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Guidebook for the Social Networking Site Twitter

April 28, 2014 at 5:05 PM

twitterTwitter Quick Facts:

  • Twitter's original code name was twttr

  • The idea of short online updates derived from text messaging

  • “The definition [of “twitter”] was 'a short burst of inconsequential information,' and 'chirps from birds'. That’s what the product was."

  • Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) is the most popular person on Twitter with about 12 million followers as of mid-2011

  • 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks

  • Four of the five most popular Twitter feeds belong to pop stars; President Barack Obama (@BarackObama) holds down the third slot

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a real-time information network where people get the latest news, ideas, and opinions about what interests them. Twitter is organized around Tweets, which are small bites of information up to 140 characters long.

Who's on Twitter?

There is no age minimum for signing up for Twitter. From a mobile phone or computer, users follow others' tweets or compose tweets of their own. They can browse topics or search for tweets on specific subjects, people, or news stories.

What do all the special characters mean?

Twitter uses a few special symbols that aren't necessary to tweet, but make it easier to read the tweets of those who do.

  • @ symbol before a username means that a tweet is replying to that user

  • # symbol in a tweet marks topics or keywords of that tweet

What is public and what is private on Twitter?

Tweets are either “public” or “protected.” Public tweets are viewable by everyone even if they don't have a Twitter account, but protected tweets can only be seen by previously approved Twitter followers. A third kind of tweet, called a direct message, can only be seen by the sender and the recipient. Users can only send direct messages to people who follow them on Twitter.

What can you "Tweet" on Twitter?

Images and videos can be included in a tweet, and tweets can be posted directly to blogs or Facebook. Location is hidden by default, but it can be switched on or designated on a tweet-by-tweet basis. Once posted, a tweet can't be edited – but it can be deleted. However, if someone has already “re-tweeted” their post, the retweet may or may not be deleted.

People who use Twitter do not have to tweet – in fact, many don't. “Following” somebody on Twitter is a one-sided relationship, sort of like scanning newspaper headlines. 

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Steven Woda

Written by Steven Woda

Steve Woda is the co-founder and CEO of uKnow, and a leader in the Internet safety and security field for over 15 years. He frequently speaks on the topics of Internet and mobile security, ecommerce and information economics. You can follow Steve on Twitter or on his blog.

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