UReddit: How Not to be a Twit on Twitter
It’s easy to assume communicating on Twitter requires no effort with only 140 characters to use, but it’s just as easy to become a twit for ignoring social norms.
Hello everyone and welcome to your University of Reddit or UReddit course (@uofreddit), How not to be a Twit on Twitter. My name is Elliot or @Thejournalizer, and I will be your host and teacher for this two-part course.
In this session we will be going over the basics: creating a Twitter account, ignoring the prompts to add celebrities, understanding the language of Twitter, creating the perfect tweet, and finding your purpose for using the social network. Everyone has their own reasons for using Twitter, and based on what your current needs are you can use the network to fulfill them. But first, let’s create an account:
Process for creating an account:
The Language of Twitter
Now that you have an account it couldn’t hurt to understand some of the common language and abbreviations that you will see on Twitter:
MT – modified tweet
TT – truncated tweet
RT – retweet
@ – used to reply or send a message to someone publicly, but will only be public in search and if the two users have shared followers. These also notify the user in their interactions section or a mobile alert if set.
.@ – completely public reply, but also tags a user. (Some brands or people use this method for a conversation to become public and invite others to join or see it more easily.
DM – If you want to send someone a direct message, they must be following you. Similar, if you want them be able to DM you, you must follow them as well.
# – a hashtag can be used for quite a few things. Finding hidden communities, participating in Twitter chats, categorizing your thoughts, some shows even have dedicated hashtags so you can speak with other fans (twitter chat), and some use those tweets on their show or website.
For more details on the language of twitter and some common shorthand language you will find, see this article from last year.
These abbreviations help because you only have 140 characters, technically. There is actually a simple formula that you can employ to help you craft the perfect tweet, formula 140:
- Subtract the number of characters in your username.
- Subtract an additional three characters for “RT ” (There is also a space before the @ symbol).
- Subtract another single character for the @ symbol.
- Use this number as your actual number of characters you will use.
For example my personal twitter name is @thejournalizer. That leaves me with 122 characters per tweet. This is a clear case for why you should try to get a shorter username if possible. If you are just using Twitter to get your thoughts out there and are not expect a response, don’t worry about leaving room for the old retweet version. While the new retweet option is used quite frequently, some third-party applications add in RT and people manually insert that as well. For more details on creating the structure of a perfect tweet, check out my article on Social Media Today.
Who to Follow, and Who Will Follow Me?
So now that you are not following celebrities, what should you do to fill your feed? One issue most new users find is that they are throwing hotdogs into an empty abyss, with no interactions except from spam. Well this all depends on what you want to use Twitter for. We will go over in our next session a couple of computer mediated theories to help you better understand what the social norms are of Twitter, and how you can still remain clear in under 140 characters.
While I won’t give you homework, I implore you to do a few searches with hashtags for a few shows or hobbies you like, and try to interact with someone who just tweeted about it. See what happens and report back.
Have questions? Post them to the comments on YouTube, my blog or reddit submission. I will answer them in a third video if there are enough, or just respond. You can also find me on Twitter @thejournalizer.