Twitter 101: Twitter Terminology

Class Objective: Twitter Terminology

  • 1. Find out what everything means.
  • 2. Understand Twitter ettiquette and syntax.
  • 3. Learn what you can do with Twitter and why you might want to!

Now that you’ve setup your account you might think it’s time to starting making friends on Twitter! Nope, that’s the next post. Before you make your Twitter debut (which technically you should assume you’ll only be making once) take a second to understand everything you can and can’t do on Twitter.

You’ll save time by not having to stop and learn as you go. You can be organized from the get go and avoid any Twitter party fouls.

Twitter Term: Are you a Leader or Follower?

On Twitter you can be both!

Maybe you don’t plan on requiring a huge fan base for your business or entertainment group…but you want to find out particular information, as it becomes available – you’ll probably spend more of your time looking for interesting people/places/things to follow, then getting people to follow you.

Maybe you’re a new band (like the one that opened for the Fray – @MeeseMusic) who is looking for another channel to get their music, concerts, and other events out there…you’ll probably be looking for more followers then people to follow..

Following

You following Someone – When you decide to “follow” someone, you’ll automatically receive all messages they post on your newsfeed (timeline of Tweets).

  • The person you follow receives an alert you’re now following them. They can then decide to become your follower too or decide maybe later.
Follower

Someone following You – Someone who will now read your Tweets in their timeline.

  • You wouldn’t add everyone as a friend on Facebook (although some people do…), don’t take it personally if everyone you follow doesn’t become you follower.

@GeeketteBits is following 655 and has 415 followers.

Tweeting!

Ok, so now you’re ready to start tweeting. What does that even mean? Below I’ve listed common Twitter actions/terms:

Re-tweet (RT) Re-Tweeting Tweep’s Tweets – reposting a snippet someone else posted and giving them FULL credit. Now everyone following them AND everyone following you will see the message.

* Tweeps take this as a compliment as many’s main goal is to get to word out.

geekettebits Thanks 4 this info! RT:@weatherman – it’s going to rain Sunday!

fisherman RT: @geekettebits Thanks 4 this info! RT: @weatherman – it’s going to rain Sunday!

Notice the first time I re-tweeted a message someone posted. It will automatically pre-pend my message with my Twitter name – my examples are what they’d look like in someone’s timeline.

The second time @fisherman thought others could use the information and they gave credit to @weatherman delivering the news and to @geekettebits for finding it.

If you want to get your message out, make it easy to re-tweet! A lot of times I have to abbreviate a lot of the message – which takes time, each time. Short, concise messages are much easier to copy paste. (Remember you only get 140 characters, with URLs and )

*NOTE: Right now there is no re-tweet button on Twitter’s website. They are in the process of adding this functionality incorporating RT functionality into its website.

@username Within any Tweet (message), a “@” followed immediately by a Twitter name will automatically create a hyperlinked reference to that person.



Happy Birthday
@BarackObama!

That way, anyone reading the message can easily go to that person’s Twitter profile.

Mention Whenever you name drop in a tweet, normally a “@username” in the middle of a tweet. (Normally not the first word in tweet, see Replies.)

Happy Birthday
@readersdigest, hope you had a good one!


@orangecup always posts the BEST specials on frozen yogurt.

Reply Official Reply – Click arrow next to each message to respond to THAT specific message. Each message has a unique ID so other Twitter tools can easily display entire “conversation” threads.

Unofficial Reply – Replies normally start with @username in front of the message.

@Dove_Chocolate, I’m replying to an official msg OR I’m just letting you know I had a great time at dinner.

#hashtags Hashtags – a label/tag that hyperlinks automatically to other tweets with the same #search term. Twitter search is no Google search.

Interest groups use the same #hashtag to easily find each other’s tweets. Businesses use them to easily find what their customers are saying, for example: #usaa.

You can have multiple tags on the same message.

Use this code to get #FREE movies @blockbuster #movies #coupon #promo

Now everyone using the hashtags “#free” OR “#movies” OR “#coupon” OR “#promo” will potentially see my message…instead of just the people directly following me. People use this to find Tweeps with similar interests.

One very popular hashtag is #FollowFriday (or #FF) – where you let your followers know who you think is worth following. Remember you get only 140 characters so another way to let your readers know who you follow is listed below.

Timeline (Home)

The “timeline” page is the homepage which displays tweets from all the people you are following. On the sidebar (column on the right of each Twitter page)

*Notice that the screenshot in the previous section is what’s displayed in my PROFILE – different sidebars!

