.
I say “Perfect, you can write that with your eyes closed Twitterdeani”. You must know by now that Dean is Twitter obsessed.
Wrong! Dean had in mind that this post was to be my glory and my time to finally learn all that lays beneath Twitter… against my will
I am indeed a Twitter user, however I’d call myself more of a casual tweeter. Strange I know, given that my boss is just about preaching Twitter is set to take over the world.
I’m no expert on the inner workings of Twitter so I set about researching and getting to know the business model that is making some serious waves in the Social Media space. Yes, I’m getting paid to play with Twitter, life is good and I won’t complain.
Twitter is ‘basic’, there is not much to it. Ok, but how is something so simple confusing to so many?
For those of you not completely tweet savvy, read on as I ‘De-mystify Twitter’.
Tweet Tweet it’s all about the Tweet!
This term is used for the messages/updates (short and sweet with a maximum of 140 characters) that you type into your ‘what are you doing right now’ box at the top of your Twitter home page. You can also Tweet via a mobile phone or a 3rd party Twitter client. Within this Twitter update you can add a photo, reference a particular site or even a video by simply pasting a link. And given that Twitter updates are kind of ‘tight’ for space the ‘shorten link’ button will reduce your URL characters to allow for more text.
Think of Facebook and updating your status (but slightly different.) A ‘tweet’ is Similar to a txt message except your txt is sent free of charge and can reach all of your followers in one message (3 million plus if you’re Ashton Kutcher or a whooping 78 followers if you’re @LindyWaldeck).
So as you could imagine, quite powerful if you’re marketing a business or even yourself.
So what is a Follower?
Twitter is a following game. Follow me and I ‘may’ follow you (reminds me of a song actually, more on that some other time). Social Media sites like Facebook and MySpace use the term ‘friend request’ and Twitter uses ‘follower’. There are differences as Twitter is public (unless you choose to protect the page) and Facebook is quite restricted ‘usually’ to being viewed by your friends and your immediate network.
A person following me will see my updates displayed on their Twitter home page amongst all the other people they follow.
You see, the great thing with Twitter is that you don’t actually have to have friends to have friends if you know what I mean. Total random people will follow you and in turn make you feel special.
My preference is to follow celebrities as I find it intriguing that they choose to put certain parts of their life on display. I follow a few friends and occasionally a random hot man I might stalk.
And what is this ‘@’ business?
This one confused me early on in my Twitter discovery. The @ symbol is used in front of a user name. If you place the @ symbol in front of a user name this will tag and get the attention of that user. For example if I want DJ to see what I’ve written or include him I’ll simply type @whodeani (Whodeani being his username) followed by my message.
This message will show up in his chain of updates (as he is following him). Whodeani will also be able to see this update by clicking on @whodeani on the right hand side of his page. In my case, @lindywaldeck is where I find messages from my many admirers. It’s also a handy tool to check if you’ve missed any action directed your way.
What are Direct Messages (or DM’s)?
You’ll also see in the screen grab above ‘direct messages’. These are private messages between users. I have noticed very public figures/celebrities disable this feature, probably a good idea given the amount of people that would love to contact them.
Remember that your Twitter page (unless protected/locked) is totally open to the weird and wonderful. Anybody can view your updates on Twitter. Followers and non-followers alike can view all your updates.
So a Twitter user doesn’t necessarily need to ‘follow’ you in order to ‘follow’ you. Sounds creepy huh? No, It’s fantastic.
Some advice: Be selective with the info you choose to tweet. Don’t want you getting into any tweeting trouble.
RT... Please Explain?
RT = Re-tweet which = basically a re-post of another person’s update.
For example Sarah Silverman posts something hilarious that I want to share with my followers so I simply place my mouse over her tweet and to the right side you’ll notice RT appear. Click on this and hey presto you’ll see it appear in your update box. The RT will be directed at the person who posted it.
Very useful when you have absolutely nothing interesting to share with the ‘tweet-er-verse’. Take note: add tweet or twit to anything for instant ‘tweet-cred’.
A Twitter trend is what exactly?
It’s some sort of fashion statement right? No. Wrong.
In the screen grab above you’ll notice to the right of the page (trying to ignore the pre pubescent picture of @iamdiddy) a section headlined Trending Topics.
A Twitter trend is a popular topic that people are tweeting about at any given moment. For example there may be a lot of talk surrounding the television show ‘Dance Your Ass Off’. There's laughing, there's outrage, fat people are mad and the skinny amused. Whatever people are saying, the noisiest topic will become a Twitter Trending Topic.
You may have noticed the use of the # symbol aka the hashtag in the above picture. The # is used to promote the theme or subject matter of your tweet by simply placing it at the start of a word, phrase or topic. Should anyone then search that particular topic, it will appear in the search results.
Hashtags also appear within the Twitter timeline as ‘hot links’. Clicking on any topic highlighted by a Hashtag will take you to the Twitter Search results page for that topic. Clever.
Recently I watched an episode of US TV show Tiny and Toya online (wouldn’t recommend unless you love bad reality TV shows as I do) but I couldn’t find the follow up episodes. I noticed #tinyandtoya as a top trending topic on Twitter, clicked on it and found threads and threads of tweets about the show, reviews, where to watch online etc. So I excitedly watched episodes 2, 3 and 4.
Hey it’s all part of my job de-mystifying Twitter.
Twitter Search, Not Just Your Average Search
Not another search engine I hear you say. My thoughts exactly until I found Tiny and Toya using this new search technology known as ‘real time’ search. Twitter search is real time search and is constantly updated every second. Tweets are the basis of the results. It provides instant information on topics from what people are saying now. Not archived results or days... even weeks old information.
You may remember the Hudson River plane crash was first reported via a tweet from Janis Krums, a passenger on a nearby ferry when she posted a picture of the plane via her Twitter account.
Now I remembered this occurrence, however the fine detail such as the photographers name and picture below I found using Twitter Search.
Earlier this year Whodeani launched Australia’s first real time search engine called appropriately enough, Real Time Search. Real Time Search uses Twitter’s API to access their real time search results with a focus on those ‘tweets’ coming from Australia. And yes, there’s my shameless plug
Recently with the tragic loss of Michael Jackson I turned to Real Time Search and anxiously watched updates from other Australians of what I thought initially was a rumor mill spinning out of control. This swift form of search is usually ahead of what traditional media is reporting.
>I hope you have gained a little insight into Twitter that you may not have already had.
As to what I hope to gain now? More followers. Come on you know you want to follow me. Handsome potential followers should click here @lindywaldeck right now! And don’t forget Bossman also, you can follow him @whodeani.
Posted by Lindy Waldeck on 08/09 at 11:18 PM