Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called "tweets". (wikipedia)
I first joined twitter in April 2010, just to follow my favourite pop artist. Do not laugh, this is the case! I did not use the platform a lot, because I could not get it, and it is about a year now, that I decided to use twitter for my job, also I opened a company account, and 2 more accounts related to different projects. Using it, I loved the medium, and now I am here to help other people get the most of it.
I would like to emphasize the 3 main points that differentiate twitter from other network platforms.
- What I like most in using twitter, it is that all posts are public and can be seen by anyone, even if someone has not a twitter account. Having in mind that what I post has the potentiality of reaching anyone, gives me strength and courage, because my voice as a user can be heard to a massive audience. Each tweet has a unique URL and looks like this https://twitter.com/byLilyV/status/562741328841568256. It is searchable by search engines, so whatever you share, can be found. These days, many twitter users, especially those who belong to marketing area, make quite a lot posts per day, usually passing links to their blog posts, because of Google's new algorithm that takes into consideration the strong presence in social media.
- Another strong point of twitter, which is the consequence of the posts being public, it is that someone can follow the accounts of interest, without waiting for approval from the other account. Friendship can be one way, and those who are followed can be totally different people from those who follow. Here I would suggest that someone would follow only the accounts of interest, in order to benefit from a rich in information home page. Following irrelevant accounts gives a poor experience, although there is the choice of "muting" their posts, so they do not appear in the user's home page.
Nowadays, there is the tendency to follow an account, just to follow them back, in order to gain a lot of followers. Since 1 in 3 someone follows, they will follow back, following is a way of gaining followers. However, if someone does not follow back, or unfollow them, they unfollow also. I had this experience myself. A lot of accounts were following me, and I was following them back (to be polite and give a chance of building a relationship). Suddenly my home page became full of unrelated, boring posts. I firstly "muted" some of them. But this is not me, I love to be honest, and I am passionate about forming real relationships through social media, so since I did not like them, I unfollowed them, and they unfollowed me back. This happens when there is not real interest or any trust in the other account/person. They did not like me in the first place. either.
So a small piece of advice is always to follow those who have great content, relevant to your business/interest, or those who someone expects to build a relationship with them. Those who do not follow can be accessed via tweets, but not via Direct Messages. Also, they do not see one's tweets in their home page, although they can see the tweets when they go on the account, or pass the URL. As we said all posts are public.
- Hashtags (#). After using twitter for a while, everyone is going to notice the hash (#) sign before certain words or phrases. This is called a hashtag.
A hashtag is a word or an unspaced phrase prefixed with the hash character (or number sign), # to form a label. It is a type of metadata tag. Words or phrases in messages on micro blogging and social networking service, like twitter, may be tagged by entering # before them, either as they appear in a sentence, e.g., "New artists announced for #SXSW2014 Music Festival" or appended to it. The term hashtag can also refer to the hash symbol itself when used in the context of a hashtag. A hashtag allows grouping of similarly tagged messages, and also allows an electronic search to return all messages that contain it. (from wikipedia)
Hashtags are used in twitter more than in any other social networking service, and I consider hashtaging a strong point of twitter. Put the hash sign before a word/subject of interest and this can become a category of relevant information.
In a way hashtags allow you to create communities of people interested in the same topic by making it easier for them to find and share info related to it.Everyone can create hashtags to put relevant information together, and anyone who searches with this hashtag, may see the tweets related to this information. There are many well-known hashtags, users use to communicate and form groups chatting about this subject. In some TV shows e.g., they give a relevant hashtag that people can tweet their opinions or ask questions.
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