  • Profile Sidebar – public information, displays my micro-bio, location, website, my favorite tweets/tweeters, and friends that I’m following.
  • Timeline Sidebar – private, for my eyes only.
@geekettebits All your replies and mentions are displayed, most recent first. Quick and easy way to see who’s talking about you.
Direct Messages Links to your Inbox/Sent messages (140 characters or less) that are privately sent to and from you.

  • You can only send a DM if you are “following” them AND they are “following” you.

    *Often people ask you to follow them so they can send you a private message asking for your e-mail or other personal information.

  • Often, DMs are automatically sent when you start following them (like a welcome note.) Instead of “Thank you for following me” Personalized DMs carry a lot of weight with me although including a link to a Facebook Fan page is a good idea too.
Favorites Bookmark Tweets – lists all starred tweets, anything you found interesting or want to keep track of.

  • Star yourself as a way of filtering messages you really want people to read
  • Make announcements/filter through messages with this link.
  • Instead of Follow Friday, starring a good tweet from a favorite tweep is another way to let people know who you enjoy following.

Other Fun Twitter Terminology

Term Definition
co-twitterer Many business-oriented Tweeps have multiple people writing and responding for their account – thus the need.
mistweet Hitting “send” before you were ready, later regretting what you tweeted.
twaffic Twitter traffic, sometimes heavy twaffic slows down the site, frustrating tweeps.
twapps Twitter applications or tools to assist the Twitterer.
tweeple Tweeple are tweeple. Twitter users (plural).
tweeps Followers on Twitter (“Good night tweeps!”).
tweetheart Awww, loved one on Twitter. <3
tweeting Verb, in the process of writing a new tweet.
tweet Multiple meanings – could be referring to a specific message (“Did you check out my latest tweet?”), something you do (“I tweet a lot.”)
tweetup Organized meet up (in person or online) by someone and/or a common interest.
*Frequently accompanied by FREE stuff! (To get people there.)
twitosphere Community of Tweeps.
twitterer Person who tweets.
twittering Writing messages on Twitter.

Now that you know what it means to follow, be followed…and post and respond to tweets, check out my next post for the best people to follow on Twitter and reasons to keep in mind. We’ll also go over ways to organize those lists so you can cleanly keep track of messages without accidentally missing one. After that we’ll start talking about more advanced functionality within Twitter including responding to tweets, even when you’re not home and finding out what kind of grade your scoring, compared to the rest.

By reading my blog posts, you’ll save hours from trying out multiple accounts and functionality…take advantage of the work I’ve already done.

Before

Feel like a Twit?

After

Hopefully not anymore!!

Twitter 101: Twitter Basics – The 5 W’s

Class Objective: Twitter Terminology

  • Twitter Basics – Who, What, Where, When, Why
  • Account Considerations – selecting the name, bio, and logo that will make your BEST statement.
  • Creating an Account
  • Settings – what everything means, preparing your account for the public!

Although it’s easy to setup an account, the site is not completely intuitive. Instead of fending on your own in frustration and time-consuming troubles, I have created a series of posts on Twitter. Most people have heard at least heard about this micro-blogging site but don’t know much more than that. Take my Intro to Twitter and you’ll be tweeting with the best of them (or at least following them!)

Twitter:

Who: Anyone including but not limited to businesses, restaurants, stay at home mom’s, deal finders, finance experts, politicians, retailers, bloggers, know-it-alls, celebrities, chefs, the family cat…anyone with 140 characters on their mind…there is even a dust bunny.

What: Twitter is a social-networking site where users post concise status updates (140 letters, numbers, and other characters or less per message.)

Where: Tweets are submitted online, through SMS text messages, and many other online and desktop applications created for Twitters.  Right now tweets come from all over the world!

When: Frequency ranges from monthly/yearly users to weekly/daily/hourly or even every couple of minutes. Tweet when you want to spread the news, vent, alert people of bad highway traffic, congratulate someone else…limitless.

Why: Why not? Find concise information in one spot based on information interesting to you. You only read tweets from people you are interested in. No two Twitterers are the same.  Some people treat it like a forum or chat room, some only tweet with themselves and make to-do lists that friends can view and remind them.  Businesses have used Twitter to communicate changes, triage poor customer service experiences, alert consumers of great deals! Politicians make announcements, movie stars tweet about their set and location while filming, support groups are easily formed.

