Twitter 101 for Beginning Agvocates

Twitter, hashtag, handle, character, RT, retweet

1. Hashtag
2. Twitter handle
5. The character counter
6. The RT

While Twitter is a great way to connect with consumers and other social media agvocates, it is very different than other social media sites out there. Below are some cool features of Twitter you need to know.

1. The hashtag (#)

The hashtag is a “tracking device” for Twitter posts with similar interests. The hashtag starts with the pound sign (#) and then has letters after it that signify a specific event, Twitter chat or just a funny hashtag. Some events that you go to will have a designated Twitter hashtage like #WDE13 and #agexpo13. Some hashtags mark a Twitter chat like #agchat, #blogchat or #foodchat. People will also use hashtags as a joke at the end of a tweet like #winning. In the end, hashtags are a great way to group posts together so others can search for the experiences on Twitter. Simply search or click on one in a post to follow a hashtag.

2. The Twitter handle (@)

The Twitter handle is an identifier specific to every person on Twitter. You will get an update whenever your Twitter handle is used by pressing the “connect” tab. You can also tag people in a post using their Twitter handle to make sure they see it. It is important to know that whenever you start a post with a Twitter handle, it is only seen by that person and people who follow both of you. Many people put a period before the Twitter handle if they don’t want that to happen.

3. Twitter search

One of the most powerful things about Twitter is the search function. It allows you to search for nearly anything on Twitter including hashtags, Twitter handles and words.

4. Lists

Lists are a great way to make different groups of the people you are following. You can make your own lists or you can subscribe to lists that are already made. Either way you can go to this list and view the tweets by people in the list. This can be really helpful when you start following a lot of people and can’t keep up with your Twitter feed.

5. 140 characters

Every tweet has to be below 140 characters. A character is any letter, number, space or symbol that is used in the tweet. Twitter has a character counter in the bottom right near the tweet button to help you count. I would also recommend keeping any tweet you want to be retweeted pretty short. This allows people to add their own take on the subject and put your Twitter handle in the retweet.

6. The retweet (RT), modified tweet (MT) and favorite

Think of a RT as a share on Facebook, but for Twitter. You can RT anyone’s content at any time. A RT typically starts like this: RT @advocate4ag: Twitter 101… and continues with their original content. It is a good idea to add a short comment to the beginning of a RT to further engage the tweet writer. An MT is just like a RT, but the original tweet has been modified a little. This usually happens when the RT doesn’t work in 140 characters.  The favorite is basically a “like” on Facebook. I usually favorite something if I liked what they said, but it wasn’t RT worthy.

Twitter is a great resource to use, but it takes a while to learn the “ins and outs” of it. Use it regularly and don’t be scared to ask others (especially myself) for help if you need it.

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