Getting started with Twitter

by admin on February 1, 2009

So you’ve been hearing a lot about Twitter lately. News is hitting Twitter first, before traditional media outlets – the Mumbai attacks were being reported live on Twitter, and more recently the Hudson River plane crash. Twitter is growing fast – according to a recent blog post by Sandra Hanchard, Senior Analyst – Hitwise Asia-Pacific, Twitter’s year-on-year growth rate has increased by 517.9% (w/ending 10 January 2009 compared to the same week last year)

So, you’re convinced you need to be using Twitter – but how do you get started? This post aims to point out some not so obvious things about Twitter, that you just don’t get told.

What is Twitter?
The concept of Twitter is best explained by this great YouTube video – ‘Twitter in Plain English’

What is a ‘tweet’? What is a ‘retweet’?
A tweet is simply the name for the updates that you do on your twitter account. Any time you post a message, that is what is called a ‘tweet’.

A ‘retweet’ is a little different. Essentialy, a retweet is essentially taking someone elses message and then re-posting that message to your followers. By retweeting a message, you are giving credit to the original poster of that message.

To retweet someone elses post, there are 2 commons methods – each achieving the same outcome:

  • Simply copy their message and place ‘RT’, ‘Retweet’ or ‘Retweeting’ at the front of the message you are reposting, including that users twitter id – eg: RT @jeremycabral Check out my post on ‘Getting Started with Twitter’
  • The second method is to copy their message and place ‘(via @theirtwitterid)’, ‘at the end of their tweet – eg: Check out my post on ‘Getting Started with Twitter’(via @jeremycabral)When you post a retweet, the original poster is notified by receiving a reply message.Re-tweeting is a very powerful tool, and to completely understand how you can use it to improve your results using Twitter I recommend reading this post by @MohsinN .

When posting URL’s shorten them to save characters

When you post a tweet, it’s important to shorten your URL to give you more characters for your message. Past your URL in to a URL shortening service, and you will be given a much shorter URL to paste in to your message.

Here are two simple to use services that are quite popular amongst Twitter users:

  • TinyURL
  • – cleaner, simpler interface without any ads. You can also create your own account.

Setup a Twitter application for your desktop

I highly recommend setting up a desktop application to get full use of Twitter. They have much more features than just Here are two that I recommend you try:

Get an iPhone and a Twitter application from the App Store.

Using Twitter on the go will keep you connected and allow you to tweet about something as soon as you think of it. On top of that, there are some great iPhone applications that allow you to upload a picture and even let your followers know your current location. Here are two that I recommend you try:

  • Tweetie (my current Twitter app)
  • Twitteriffic

Twitter Strategy

If you are using Twitter to gain more connections and create online profile, I highly recommend this Twitter PR Strategy (Thanks to @Problogger)

Twitter Marketing Strategy

I hope this post will help to get you started on Twitter – stay tuned for more tips and strategies.

I’d love to hear your thoughts – is there anything I’ve missed? All comments appreciated!

P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!

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