The Anatomy of a Tweet

Lots of people are figuring out how to use Twitter across campus. Some communicators, students and faculty could write the book on tweeting. But, if you’re like the majority, you’re still figuring out what Twitter is and what in the world to do with a hashtag (#).

Getting started on Twitter is a little like learning a new language in a new country. The first thing you should do is simply create a Twitter account and listen. You get bonus points for uploading an image (and getting rid of the easter egg default photo) and creating a profile of yourself.

Next up, find some interesting people and news outlets to listen TO. A great place to get started is at the All Duke Tweeters list @DukeNews maintains. Simply click on the profile name of anyone tweeting something of interest and click “follow” to have their tweets show up in your homepage stream.

Now that you’re listening, you’ll probably be curious about all of the acronyms and symbols you’re seeing. Here’s a little Twitter glossary to help you understand what these terms mean:

After you’ve listened enough to comfortable with the new world of Twitter, try crafting your own tweet, perhaps by sharing links and content that interest you. One of the best uses of Twitter is swapping content.

Now that you’re part of the conversation, consider using a special desktop and mobile tool to help you organize your tweets and to filter searches for content. Two popular options are Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. Both allow you to create streams of customized content and searches so you can view what’s important to you and sort out the noise.

I’m happy to answer questions and provide more details to help you. Stay tuned on this blog for posts on how you can create your own effective Twitter strategy.

***Updated on May 22, 2012

My colleague Anton Zuiker wrote a fabulous Twitter 101 blog post about getting started with Twitter in bite-sized pieces. Please read it here.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply