I made a big confession last week. If you read it, you saw that I admitted to being a non-tweeter/twit/twitterer. Regardless, of what you call “it” I didn’t do “it”. Or, rather, I only did it begrudgingly and with poor etiquette. After getting called out for my lack of twitter skillz in the most horrifying scenario imaginable, I’ve decided to mend my ways. I’m embracing twitter and all things little blue bird.
I’ve gotten some great tips from fellow twitter/social media experts. A huge shout out to Veronica O. (@veronicaospina) and Kevin D. (@prblog). These guys know their way around the twitter scene and gave me such great information about how to use twitter effectively to not only promote “my brand” but also to make twitter pals and help fellow bloggers and twitterees out there in the great world wide web.
One silver lining, however, of posting my skittish twitter habits was that I learned that a lot of you out there also fear the twitter. It can be an intimidating scene of # (hashtags), acronyms, and bizarre grammar. And although I’m NO EXPERT (clearly), I have learned a few things, and I’d like to pass them on to you. For if nothing else, I’d like to gain a few more friends out there in the twitter world. Here are a few basic tips to get you started out:
The symbols. Twitter is all about the @’s and the #’s. The @ is the start of your “handle” or address where people contact each other. Mine for example is @Cltmomfaves. So to write about or to me, you’d tweet out “@cltmomfaves is the best blog in the world.” Or something like that. The # symbol is a hashtag. This designates that you’d like people to be able to search for that item. So if I tweet out: “I love #bananas,” someone could later search #bananas and pull up your comment. Now here’s where it gets a little interesting… You can also call attention to someone (Corporate or personal) and include a search term. For example instead of “I love #bananas!” I could tweet, “I love @Chiquita #bananas.” Make sense? This way Chiquita sees that I love their bananas and anyone searching bananas can see that Chiquita’s are the best.
The language. There are a lot of acronyms out there on twitter, and it can all be a little confusing. The most popular is “RT,” which means retweet. If I see that someone posted a great story about crafts for the kiddos, I can click on retweet and send it back out into the world again. #FF is another one that’s all over the place (short for Follow Friday). Bloggers will tweet out their favorite fellow-tweeters on Fridays to their audience in an effort to “pay-it-forward.” Another common term is DM. This is a Direct Message sent to a twitter user. One has to follow you in order to DM them. DMs don’t appear in the public twitter stream but go directly to the receiver’s inbox. Not sure what something stands for? Just google it.
The length. You are restrained to a brief 140 character limit on twitter per tweet. And those URL links can be crazy long sometimes. To shorten the length of your URL link within a tweet, you can use an external site that will convert the long URL into a shorter link. For example, using the google url shortener, this link: http://newmomfavorites.blogspot.com/2012/01/im-proud-to-announce-im-chiquita-mom.html will get converted to http://goo.gl/PtmwI and direct readers to the same place.
The content. This is where I really struggled. Prior to last week, all I did on twitter was tweet out my blog links. A major twitter faux pas. What I’ve come to learn (thanks @prblog), is that twitter is all about balance. Self-promotion style tweets are ok as long as you mix in other tweets too. You can tweet out a personal blog link as long as you mix in conversational pieces, personal thoughts, and add self-less content from external sites or through retweets.
Please consider joining me on twitter. Follow me and I’ll follow you back. For although I’ve learned that to be considered twitter-cool you have to have more followers than those you follow, I’ve never aspired to be cool. I’m just a mom, who has a computer, and is learning to tweet. You can find me at twitter here: @cltmomfaves
P.S. If you’re with the South Charlotte Playgroup, be sure to sign up for twitter. We’ll be using a special hashtag (#) to find each other out in the community, invite moms to impromptu playdates, get exclusive playgroup discounts, and to recommend products/businesses to other local moms. More to come on that soon! Check your inbox!