Demystifying Twitter

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Demystifying Twitter

How many of you out there are stumped when it comes to Twitter? Do these situations sound familiar?

  1. You keep hearing about the latest thing someone “tweeted”, and you nod and smile while being secretly confused.
  2. You hear references to “hashtags” in conversation, and you pretend you know what they’re talking about, but really you don’t.
  3. Or maybe you have been told by friends or family that you should use Twitter to stay connected but you don’t quite get why, since you already have a Facebook account.

Well here are a few basic pointers to get you started:

What is Twitter?

Basically, Twitter is a quick, succinct way to connect with people and businesses, and to keep up to date with what’s happening at the moment. For example, you can follow local (or global) news, weather, or sports to get up-to-date info, or follow your favourite shops to get news on sales, new items, or community events.

Here’s a great post to check out that has some really great examples of how Twitter has been used in the past year:

How do I use Twitter? 

  • You can post pictures or images, and up to 140 characters at a time.
  • You can link a post from/to Facebook or Instagram, as well.
  • You can “favourite” a post from someone else by clicking on the star icon or sharing it on your own feed by re-tweeting.
  • If you have something to say, you can reply to someone’s post as well.
  • You can “follow” other people and businesses to subscribe to their posts. If someone chooses to follow you back, you can communicate with them via private message.


What is a “hashtag”? 

Adding a hashtag to something makes it act like a search word, but it can also be used to add meaning/context to a post. For example if the Oscars are on, and you want to find out what people are saying about it you might search #Oscars or #redcarpet – something like that 🙂 You can make your own posts searchable that way too!

How is Twitter different from Facebook? 

Well first, we can look at how they are similar: both allow you to post thoughts, updates, pictures, and videos. Both allow you to comment on other peoples posts, like, or share. And both are good ways of connecting with others. The main difference is that Twitter is like a shortened version of Facebook. It’s more streamlined, the feed isn’t edited, and it’s more up to the minute. EG: For the most recent news, you would use Twitter, but to see your friend’s entire baby album, that would be Facebook’s realm.

Some other tips:

  1. Because of the fast paced nature of Twitter, you might want to consider downloading the free app to your smartphone. This makes it much easier to check in throughout the day when you have a minute here and there, rather than waiting until the end of the day, which can seem overwhelming at first.
  2. Follow people and businesses with like interests to you, and people/businesses in your local area, to start with.
  3. If you’re considering using Twitter for your business, you will definitely want to connect with customers and other people in your business network, and share posts related to your business and your industry.  You may want to consider taking a short seminar on how to customize your experience for best results. If you’re new to Twitter, you can always create a personal account to start & get your feet wet!

More helpful guidelines from Twitter itself!:

In conclusion, the best way to get to know Twitter is to use it! Set up an account, add a few friends & local businesses, and start tweeting! You’ll be a pro in no time!