Your Twestions Answered. Part 1


A colleague of mine asked me where he could find some basics of Twitter, I pointed him in a few directions, but they weren’t the answers to his specific questions. I had him write out his questions so I could answer them. Here goes…

1. How do you use an @ sign and what is its purpose?

The @ sign means just that, you are speaking “at” someone. In the twitterverse they use “@[username]” to reply at what someone else has said. There is also a secondary use for the @ sign outside of the twitterverse: to identify that this is your twitter username, you can say I’m @MissLynn13 for example.

2. How do you use a # and what is its purpose?  How do you track someone using a #?

The # symbol is used to identify “hashtags“. The # symbol is a hash symbol and then it goes in front of a tag or keyword. The purpose is to help aggregate tweets from the same event or location or around the same topic when you go to search. For example, South By Southwest (SXSW) is happening this week, the hastag is #sxsw, so all SXSW tweets include that hastag so people can go to (or an outside source like Tweetchat) and watch the conversation happening from 30,000 ft. Another example is #journchat where PR and journalists get together every week to chat using Twitter across the country & across the globe.

3. How do you add multiple people to your tweet?

If you are directing a tweet specifically to multiple people you just do “@[username1] @[username2]” and etc. This does take away from your 140 characters tho, so if you are directing it to a bunch of people, I would suggest just saying “To my association people” or something more befitting your personal style. Or just throw the question or statement out there and see who replies!

4. How do you set up a group to track people?  Why do you need tweetbeep or one of the other apps to track your tweets?

Groups are a function of add-on applications like TweetDeck and Twittelator. Not all add-on applications feature this and that’s one reason why I exclusively use TweetDeck on my desktop. It allows me to organize people into groups based on my affiliations with them. I have a group for my “ASAE Folks” (this group is actually just general association professionals & consultants), “Interesting People” (People that are celebrities in my eyes or who I want to pluck out of the main stream), “Bmore & Theatre People” (Those who either live in Baltimore, or do theatre). Doing this allows you to segment the main stream and really focus in on circles of conversation & is really helpful if you follow a lot of people. Though you can find yourself ignoring the entire stream sometimes, so just be mindful.

My response to the second part is why do you set-up Google Alerts then? It’s the same thing, you want to know what is being said about you so you can be a part of the conversation. Tweetbeep is just one way to get alerts about what people are talking about in the Twitterverse. I use this method, though you can also subscribe to RSS Feeds to keywords at I prefer Tweetbeep only because I already have enough in my Google Reader that I need to sort through. Tweetbeep is not as real-time as the RSS feeds though.

5. What are some of the most important apps to add to truly make the most out of twitter?

For me, TweetDeck is my most important add-on app. It allows me to dissect my stream into more manageable bites. Plus it has desktop alerts and will bring in your replies & direct messages. It also has a twitpic feature which will take pictures you’ve uploaded and give you a shortened link to share on Twitter.

I also am a fan of TwitterSheep, TweetEffect & TweetStats.

TwitterSheep – This creates a word cloud out of my follower’s bios. I use this as a way to make sure I’m staying relevant to the people that are listening to me. The large the word, the more important that topic is to my audience. My audience for my personal account cares about mainly social, media, marketing (surprise I know). My .org account cares about social, media, health (another shocker). This helps me figure out what THEY want to read.

TweetEffect – This lets you know on which tweets you have lost or gained followers. Sometimes the API is a little screwy and the stats aren’t perfect, but when you look at it from a big picture perspective, if everytime you mention something about how much you dislike your boss or how you wish they’d bring back BJ & the Bear you’re losing followers, this may be a sign that you are providing value or being relevant to your community. If you see yourself losing large amounts of losers and gaining them back right away, it’s an API issue, don’t worry about it.

TweetStats – An interesting visual look at how much you tweet, how often you tweet and when you tweet. Can give you an idea of your productivity, or lack-there-of.

There are tons out there though, please add your faves & why in the comments!

Well this is getting a little long, so I’m breaking it up into 2 parts. Enjoy!


Blogging Style: Interview Blogging*
9 down, 16 to go.

*I’m calling this interview blogging since I’m answering a bunch of questions. It could also maybe qualify as Evangelist Blogging.


3 Responses to “Your Twestions Answered. Part 1”

  1. 1 Your Twestions Answered. Part 2 « SNAP’s Blog
  2. 2 Twitter Story: Conferences | Spark Consulting
  3. 3 What I’m Reading | Spark Consulting

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