I did not jump on the Twitter bandwagon immediately. It took me some time before I started using Twitter…and even longer for it to catch on. However, everything I’ve included in this post were roadblocks I ran into and resolved. Your experience will be a much happier one.

This series of posts will not only include the basics (how-tos), it will also include information to take into consideration when creating an account and planning your social media campaign, automating as much as desired (best Twitter tools I’ve found…), finding people to follow (and getting people to follow you.) I will even look at it from a slightly geeky perspective, introducing you to the Twitter API (if you’d like to write your own Twitter app…) and also explaining the different standard Twitter URLs…making your experience as pleasant as possible.

Before you get started:

You hear how Twitterpated everyone around you is and you’re ready to jump onboard.  Here’s how and some things to take into consideration when creating an account:

1. Twitter username:

  • Does not have to be your full [company] name – actually better if it’s not.  You only get 140 characters so the longer the name, the less content you’ll get when people share your content with others.
  • That said, name should not be obscure, should easily tie back to your originating identity.

2. Availability:

  • What’s in a name?  EVERYTHING!  Found this on Digg – it includes 3 great sites to check for name availability, checking across 100s of social networking sites, read here.  After deciding on your name, you make sure your name is available across not just Twitter but also YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc…Consistency is KEY!  Followers should easily find you on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and anywhere else.

3. Logo:

  • For branding purposes (and to be incredibly efficient), already have square version of your logo prepared.  When users click on your logo, they’ll view a larger version.
  • Image should be clear, simpler is sometimes better.  Not everyone will be on a computer when their reading your Tweets – will your logo look as good on a tiny cell phone screen?

4. Bio:

  • You guessed it!  140 characters or less here too!  Describe yourself as succinctly as possible. Displayed on your public profile, this is the only glance people get – you don’t just talk to strangers, engage and connect them immediately to your brand.
  • If you’re a business or blogger wanting to push people to your website, suggest that they check it out and give them good reasons why!

Getting Started:

Now that you have everything together you’re ready to begin!  (Trust me, it’ll make the account setup quick and easy…a little extra time spent now saved you having to change names, create new accounts, search for pictures, get additional approval later.)

1. Create an Account:

2. Filling the Form:

  • Registration process – incredibly simple
  • Full name – this will sometimes display instead of your username (email alerts sent to followers displays your name with your username in parenthesis.) Do you want people to know your real name? (I keep my full name and username exactly the same.)
  • Keep in mind, users can search by Real Name – is knowing your name important? You might want to include your real name for classmates. If you’re a business, are consumers going to find the name of your company or company appointed tweeter?
  • Same thing with location. Although “Beautiful Aloha” is refreshing and fun, when people are searching by specific places, they might miss your profile based on semantics.

You have now created your new Twitter account!  Please stop now and take a mental break or continue on to “Setting Settings”.

Setting Settings:

Don’t jump the Twitter gun, take the time to personalize your account!  You only get once chance to make a first-impression, if you’re looking to collect followers, take the time to setup a worthwhile page instead of them hitting one under construction with a faceless, colorless profile!

Click on Settings on the top right corner to mess with the following:

1. Account:

  • Modify display name, username, see URL.
  • URL will always be twitter.com/USERNAME
  • Time zone – some apps and search engines pull information based on timezone, also allows people to include you in searches for that time zone.
  • More info URL – Do you have a website?  Include it here…
  • One Line Bio – this will be the About Me in 160 characters or less…
  • Location – there are several Twitter apps that display users based on locations (“Click here to see all Twitter users in THIS place.”)  Other GPS apps dynamically update status with location, or show what people are Twittering about in THIS area.
  • Protect My Tweets – check this box if you’re using Twitter to network and Tweet between friends, or even just yourself.  You don’t want the rest of the world reading your 140 chars and that’s fine.

2. Password:

  • Change password – do yourself a favor and use a strong password.  While writing this post, Google returned over 41 million results for “twitter account hacked“.
    Many celebrities and businesses have fallen prey to hackers who get into your account and spam your followers.  Immediate turn-off when a big name spams its Twitter followers.  Take the time to make a STRONG password.

3. Devices:

  • Twitter from your iPhone or other mobile device.
  • This tab asks for your mobile number, including country code.  Then sent txts to Twitter that will automatically post!

4. Notices:

  • Spam much? Check these boxes if you want to get an e-mail every time someone new starts following you or sends you a direct message.  (See Twitter Terminology in next post.)
  • Consider this – some people want to know when someone new follows their website…they can immediately send out a personalized note, welcoming them! Others get 2,000 new followers a day and getting an email each time is unrealistic.

