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Cheat Sheet

Twitter For Dummies

Using Twitter is fun and surprisingly easy. It doesn’t matter where you access Twitter — online, with an iPhone or Blackberry, or via text-message; you can quickly navigate the Twitterverse with just a few commands. Even Twitter etiquette is straightforward and simple. Before you know it, you’ll be sending tweets and following on Twitter like an expert.

Using Twitter’s Access Points

Twitter isn’t just for computer-users. You can access Twitter from your iPhone, Blackberry, or any mobile phone with Internet access. You can even text tweets from any cell phone with SMS capabilities. All you need to know is the right Twitter access point. Here’s a list of the places where Twitter is available to you:

Device Access Point
Web http://twitter.com
Mobile phone — with Internet access (such as an iPhone or BlackBerry) http://m.twitter.com
Mobile phone — texting 40404

How to Use Shorthand Codes for Twitter

Send tweets even faster with Twitter shorthand commands. Shorthand codes work within the Twitter interface, anywhere you can update, or over text messaging. These commands aren’t case sensitive, which is especially useful when you are using Twitter on your cell phone.

Task Command
Direct message D username This is a message!
DM username This is also a message.
Follow people F <username>
follow username
Reply @username What you just said was really smart!
Favorite a tweet fav username
Note: If you’re receiving updates on your mobile phone, sending fav by itself will add to your Favorites tab on your Home screen the last update you received.
Nudge (remind a user to update after he's been silent for 24 hours or more) nudge username
Stats (get your followers and following count) stats
Get the last update from a user get username
Get a short user profile for a user whois username
Silence updates to your mobile phone (from your mobile phone) Quit
stop
Silence updates from a specific user off username
leave username
Turn on updates to your mobile phone (from your mobile phone) on
Turn on updates for a specific user (from your mobile phone) on username
F username
follow username
Invite a user to Twitter invite friend@example.com
invite 212 555 1212 (her text-enabled phone number, such as a mobile phone)

Twitter Guidelines to Live By

The Twitterverse doesn’t have many rules, but there is such a thing as Twitter etiquette. Writing tweets of 140 characters or less isn’t the only guideline. Your experience on Twitter will be a positive one if you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Say what you think and are doing.

  • In general, try to keep tweets longer than one word so that your followers can understand you.

  • Listen to what your Twitter friends are saying.

  • Respond to Twitter friends when you can add value to the conversation.

  • Update your status at least once a day.

  • Fill in your profile and biography so that other people can know more about you.

  • Use your own picture as your avatar. If the picture that you use contains more than one person, make sure that people can tell which one is you.

  • Whenever you’re referencing another Twitter user, use his name with an @ sign in the front so that the user can see you mentioned him and so that other users can see whom you’re talking about.

  • Use hashtags to give context to updates that may not make sense otherwise.

What NOT to Do on Twitter

Twitter etiquette isn’t only about what you should do. Unfortunately, bad tweets and poor Twitter practices sometimes show up within microblogging communications. While you can’t really go horribly wrong on Twitter, you’ll make your life easier in the Twitterverse if you follow these guidelines:

  • When you first sign up and before you start regularly tweeting, don’t follow hundreds of people. If you follow someone, he checks out your profile to see whether he might want to follow you back; if he sees that you’ve tweeted once or twice and you’re following hundreds of people, he may think you’re just a spam account.

    Start out slowly, following people you know and who know you. Then, as you start tweeting regularly, follow more people based on your interests.

  • Avoid using punctuation in your username. Typing punctuation on mobile devices is difficult.

  • Don't share information that you might regret making public.

  • Don’t send an update when a direct message is more appropriate — for example, when the update is meaningless to anyone except one person. If the person doesn’t follow you, you can send an update that contains her name, asking her to contact you over another medium.

  • Don’t feel the need to thank everyone publicly for following you. It’s a nice thing to do, but not always necessary.

  • Don’t think Twitter success has anything to do with your Followers count.

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