This post is for my long time friend Liz. She blogs over here and is new to social media. She’s new to Twitter and still learning the ropes so I thought I’d give a few basics of the “how to” of Twitter. These are some of the tips I give my students in my classes too.
We all know you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say on Twitter. This means you need to be crafty and have the ability to articulate your point well. One of my students noted the importance of such skills in our class blog. Some people think you can’t say intelligent things on Twitter because of the character limit, but I disagree.
Mostly I think people get hung up on all the Twitter lingo when they first start out so let’s start there….
@ – The “@” symbol is probably the most common symbol you’ll see. This signifies that you are commenting and/or conversing with another Twitter user directly. For example “@emuprssa love the latest blog post!” indicates that I’m speaking directly with the folks who Tweet at “emuprssa.” Messages that are Tweeted to users show up in their Twitter feed and in their “@” connections.
RT – This stands for “retweet.” When you RT a fellow Twitter users Tweet it’s like forwarding that Tweet to all the folks you follow. RTs help spread links to articles, blogs, newspapers, websites, journals… pretty much any and all information you want to share with others – even just a simple Tweet. It’s important you credit the person you are retweeting though. So for example, that would look like “RT via @eharrisondotorg “Check out the Peer-to-Peer Learning Handbook by @hrheingold & self-organizers with the
#Peeragogy.org project http://peeragogy.org” If you simply click the retweet button then this will happen instantly. You can also favor Tweets now, which I like.
# – The hashtag! I love the hashtag. I think it’s overused quite a bit now, but if used properly I love it. The hashtag is meant to represent a group topic. When a Tweet is sent using a hashtag then it becomes searchable. Think #openingceremonies, #olympics2012, #TED, #SOPA. Like so many of us right now we are watching the 2012 Olympics. On Twitter you can search #olympics2012 to see what the Twitterverse is saying about the Olympics from the athletes to the events to what’s happening in London. I use hashtags (#PR312, #cc379, #sm379) in all my classes to hold online discussions, disseminate pertinent class information, and extend the classroom walls. I like that I can have conversations with my students at all times and they can have conversations with one another. The hashtag brings us together.