NewsTaco

May 5th, 2011
The Top 5 Twitter Tools

So, I’ll be totally honest with you, I didn’t really know how to use Twitter when I first got my account. Everything I’ve learned about Twitter (btw, you can follow me here) I learned through experience. Which, bless my heart, is the best way I learn things.

In any case, I know there are tons of people out there so much smarter than me that you can learn from reading, and not have to do it yourself, and so I wanted to share for my friends and the News Taco readership, the top 5 tools you can use on Twitter.

1. @ Mentions – This really means two things. First, that you can catch other peoples’ attention on twitter by mentioning them in a tweet by adding the @ sign to their handle (ex: @sarachicad). Which leads me to the second thing, the “@ Mentions” tab on Twitter shows you every time someone else mentions you like this. So, you see, Twitter is really just a conversation.

2. # Hashtags – There are also two ways to use hashtags on Twitter. One way is to follow a conversation about a particular topic, say, #5Mayo or #OBL (Osama Bin Laden). If you click on these puppies on Twitter, you’ll go to a page that contains all the tweets with that hashtag, in other words, the entire conversation taking place on Twitter about that particular topic. This is very useful during breaking news events, such as an earthquake for example.

The second way you can use hashtags is to make an editorial remark about something. For example, you can tweet “Happy Cinco De Mayo!” and then add an editorial comment “#notjustaboutbeer.” That hashtag doesn’t actually exist, but people on Twitter will get that it’s a sarcastic remark.

3. Timing – Think of Twitter like you think about television for a moment: all television is not created equal, right? Super Bowl commercials cost a lot more money than Friday night commercials because there are lots more people watching during the big game, right? The same principle applies on Twitter; if you’re tweeting at 3 am, no one is going to see your tweet, if you tweet in the morning, after lunch, right before the end of the day and right after people get home and onto their computers in the evening, more people will see your tweet. Timing depends on your audience, but think about it.

4. Your Twitter Network – Look at the people following you, who they are following and the suggestions Twitter gives you. Honestly, the most people you follow, the more people follow you, and the more information you can get about the things that interest you on Twitter. Of course, don’t overdo it because then your stream can become irrelevant and overwhelming; don’t be afraid to unfollow people that don’t provide the info you thought they would.

5. TweetDeck, Hootsuite, Other Tools – There are tools out there, like TweetDeck and Hootsuite, that can help you more easily digest all those tweets. I personally favor the Twitter interface, but sometimes I use Hootsuite to shorten URLs and I’m increasingly digging TweetDeck because the audio tweet and mention notifications take the burden off of me having to check all the time. It just depends on your preference.

Well, that’s the tutorial, I hope it helps, feel free to let us know if you have anymore questions.

Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD

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