Tweets, Tweeps, Twestivals and Other Things That Start With 'Tw'

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Thursday night, I attended Twestival, a networking/charity event that had people walking around wearing Twitter handles on their name tags instead of real names. A number of people admitted that, while they were on Twitter, they weren't entirely sure what they were supposed to do on Twitter or what half the tweeps out there were talking about. So, before I post about how to use Twitter to aid a job search, here's a quick glossary that should help the uninitiated. Once you've digested this guide, photocopied it and given it to everyone you know, I'll let you in on all my Twitter secrets (and I hope you'll share yours).
@ - Use when mentioning another Twitter user or to "reply" to another Twitter user.

    Ex. 1: I'm totally digging all these blogs on @ChicagoNow.
    Ex. 2: @TheJobStalker Loved meeting you at last night's charity event.

RT - Stands for "re-tweet" and is essentially used to quote another Twitter user.

    Ex. 1: RT @ChicagoNow Michael Jordan inducted in hall of fame  

Tip: RT the posts of others who you would like to RT your posts. Social media is all about about building relationships.

DM - Stands for "direct message" and is a private message sent from one individual to another. These messages cannot be seen by your followers or the public.

           Tip: Many people have their accounts set up to text direct messages directly to their cell phones; so, it is often an easier way to get someone in an emergency.

           Tip: To get DMs sent to your cell phone, go to "Settings" then "Devices" and follow the instructions. This will also make it possible to update Twitter by sending a text message to 40404.


Followers - Twitter users who have subscribed to your tweets.

    Privacy: Even those who are not following you can see your tweets, unless you've set your account to be "protected." Twitter users who have chosen to protect their accounts will display this message on their profile, along with a "lock" icon: "This person has protected their updates. You need to send a request before you can start following this person."

    Spammers: As is the truth with all e-based communications, spammers are rampant. The worst of these are pornographic. Twitter allows you to "block" these individuals from following you with the click of a button. Harmless spammers - like "office furniture," probably aren't worth blocking unless they grow out of control.

Following - Twitter users whose tweets you have subscribed to.
    Why follow: Twitter is all about creating a conversation. By following others, you can gather news and opinions, find out what the "buzz" is about and get other people interested in sending out a RT about what you have to say. If you're not following, you're not listening. Users take offense to organizations they perceive as "into social media in name only." Also, only those who are following each other can send direct messages.

Live tweeting - Writing about something as it is happening.
    Ex. 1: Just handed my resume to a woman with great connections in sales. Now I'm waiting in line at the bar.
# - Also known as a "hashtag," allows Twitter users to search under a particular topic or multiple users to live tweet an event using a single hashtag. Anyone can create a hashtag.
    Ex. 1: It's Friday. You should be following @TheJobStalker and @ChicagoNow. #followfriday
    Ex. 2: Just got some great tips at #twestival about how to nab more followers.
        Tip: To search for a hashtag, type it into the search box on the tool bar to the right of your Twitter feed or click a hashtag that is hyperlinked.

        Tip: You have to be following @hashtags to trigger Twitter to turn your hashtag into a hyperlink.

Once you've read this, let me know. Follow me on Twitter


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  • Thanks for this. I'm going to pass it along to a few people who don't really get twittering. Also, I read your bio and I LOL'd at "the unemployment rate being higher than Naomi Campbell's forehead." Pretty Awesome! I'm following you on twitter now!

  • Would a geezer who decides to tweet become a "tweezer"?

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