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    A beginner’s guide to using Twitter

    Twitter is a great way to connect with friends and like-minded people and organisations, chat and share links, inform your fans and customers of what is new with your business, and generally keep up to date with what is happening on the world. Many women who attend the Creative Women's Circle events first meet each other on Twitter, or stay connected via Twitter after meeting at an event.

    Think of Twitter as part chat-room, part Facebook 'status update' feed, but limited to 140 characters.
    Today I've collected together some tips and facts about Twitter to help you get the most out of this social networking tool. Add your own thoughts in the comments if you like!
    1. When people visit twitter online, they see the updates of everyone they follow on their own home page, so your followers won’t necessarily ever see your twitter page. But you can make it look nice with backgrounds and colours, and of course your avatar.
    2. If you want to address someone specifically in a tweet, start the tweet with their @name. Note that this is not a completely private conversation, as the people who follow you AND that person will all see the tweet.

    3. If you want to tweet about someone and have all your followers see it, make sure to start the tweet with a word or a symbol that is not the person’s @name. E.g.

    @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (only people who follow both you and @_cwc will see this tweet) 

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet) 

    . @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet, because there is a punctuation mark before the '@' symbol at the start of the tweet) 

    4. If you mention someone or an organization in a tweet, it’s a good idea to use their @name so that people can see that they are on Twitter. Also, the person or organisation is more likely to see your tweet and respond to it. 

    Thanks to @jen_henderson for our recent guest blog post! goo.gl/cZpXj

    5. Because you’re limited to 140 characters in each tweet, you want to keep hyperlinks short and sweet. Use link-shortening services such as Goo.gl, bit.ly or tinyurl.com.The tweet above links to the CWC blog post 'http://www.creativewomenscircle.com.au/2011/05/what-makes-successful-brand-part-ii.html' - as you can see the goo.gl address is much shorter!
    6. #ff stands for ‘Follow Friday’. It’s a little twitter tradition in which you tweet #ff followed by the addresses of people you follow who you think others should follow, on Fridays. You might group them into categories e.g. 

    #ff terrific with textiles: @pippijoe @Kirin @Teegs3 @HarvestWorkroom @AisGallagher @funkyfabrix @KristenDoran @nikkishell

    7. RT stands for re-tweet. You can automatically retweet a tweet from your timeline if you want all your followers to see it. It will appear to your followers like this:
    RT @tessmccabe Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! (all of your followers will see this tweet) 

    Some third-party twitter apps let you comment on a retweeted tweet, so you can tweet something like this:
    I’ve got my ticket! RT @tessmccabe Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! or

    RT Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! ~ I’ve got my ticket!

    8. Favouriting a tweet is sort of like ‘bookmarking’ a web page. The tweet might have a link to an article you want to read later or a recommendation you don’t want to forget. You can view your favourites on your profile page.

    9. People who follow you won’t always be people who know you, and businesses might have automatic settings that follow users who mention a particular service or product. Did you tweet something about tropical fish? Don’t be surprised if Jennie’s Aquariums start following you now. Similarly, some tweeters have automatic settings that will retweet your tweet if you mention one of their keywords, such as ‘Melbourne’, or reply to your tweet if you mention a celebrity or popular word.

    10. ‘Promoted’ tweets are paid for (like advertising).

    11. A blue tick next to a tweeter's name indicates that the tweeter has been verified by Twitter as being the real person or organization who is sending the tweets. It’s mainly applied to celebrities and organisations.

    12. Twitter Trends are words, phrases or hastags that are being tweeted the most at any given time. When a big news story breaks you will notice words associated with that story start ‘trending’.

    13. The hash (#) symbol before a word is called a hashtag, and are used as a way to categorise a tweet. You can click on a hashtag to view tweets by anyone, anywhere who has used that same hashtag in their tweet.

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle #event! (Note that if there is a space or punctuation mark in a hashtag, it will break the hashtag's link)

    But sometimes, a hashtag is used as a punchline or feature of a tweet. It might catch on, it might not! E.g.

    Hey everyone, @_cwc has announced a new Creative Women’s Circle event! #cwceventsareawesome

    14. If you want to send a tweet to someone that no one else will see, use Direct Message or 'DM' - it's a bit like email though you are still limited to 140 characters. 
    15. You can keep your tweets private, meaning anyone who wants to follow you has to send a request and be accepted by you. Then, only your accepted followers will see the things you tweet.

    So, are you on Twitter? Or are you thinking of joining? What good (or bad) experiences have you had with it? 
    I hope this guide has helped. Don't forget to follow @_cwc to keep up to date with Creative Women's Circle news and conversations inbetween events.
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    Posted by: Tess McCabe
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Marketing and Social Media Basics | 3 Comments

    3 Responses to A beginner’s guide to using Twitter

    1. kim magee says:

      yu should have a tweet this badge so I can tweet your blog post for you

    2. Shelby from anewbohemia.com says:

      Great post! i like how you broke down the basics and will share this with some new to twitter people I know. Thanks! One thing that seems to be up for debate is what content people like to follow— some people go very heavy on retweets, others heavily rely on business promo. I enjoy following a person or company that mixes it up. A bit of humor, a bit of company/blog/self promotion, some nonsense sort of everyday tweets, informative/fun links and photos, etc…. one tone can get boring to follow!

    3. Rosa says:

      thanks so much for this great post, tess…..keep coming back to it. Still trying to get my head around twitter! Rosa