5. Pictures:

  • Logo – you’ll already have this ready from your initial planning period, immediately upload the image.

6. Design:

  • Select a Theme – 12 standard themes for the unimaginative (or content-based Twitterers.) People know what comes in the box, if show your readers you took the time and made effort.
  • Change background image – a little more creativity?  Upload your own image (either use full-sized or tile.)  My background is actually the same square image, tiled, over and over again to make a pattern. I made mine on this AWESOME website – used the same on my website and Twitter page giving a nice, consistent look.
  • Change design colors – pick the html colors (maybe specific colors that correspond to your website?)  Use this site to pick out complementary colors, find one color you like and it’ll suggest the exact matching/complementary colors to use.
  • IMPORTANT – Play around with the colors and images on different browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome – when downloading new browsers don’t forget to UNCHECK “make this browser my default” unless you don’t want links to automatically open in new browser) and different mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, etc.)  Will it look the same on Windows as it will on a Mac?  Quality is a determining factor for many.

7. Connections:

  • Connections – which Twitter apps are you using?  These apps pull information from your account…use this tab to verify you have allowed them to.  We’ll go into much better detail on my post on Twitter Tools and Applications.
  • Twitter Download – The download page shows possible apps you might consider using, based on your Twittering needs.  I’ll go into detail on future posts, but if you’re tech savvy, be my guest and let me know!

Now is a good stopping point, let everything sink in.  Next post will discuss what everything else on the site means…as well as commonly user Twitter talk.

Future posts will also include information about scheduling posts, analyzing your Twitter metrics, and finding the best tools for your Twitter purpose in life.

Now that you have an account – don’t forget to start following me @geekettebits! I post a lot coupon and promotional deals that can also be found on my blog, without a Twitter account here.

WoW: Google, You Talking to Me?

Website of the Week (WoW): https://www.google.com/voice

Quick Bit: Imagine being able to pick your own number (mine ends in “BLOG”) that forwards to all of your personal, business, and cell phones. Depending on who calls determines which prerecorded voicemail they’ll hear. Unknown numbers will get a standard response, employees will get announcements for the day, family will get yet another.

Let’s say someone leaves you a voicemail and you’re in a meeting? Imagine that the service then transcribes the voicemail and sends it to you in a txt or email. The information is important for your husband’s travelling plans and without having to interrupt your meeting, you forward the email version to him. Too good to be true? Not for Google!

Although it’s invitation only right now, sign up to make this mobile fantasy a reality! (I have one account for my blog and one for my personal use and each took about a week to receive the activation link.)

Google Voice (an enhanced version of the original GrandStation site) offers a generous array of incredibly cool features! Although some are highlighted below, view the complete list here. Answer the call on your computer, switch midway to your cell phone.

The transcript service is not perfect but I’ve used it several times with very accurate messages. I like how you can setup multiple voicemails, groups, forwards, and email conversations immediately, I also like how it keeps track of the different call logs. I think it’s incredibly functional, especially for small businesses that would like to route calls in the best way possible. Even allowing particular numbers to reach a specific “message of the day” would be beneficial to many groups.

Google Supports the Troops: http://www.google.com/militaryinvite (loved ones overseas can now communicate for free to US numbers – call from computer to cells phones and send text messages.)

$$$-Saver(s):

  • Conference in multiple callers
  • Free calls to US & Canada phone numbers
  • Send/Receive/Store texts
  • FREE mobile apps – call for free from cell phone instead of using minutes

*One thing I would’ve liked for it to allow was registering for SMS texts from websites…5 digit numbers you text to subscribe to receive coupons from does NOT work right now. 🙁 I’ve commented on their blog and customer support forums, you should too!

Time-Saver(s):

  • Listen to voicemails as they’re being left, pick up midway through voicemail!
  • Automatically transcribes voicemails – read past voicemails, forward to a business partner in email
  • Listen to voicemail online or via normal phone
  • Personalize voicemails – greeting based on caller groups
  • Forward to multiple phones
  • Record entire conversations or start halfway through

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ (view search results nothing official looking…)

Twitter: www.twitter.com/GoogleVoice

Blog:
http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/

Did you know? Post directly from Office 2007?!

This is a test. Apparently Microsoft Office Word2007 allows bloggers to post directly to their blogs. Here‘s a list of current service providers, including mine, WordPress. I am never the first to sing Window’s praises…but I’m curious!

