What is Twitter?
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging website that enables users to post messages (called tweets) and to follow (called followers) other user’s short messages or tweets. It creates the perfect platform for members to interact and share information - think of it as a sms for the web.
What is a tweet?
A Tweet is a short text based message displayed on the author’s profile. The maximum length of a tweet is 140 characters.
What is a follower?
A follower is another Twitter user who has opted to subscribe to the tweets that another user has posted. A member will decide to follow another user’s tweets because they find them interesting and informative.
How do I decide who to follow?
Choose users who have similar interests to you or are friends and family. To start, choose ten friends to follow and then choose ten of their friends to follow. If you find that their tweets do not interest you then you can choose not to follow them anymore and move on to follow others. For example you may be following someone who starts to tweet about a trip which you do not find interesting. You then have the option to stop following them.
Can I control who reads my Tweets?
Yes, you can restrict who receives your tweets or give open access to all.
Who uses Twitter?
Anybody who has access to the web can use Twitter. Some of Twitters most famous users include Ashton Kutcher who has over a million followers followed by Brittney Spears and CNN “Breaking News” who have 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Twitter does not release exact numbers but estimations place the number of user to be between 3 and 6 million users compared to Facebook’s 150 million users.
To give you an idea of the flexibility and functionality of Twitter consider the following. In 2008 many US presidential campaigns, including Barack Obama, used Twitter as a campaign mechanism. On the day of the 2008 elections Twitter usage increased by 43%. Twitter has also been used by witnesses to breaking news events such as the US Airways Flight 1549 that ditched into the Hudson River. The very first image of the downed airliner was sent to Twitpic by a witness before the traditional media arrived on the scene. In May 2009 Twitter was used in space for the first time when astronaut Michael J Massimino used Twitter to keep updates on the Hubble Space Telescope repair mission. www.wikipedia.org
Who should use Twitter?
Twitter creates the perfect communication platform for individuals who want to keep abreast of their friends and family’s movements and for businesses who would like to create awareness about their products or services. Twitter is perfect for keeping people updated on the very latest happenings in your business and your life.
What type of information will I find on Twitter?
You will find a wide variety of information on Twitter from Breaking News tweets from CNN to people recording daily experiences as they happen. There are also many businesses that use Twitter as a communication platform.
How can Twitter help my business?
Twitter is the perfect way to build and sustain relationships with both existing and potential clientele. Those who opt to follow your business’ tweets are already a captive audience ready to receive regular updates about your business. This keeps your business front of mind and establishes it as an opinion leader. Ultimately this garners interest and brings in more business.
Twitter is also a publishing medium so Google will pick up your Tweets and Twitter will also help to drive visitors to your website.
How do I keep my followers and increase my following?
To ensure that you continue to build up your following your tweets must be interesting and relevant. This establishes your credibility and will in turn attract a greater following.
How do I get started?
It is very easy to start using Twitter. Simply log onto www.twitter.com and then follow these easy steps:
1. Click on the “Join the Conversation” button in the middle of the page.
2. Fill in your basic information and preferred username. Your username is what people will see with an @ in front of it.
3. Next you will be prompted to look for your friends in your Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail and AOL accounts.
4. Twitter will suggest some people for you to follow. Check to see if any of them interest you.
5. By clicking “Settings” on the page you will be taken to a tab-based menu that will help you to setup your profile and adjust the settings.
6. Complete the fields. The “one line bio” under the “Account” tab is quite important. It gives you the opportunity to introduce yourself to the Twitter community in 160 characters. Many users choose to state their profession and something that they enjoy doing in their free time.
7. Start looking for followers using search.twitter.com.
By Melissa Combrinck - Daheim Communications