We are children of the 80s. We both grew up in the same rural area of Pennsylvania with little more than our imaginations, toy figures, and blanket tents to entertain us. Neither of us had video games and our school’s first computers had dot-matrix printers and 8-bit graphics (Oregon Trail, anybody?).
For people like us who enjoy sipping coffee and lounging around while chatting, this speed socialization can really feel manic.
The connections can feel random, and sometimes rather hard to figure out. How are you supposed to strike up a conversation with someone without any of those cues you look for when you’re meeting in person (i.e. their funny t-shirt, handmade earrings, cute dog, the book their holding…)?
Thankfully, curiosity got the better of us.
We started playing around with Twitter a number of years ago. Since then, we’ve Tweeted conversations, sent and received direct messages, joined community chats, and even played some games. We thought we’d share some ‘getting started tips.’ You know, all of those things that you don’t want to ask for fear of looking silly and out of touch.
Following / Followers
These two terms are pretty straightforward. If you like someone’s Twitter feed, you click ‘Follow’ and you will be notified every time they update their status, and they will be listed on your account under ‘Following.’ When someone follows you, they are listed as your ‘Follower.’
Tweet / Retweet
Twitter’s trademark (aside from that cute little blue bird) is their character limit. If you want to share your innermost feelings or the contents of your lunch bag, you have to do it in 140 characters or less. We love the challenge it presents in certain instances, but overall find it’s a lot easier expected.
To Tweet is to post a status update on your Twitter page. If you like what someone else has to say, you click the ‘Retweet’ button on their status to share it with your Followers.
Mentioning someone is sort of like playing tag. If you know someone’s Twitter handle, you simply add an @ sign before it and they’ll be notified that you mentioned them in a Tweet.
When you respond to a @Mention, you are replying to it. The person who mentioned you will automatically be mentioned when you click ‘Reply’ and you can type your message of thanks / answer to their riddle / witty remark.
On Twitter, when you want to emphasize a word or phrase, you precede it with a #Hashtag. You can search for trends and keywords this way – some silly, some serious. The key to #Hashtags is that you cannot use spaces. For example, you could Tweet: @pauselius is the #BestDesignTeamEver! (Really, you could!)
Follow Friday / #FF
You’ll see the hashtag #FF or #FollowFriday all over Twitter on (you guessed it) Fridays. It’s a good way to share and suggest your favorite Tweeters with your Followers. Often the gesture is returned and everyone ends up with a few more followers. #FeelsGoodToBeLoved
Keep in mind that this is just a primer. You can get all of the details straight from the bird’s beak, on the Twitter Basics page.