Why would I or anyone else be interested in this functionality? I have started to create templates (so I can efficiently post blogs in the same series.) I have tried several different WordPress plugins for post templates and have not been happy with any of them. It would be nice to use my Word templates without having to copy them into my website…one stop shop.

It’s also a lot easier to hyperlink in Word (button to the right of the windows key (looks like a list with an arrow) + “h”.)

Geekette’s 8 Top Unknown Websites

If you know these websites or if you know of ones I couldn’t fit into the top 9, comment back!  All of these websites are ones I use on a regular basis – and I feel like I’m in the minority!  Geekette Bits wants to let you know some great sites that you might not have bookmarked:

1. Wayback Machine – is essentially a digital archive of the internet.  Hit a page that isn’t working or doesn’t exist anymore?  Type that address in the search bar and the Wayback Machine allows you to see versions of the same address at different points in time?  Not only is it interesting to see a timeline of different versions of the same website, it’s incredibly helpful when you’re looking for a file that’s not longer available.

For example check www.cnn.com in 2000, 2004, and 2008!  Even more different – www.espn.com in 98, 01, and 07.

2. Social Vibe – logon to the website, pick your favorite cause (i.e. World Wildlife Federation), and then pick your favorite brand (i.e. Hello Kitty.)  Social Vibe will generate a badge to stick on Facebook, Myspace, blogs, etc. and every time someone sees your badge on the social network page your cause gets money from the brand that paid for advertisements!

3. Criminal Searches – have you wondered who’s really teaching your children or repairing your front door?  While I’m normally not a pessimistic person, I am a thorough cyber-stalker when it comes to the safety of my child.  This website draws information from public records for a quick, accurate search.

You can also view “Neighborhood Watch“, “Sex Offender Finder“, “Criminal Statistics“, or sign up for alerts about particular people.

4. Pageonce – “you can simultaneously access, view, and manage the information from your personal accounts in these popular categories – finance, shopping, utilities, and travel” boasts Pageonce’s website.  Not only is it an incredibly helpful website to use on your computer at home, the mobile views are concise, allowing easy views of all your information at once from your iPhone or Blackberry.

5. Glassdoor – have you ever been curious how much you would’ve made if you’d taken the other job?  Everything that HR won’t tell you, Glassdoor offers anonymous insight to other companies, once you give the same.

As soon as you post your salary you get access to the 23,000 companies currently listed onsite.

6. BillShrink – overspending on mobile and  credit card bills or gas prices?  Take the time to answer a couple questions about your current spending habits and BillShrink will tell you the best money-saving opportunities.  Not only does it save you money, it will save you the time spent trying to manually compare different packages and combinations.  If a better offer comes along, it’ll alert you!

7. Something Store – I came across this website a while ago and think it’s so much fun!  You order something (or a couple somethings) that are randomly selected by Something Store.  Curious about past somethings?  I threw a somethings dinner party where we all opened our somethings together and laughed at the randomness…

8. Scrapblog – this is an incredible site I mentioned briefly in a recent quick bit.  Not only does this site allow you to scrapbook online it offers multiple ways to share it (post them on websites, add the Facebook app, or print as a personalized gift.)

You can easily add pictures, start with templates or create your own unique designs.

One Day, One Deal

What is woot?  Besides my favorite thing to check at midnight, woot.com is a great place to find gifts for everyone.  Like a chipmunk I stock up for the winter (last year got my sister and dad Garmin GPS for $67 bucks…)

Normally there is one product listed on the website until they sell out for the day…unless it’s a woot -off and as soon as a product sells out another is listed – this goes on for 2 days…)

Woot Terminology:

  • Bag of Crap – random assortment of goodies (a.k.a. “Random Crap”) including anything from the dollar store to a big screen tv. Consistently people have gotten MP3 players (sometimes even 2 in the same bag…) Always bid on this!
  • 2-for-Tuesday – since 2006, 2-pack items are offered every Tuesday.

Follow @woot on Twitter!

Great Discussion Boards – every item has a discussion post.  Follow the comments, get feedback, see

how much items are going for on other websites.  Something a lot of people don’t realize or take the

time to do is check back after you’ve received your package.  People will update comments with

informative reviews.  Also a good way to find out what people got in their bags of crap.

Browser Alerts – during woot offs you want to know when an item sells out to check back.  With almost

100k downloads, this Firefox add-on not only alerts you when items change but it also lets you know the

percentage of items left before it sells out.

Search “WootWatch” in iTunes to download the iPhone edition…easily follow woot-offs…