I’ll Take Twitter for $200, Alex

So what is this “Twitter” that all the kids are talking about these days? Simply put, it’s a valuable social media tool that gets your message in a succinct manner to limitless numbers. With half a million active users (thank you twitter for the number) and 135, 000 new users daily  (thank you Static Brain for that one,) Twitter has become a Social Media powerhouse that can’t be ignored.

For this Tutorial Tuesday, think of us as your private Twitter coaches. We’ll start with some basic terminology to make sure you’re using the right phrases. (If nothing else, it will lessen your children rolling their eyes at you.)

Let’s start:

Tweet (noun):

A message posted onto Twitter. Tweets have a maximum limit of 140 characters. The reason? Twitter’s CEO answers, “Beauty of 140 characters is it fosters creativity in the way ppl tell a story. Like haiku.”


And that is a bona-fide haiku. We go the extra step.

Tweet (verb):

The act of posting a tweet. For example, “I’ll tweet you the information.” Also “Tweeting” and “Tweeted” have been added to our common daily language.

As in a teacher telling their class:



If you want a tweet to get someone’s direct attention, you “mention” them by including the @ before their username. The tweet will be seen by the person you’re aiming for (as well as everyone on your news feed.)



This is my 21st century attempt at requesting some time off.

If you click the “mentions” section of your profile, you can see any tweets in which you’re mentioned.


If you see something really interesting, fuuny, cool (etc…) that you want to pass on to your followers, you can just hit the “Retweet” button and the original message goes out to your followers.


Now I couldn’t care less about this, but anyone who skips the Teen Choice Awards deserves some love.

Message (also known as DM for Direct Message):

If you want to send a tweet that only the recipient can see (like an email), start the tweet with DM or D.  For example:


Fame is, however, a two way street.

No, I did not actually send this to her, this is just an example of what a Direct Message looks like.


A hashtag symbol (#) is basically a “magnet” on Twitter. If you are posting on a certain subject, you can hashtag the phrase, making it easy to find by any one looking for info on the same subject.


Follow, Follower, and Unfollow:

If you “Follow” someone, you are subscribing to their tweets in your timeline (it’s the exact same as being someone’s friend on Facebook.) Likewise, a “Follower” is someone who follows your tweets.


(Oreo is obviously very specific who they follow, but their genius brand of humor makes them a Twitter superstar.)

If someone starts to really bug you, you can “Unfollow” them, thus ending your twitter relationship.


This is the same as your Facebook timeline, it’s the gathering of all the tweets sent by the people you follow.

A caution, if you follow a lot of people, it is easy to miss tweets as the platform loads them as they are posted, in real time. 



That is a sampling of my newsfeed. I blurred my friends, but public figures put it all out there, so I’m not gonna worry.

And lastly,


If you want to answer someone directly, hit the “reply” button in the lower left corner of the window. Twitter will automatically start your reply with @ and the user name you are answering. (Yes, these characters count against your 140, so plan a concise answer.)



Have a great week!