Anyone who knows me online, knows that I am a bit of a Twitter-fiend.  I’ve become “Twitterpated”, if you will.  At last count I have 15,908 Tweets, 949 Followers and I’m following 983 on Twitter.  These stats might sound impressive to a Twitter neophyte but believe me, there are people on Twitter with astronomical stats, making mine look like child’s play.  Recently, I deactivated my Facebook profile, choosing to focus primarily on Twitter.  I’ve found that I can have mature, intelligent conversations on Twitter, whereas on Facebook, it all too often devolves into cyber-bullying and middle-school antics.

Many bloggers that I encounter fall into one of two camps: they’re complete Twitter diehards like myself or they don’t get it and are afraid to dip their toe into the water.  That’s where I come in.  I’m a certified technology teacher (in 2 states!) and I genuinely enjoy imparting my love and knowledge of technology unto others.

So here we go, Twitter in a nutshell:

1. Everyone that follows you can see everything you type unless you DM (direct message) someone.

2. If you want to direct a comment to someone in particular but not put it in a DM, you type their @twittername somewhere in the tweet. That way the person knows it’s directed to them (but remember, everyone else can see it too).

3. A hashtag is how you search for topics. Like the Grammy Awards for example. Everyone who is tweeting about the Grammys will put #Grammys in their tweets. You can follow all of the tweets about the Grammys by searching #Grammys. Conversely, if you don’t want to see any tweets about the Grammys, you can filter using hashtags as well.

4. Sometimes people use hashtags in funny ways. They’ll say something like “Mick Jagger really should get looser fitting pants. #oldmanmooseknuckle” You probably don’t want to search for that kind of hashtag.

5. Keep it under 140 characters. Spaces count. That’s why you see tweets with grammar errors, spelling errors, etc. If you have to break it up into multiple tweets, do it.

6. To find people, start following someone you know or want to know & see who they follow then start following those people…it’s sort of like a spiderweb.

7. Once you get your feet under you, you might want a way to organize all the Twitter traffic that you’ll be seeing.  I’m a fan of Tweetdeck.  It’s an app that allows you to arrange your feeds into customizable columns so you can easily see all of the Tweets that are coming in.  For example; I have my columns set up left to right as Mentions (those are tweets that specifically mention me), All Friends (that’s my general feed), Direct Messages, and then 2-3 columns of specific searches.  You can search hashtags and it will constantly pull tweets with that hashtag and put them in those columns for you.  I couldn’t tweet as efficiently as I do without Tweetdeck.

So, anyway, that’s Twitter in a nutshell.  If you have any other questions, just let me know, I’ll be glad to answer them!