Last week we discussed the first five laws of Twitter. If you have already put them in action, you should have at least enough followers willing to listen to and read your tweets and, hopefully, make some witty response in reply. If you still find your timeline empty, you may want to go back to Facebook, and forget about Twitter. If you are not ready to give up, and want to get even more out of your Twitter experience, follow these last few steps on how to get the most out of Twitter.
Law 6: Know the lingo
Once you have built up a nice list of tweets and followers, you will need to learn how to properly convey your message across Twitter and how to read what others have to say. Getting your point across in 140 characters or less is an art, and, like any fine skill, you need to learn and practice in order to prefect it. Before you can practice the art of tweeting, you need to know what the common phrases/characters are.
#: This is a hashtag. It is categorize tweets by keywords. To use the hashtag, place it before a relevant keyword or phrase in your tweet, being sure to omit any spaces. Example: The #milk I drank yesterday was #sour. People often use hashtags to convey their meaning, or tag a silly word in their tweet. A hashtag can even be a slur of words formed together to convey your meaning. Example: #aslongasyouuse<140charyourhashtagcanbeaslongasyoulike
@: This sign is used to mention someone in a tweet. If you want your tweet to reference a person/business, or you want to talk to them directly, you would place the @ symbol before their name, and with no spaces. Example: The recent update to @Facebook is horrible! Or, @JohnDoe, do you want to catch a bite to eat later?
DM: Short hand for “Direct Message”.
#FF: This stands for “Follow Friday”. Every Friday, you are likely to see this hashtag flooding tweets across your timeline. It gives people a chance to increase their following and is usually included with a reason why you should follow that person. Example: “
#ff @TheRomMistress cause she is the reason you feel like you’re being watched in the dark….” See Rule 9 for more info.
#followback: This can be seen in a first tweet sent to someone after following them. They are asking for you to follow them back. On #FF it is common to see this.
RT: Abbreviation for “re-tweet”. This is placed before re-tweeting something someone else has said.
TL: Short for “Timeline”.
IRL: Means that something happened “In real life” and not on the internet. Usually referring to someone you know in real life.
b/c: Shorthand for “because”
kthxbye: A witty response to end a response to an argument or statement
F2F: Acronym for “face to face”
FTW: Acronym for “for the win”
TFTF: Acronym for “thanks for the follow”
TMB: Acronym for “tweet me back”
Twaffic, Twalking, Tweeple, etc.: Adding a “Tw” in front of any word incorporates the meaning into something to do with twitter. Ex. Tweeple=Twitter People, Twaffic= Twitter Traffic.
These are the basics of twitter lingo. I recommend googling each twitter acronym or word you do not recognize in order to really utilize your 140-char tweet. For now, this should keep you afloat while trying to decipher your timeline.
Law 7: Twitter Tools
There are many web apps and mobile apps that work hand in hand with Twitter. Some allow for a complete replacement of the Twitter homepage, while others help you create tweets and manage your followers. The following list of web apps are a must to fully utilizing Twitter.
TinyURL: Shortens any URL so you save space in your tweet.
Twitlonger: Allows you to tweet over the limit by providing a link to your expanded thought.
Who Unfollowed Me: Check and see who unfollowed you and who’s not following you, then call them out on it.
Formulists: Automates adding people to your custom lists.
TweetStats: A fun tool that graphs your Twitter stats.\
FollowFriday Helper: An easy way to create #ff lists based on users you interact with.
Law 8: How to avoid spam bots
Unfortunately, Twitter is a breeding ground for spam bots. Many use it as a means to spam URL’s to unsuspecting Tweeple, and others will simply follow you and never say a word. These bots are usually pretty easy to spot, and can be removed at the click of a button.
People often disguise the use of profane language by adding special characters or spelling the word in obscure ways. This is so their word isn’t filtered out or blocked. A good practice to avoiding spam bots is to do the same when referencing business names or brands. Bots are set up to automatically recognize certain words in a tweet. For example, spammers who are looking to target persons interested in Kraft Mac & Cheese might be set to automatically follow someone who mentions the tasty meal. If you were set on specifying your love for Kraft Mac & Cheese, you might instead say Kra!t Mac^Cheeze. This will throw off those pesky beasts and help keep them out of your friends list.
If someone you don’t know mentions you with only a link on the tweet, your first instinct should be “BLOCK THE BOT!” DO NOT click the link. Instead, click the nifty “Report as Spam” button on their profile, and voila! The tweet is removed, and the bot will be blocked, and eventually removed from Twitter. Another good indication you’re dealing with a bot is to visit their profile and check out their followers and tweets. If they are following several hundred people and only have a few following them, assume they are a bot and do not play into their games.
The most effective way to avoid spammers is to set your profile as private. By doing this, the bots will not be able to see your tweets, and will have no way to track your interests. To do this, click on “Settings/Tweet Privacy” and check the box next to “Protect my Tweets.” Of course, doing this will also limit potential followers, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too…sorry.
Law 9: Have fun!
Twitter can be a great place to just sit back and relax. Do not be afraid of the 7 laws I referenced and instead, embrace them so you can enjoy a pleasant experience while tweeting with your friends, family, and strangers.
One way you can have fun with twitter is by participating in the weekly #followfriday game. As I illustrated in law 6, #followfriday is a way to get more followers, and have fun doing it. This is your chance to recommend other tweeples follow your favorite followers.
There are many veriations on #ff. You can dedicate one tweet to a particularly worthy follower, you can group followers together based on qualities the tweeples share, or you can just do generic, impersonal #ff’s. Whichever way you choose, DO NOT forget to use the hashtag in front of #followfriday, or #ff.
To make things easy for you (and a bit less entertaining), you can use one of the many FF helpers available on the web (see law 7 for one link). FollowFriday Helper will look for users you have interacted in the last week, and allow you to create an #ff based on its suggestions.