Twitter What's Twitter?

What's Twitter?

Twitter is a Microblogging service, Social Network, Real-Time Information Network and Social Search Engine all rolled into one. 

In short, Twitter is a place where people share what’s on their mind—and it can be great for your business.

How Can Twitter Help Your Business?

At the Currier Museum of Art, in Manchester, N.H., the curators created a recent exhibit, The Secret Life of Art: Mysteries of the Museum Revealed, based on questions the staff gets from visitors on a regular basis. During the exhibition, the museum asked members and guests to tweet their thoughts using a dedicated Twitter hashtag (#curriersla). Over the roughly four months the exhibition was open to the public, the Currier grew its Twitter following by 49%, while expanding the number of "likes" of its Facebook Page by 24%.

Learn the Lingo

Twitter has a language of its own.  Here are the terms you need to know!

DM/Direct Message: A private note between two users on Twitter. The person receiving the message must follow the person sending it and the message is bound by the 140-character limit.

Follow: The act of connecting with someone on Twitter. People who have elected to follow you will see your tweets in their timeline. You are not obligated to follow people back and you have the ability to block followers (usually used only for spammers) from seeing your posts.

Following: Electing to see someone's tweets in your own timeline. Follow people and companies that you're interested in hearing from.

Handle: Your Twitter username is referred to as your handle, and is identified with the @ symbol. For example, Constant Contact's handle is @constantcontact. The @ is used to refer to a specific person and link to that account on Twitter within a tweet.

Hashtag: Words preceded by a # sign (i.e., #ctctsocial) can be used to tie various tweets together and relate them to a topic, be it a conference, TV show, sporting event, or any happening or trend of your choosing. Twitter automatically links all hashtags so users can search for other tweets using the same tag.

Lists: A way to combine select people you follow on Twitter into a smaller feed. A list can be made up of friends, competitors, people in the same state: anything you want. Lists let you view a slice of your followers at a time and are a great way to focus on specific folks when you're following a large number of people.

RT/Retweet: This is the Twitter equivalent of forward-to-a-friend. When someone posts something you find interesting, you can retweet it and share it with all the people who follow you.

Search: Since the majority of tweets are public, you can use Twitter's search feature to look for tweets containing a keyword or phrase. The search results will update in real time with any new tweets that contain the word or phrase searched on.

Timeline: The chronological listing of all tweets in a given feed, be it your own, in a list, or another user's.

Trending Topics: Along the right side of the main web interface, Twitter lists 10 topics that are "hot" on Twitter at the given moment based on certain algorithms. You can see trending topics for all of Twitter or for certain geographic areas.

Tweet: What posts are called on Twitter.

Tweetup: A term for in person events (i.e., meetups) that spring from Twitter connections. Tweetups are typically informal gatherings that let Twitter followers meet in real life, and coordinators often use a hashtag to unite tweets related to the event.

Unfollow: By unfollowing someone, you no longer receive their updates in your own timeline.