Twitter for Beginners

By Stephanie Bercaw, Paid Search Specialist, Advertising Solutions

If you are thinking about jumping on the latest & greatest social networking site (Twitter), I definitely encourage it. Millions of others are tweeting, even I am tweeting—there’s a lot of conversation to be had. Twitter serves as another platform in which we, marketing folk can get involved with the outside world from our cubes/islands. While it may look like yet another way for you to stalk…er….keep in contact with your friends, sharing the latest sarcastic joke or tip of the day without having to burn up your costly Sprint minutes (come on admit it, we’re all trying to save a buck where we can these days) is well worth it. If that is not enough reason to jump on, I’ll do you one better, Twitter provides a platform in which a company, brand, or website can interact with their target audience. Often times marketing is a one-way sermon, company-to-client, but Twitter is breaking through that barrier allowing for a two-way conversation.

I’m not going to go into a tirade about all the uses (brand engagement, product launches, surveys, awareness, linking opportunities, word of mouth, etc.) that Twitter provides within our Search World, but rather would like to decode a few things. Being fairly new to it, (I just hit my 150th tweet) I’m still learning the lingo. For all of you newbies who are in my boat…here are some things I’ve picked up.

On Twitter, there exists a different language. And it typically comes in the form of two letter acronyms combined with symbols that usually take the place of inappropriate, four letter words. Don’t worry, no one is cursing at you. Let’s take a step back and decode:

@ = A comment directed at a specific Tweeter. For example, below you will see connectual tweeting directly at samwehrs, giving appreciation for a new description of his company Connectual:

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Example of an @ Tweet
The @ is also used when replying to a Tweet. In response to my post about corduroy pillows, voryuns wanted to know more:

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Example of an @ Tweet Response
RT =ReTweet. RT is essentially repeating what another person wrote. For example, if you see something from someone you are following that is just too awesome not to share with the people who follow you, you can ReTweet it up! It’s kind of like forwarding an email, but via Tweets.

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Twitter Example of an RT

In the example above, AllisonJacobs is re-tweeting what MikeTesnar wrote regarding Twitter and its affects in the advertising space.

OH = Overheard. Not to be confused with re-tweeting; OH is used when you HEAR something around the office, on the bus, in class, etc. It is not forwarding on “the written word,” but rather when you hear someone say something interesting, ridiculous, hilarious and/or embarrassing. If you don’t remember who said it, or you want to show a little discretion by not completely throwing someone under the bus, you OH it. For example, a little celeb gossip from our own, AllisonJacobs:

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Twitter Example of an OH Tweet

# is used to identify a search term with Twitter Search. When you add # in front of a word, it files that word into the Twitter-data-base and will populate your tweet when a user searches on that term. For example a common thread is #Musicmonday. If you wanted to make sure your tweet declaring The Who as the greatest English rock band of all time is populated when someone is searching for some quality Monday tunes, you should make sure to add #musicmonday to your tweet:

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Example of a # Tweet

TinyURL or = This is just a little, shortened version of a URL you want to post.

Since character limits are so tight, you often see links such as this: Sometimes these will automatically shorten when you post them, and sometimes you have to do it manually (I haven’t figured out the why’s behind this one yet….anyone?) However, don’t be discouraged by technology fees—URL shrinking is free!! Just go to or and plug in the URL to be shortened and wah-lah! Instant baby url.

That’s a quick-down-and-dirty of a few basic Twitter functions I know. What else do people use and see out there for “Twitter code”? #FollowFriday? Drop a line. Add to the discussion. Spread the word. Share the wealth. Happy Tweeting!


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