Twitter is a social media network that is an amalgamation of Facebook, instant message, and e-mail all in one. Users are said to “follow” individuals they are interested in. These users send messages called Tweets that are 140 characters in length.
To draw attention (called “mention” in the world of Twitter) to a user you place the @ sign immediately before their username in a tweet. This allows other users to click on the message to view more information about said user. Similarly, the # sign is used to represent a tag for easy searching. These tags are referred to as hashtags. For example, saying “I just met up with @BrandBuilderCo and they helped me set up a new Web site #awesome” would express your reaction to purchasing a Web site from the BrandBuilder Company.
The placement of the mention inside of a tweet is very important in regards to who can see the message. If the very first character in a tweet contains the @ then this tweet will be visible to both parties, and everyone that follows either individual. If it is not than the only users that will see it are the two parties and all of the users that follow the originator of the tweet.
Retweeting is when a user says something that you find worth sharing to all of your followers. You do this by hitting the Retweet button in Twitter. Common practice says that you should give the user attribution by including RT before mentioning them and including the tweet. You can include a short message prior to the post along with your message. For example, “eh, Captain America could take him any day RT @BrandBuilderCo #batman rocks”. Some people just use twitter to retweet things that they find interesting and do not offer their own tweets.
When you log in to Twitter you will be presented with the most recent tweets in something called your timeline. Depending upon the number of people you follow this can get a bit difficult to navigate. Twitter allows you to filter your timeline by creating “lists” that only show you tweets by the individuals that you place on a list. For instance, you could create a list for each of your favorite sports teams, politics, celebrities, etc. so that you can read about certain topics at a given time.
Fridays on Twitter are referred to as ‘Follow Friday’. On that day you are recommending users that you feel other people should follow. To recommend that someone follow ConnieC2011 and BrandBuilderCo you would tweet “#ff @ConnieC2011 @BrandBuilderCo”.