When we left off in Part I of this series, we had created a twitter account and posted a first tweet (or two). I told you that I knew you would have questions and that I would try to anticipate and answer a few of those. The information below will apply regardless of whether you are an individual or a band, artist, or company. I will get into Band Specifics pretty quickly.
What’s a “handle”? Just like on the CB radio (yes, I use one, and love it) your handle is your name.
Why the @ (at-sign)?
This is how you will distinguish that you are talking to, or about someone in particular, such as @MidTnMusic . Hover over a tweet, and below it, options will appear. If you “reply”, the @ will be included before the handle of the user you are replying to. This is called an @mention (at mention) or “MT”.
The “arroba” (arobasse in French), or @, has been used to indicate a digital address of sorts since 1972, when Ray Tomlinson sent the first electronic message, using a Model 33 Teletype device.
What’s with the # sign, everywhere?
The “octothorpe” is used to “tag” a word or phrase, just like a tag in a blog or website. On social networking sites such as Twitter, it’s attached to keywords or phrases so as to identify messages on a particular topic (e.g. #volcano; #Iceland). These keywords or phrases are known as hashtags. They have multiple uses, but the main function is to bring attention to a subject, and to mark a tweet as relevant to a subject (this becomes important when people are searching for a subject).
RT, rt, re-tweet, retweet: When you hover over a tweet, you will see the option to “re-tweet” it. This is a lot better than the old whispering “pass it on” game in the sense that things don’t get mixed up, the message stays the same. This is a great way to show someone you value their tweets.
Follow: Want to see a person’s tweets in your timeline? Follow them. If they “follow you back”, you are considered friends. Even if they don’t follow you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention, and you can still talk to them with an @mention.
DM ( Direct Message): As the name implies, this message goes directly to the person named. Use it for private conversation. Don’t use it for spam! The one important caveat to using the DM is that the recipient must be following you, or the message won’t be received.
If you know more terms that people should be familiar with, please share them in the comments.
You’ll need some basic awareness of Twitter conventions and accepted practices. There are a bunch of birds in this tree, and it helps if you can whistle the tune. Let’s look at a few cues: