Cheat Sheet

Twitter For Dummies

From Twitter For Dummies, 3rd Edition by Laura Fitton, Anum Hussain, Brittany Leaning

Using Twitter is fun and surprisingly easy. It doesn’t matter where you access Twitter, — on Twitter.com, or on a desktop or mobile app on your smartphone. 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.

Twitter's 3 Access Points

Twitter isn't just for computer users. You can access Twitter from your iOS, Android, or other mobile device with Internet access. If you don't have a smartphone, you can even text Tweets from any cellphone 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 https://twitter.com
Mobile phone with Internet access (such as an iPhone or Android phone) https://m.twitter.com
Mobile phone with texting capability 40404 (United States)

6 Most Commonly Used Twitter Terms

Twitter is a social networking platform with unique ways to engage with your network. As such, terms used to describe actions you can take on Twitter may not be in your usual vocabulary. This brief overview of these digital terms may help.

Task Command
@mention By placing the @ symbol in front of a username, you can tag another user in your Tweet.
@reply By starting your Tweet with @username, you can reply publicly to a single user.
Direct message (DM) A private message can be sent directly to a user on Twitter who is already following you.
Follower A follower is someone who follows you on Twitter and sees your updates on his home feed (Your home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter).
Retweet (RT) This is a way for someone to share a Tweet from another user's account.
Hashtag Using the # symbol in front of any word or phrase tags your Tweets. When someone clicks that hashtag, she sees your Tweet along with everyone else's Tweets using that same term.

9 Twitter Guidelines to Live By

The Twitterverse doesn't have many rules, but there's such a thing as Twitter etiquette. Writing Tweets of 140 characters or fewer 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 or are doing.

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

  • Listen to what your Twitter network is saying.

  • Respond to Twitter followers 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 know more about you.

  • Use your own picture as your profile photo. If the picture 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 that you mentioned him and so that other users see who you're talking about.

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

7 Tips for 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. Although 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 tweeting regularly, don't follow hundreds of people. If you follow someone, she checks out your profile to see whether she wants to follow you back; if she sees that you've tweeted once or twice and you're following hundreds of people, she may think you're just a spam account.

  • Start 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 — when the update is meaningless to anyone except one person, for example. 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, and some users even find it irksome.

  • Don't think that Twitter success has anything to do with your follower count.

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