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Twitter has recently, emerged as one of the hottest trend in social media. People are literally talking about it all over the world and news media; even celebrities are joining Twitter. Now what’s the deal with Ashton Kutcher beating CNN in twitter followers’ count, and Oprah tweeting from her talk show? What is so special about this blue bird that catches everybody’s attention all of a sudden?

Today, we’ll be taking a little sneak peak at this Twitter application.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a microblogging platform that allows people to share “what are you doing?” to their network of followers. Think about it as the combination of blogging & instant messaging, but with fewer characters (140 per posting) & wider crowds.

What are you doing?

Ok, I get the idea, then how do I start?

Start by signing up, picking yourself a username, filling up the profile page and you’re good to go. You could start with your first tweet, but be pre-warned, not everyone is interested in “I’m having lunch now” all the time. Be conversational and people will appreciate it.

What’s with the following/followers?

Followers

“Following” = people you choose to follow, whom you’re interested in knowing their updates (which we refer to as tweets).

“Followers” = people who are following you. Your tweets will only be visible to your followers so they can respond to you accordingly.

I have nobody to talk to…

Start off your network building via ‘Find People’ option in your Twitter page;

Find people

or based on the keyword entered in Twitter Search, you’ll get a real-time results of the existing public conversations.

Twitter search

Example: If you’re interested in tech news, try ‘technology’ in the search box, and locate those who’re within your niche.

I heard there are “special Twitter codes” to communicate with each other?

There are, in fact, some special terms to be used to communicate efficiently with other Twitter users. Here are a glimpse to the basic ones:

  1. @username + message:

    To respond to someone, simply address him/her as ‘@username’ then type your message. This could be seen publicly by followers who are following both you and the ‘username’.

  2. D username + message:

    Direct Message (DM), is a private message between 2 individuals. Nobody could see the message except you two.

    Example: d abc Could you please help….?

  3. RT username + message:

    This is one of the powerful and most used code in Twitter. Literally, it means repeating/passing along other person’s tweet so your followers could catch a glimpse at it. It could be an interesting quote, valuable info or picture sharing. The ethic of RT is to maintain the username of the person who sent you the message, as an appreciation and a respectful thing to do.

    Example: abc received a tweet from xyz, and intend to share this info with the followers:

    RT @xyz 10 Ways you could improve your traffic to your site (link)

So there you have it, the basic course of Twitter. Darren Rowse has made a great post about 5 Things To Do As A New Twitter User, which is a good guide for those who are planning for a Twitter kick start. See you in Twitter!