TRS Tips #1: Twitter: What’s All the Tweeting About?

Written by on 07-23-2009

It seems like everywhere you go someone is talking about Twitter whether it’s Oprah Winfrey, CNN, or your local grocery store. That’s great, but what the heck is it? Twitter is basically a mini-blog type social network where your posts are limited to 140 characters. Businesses use it to share news about their company, post information about recent software updates, and some are even using it for technical support. (Dish Network | Comcast) Many TRS clients are using Twitter to break event news, announce early bird registration, post information about recent association programs or promote a keynote speaker at a conference. (World Equestrian Games | Detroit Metro Sports Commission) That sounds pretty useful, but how do I get started? Does it cost anything? What do all these different terms mean?

Getting started

Sign up by visiting the Twitter homepage ( and click the green Get Started – Join button. (no worries, it doesn’t cost anything) You’ll be asked for your name, username, password, and email address. Spend some time brainstorming what you want your username to be as this will be how you are contacted and known on Twitter. If your company name is XYZ, then you might want to see if XYZ is available as a username. Most likely short usernames like that will already be taken, so you’ll need to get creative. You might try XYZCorp or XYZOnline or some other variation like that. Once you have found a suitable username, click the Create my account button.

Customize your profile

One of the first things you want to do after creating your account is to customize your profile. Click the Settings link at the top of the page and you will be presented with several tabs worth of options. On the Account tab, enter your company’s website address in the More info URL field. Write up a short blurb about your company in the One Line Bio field. Remember, this is what people will see when they look you up on Twitter, so make it useful information. Also make sure you input your location on this page so you will show up on searches.

Click the Picture tab and upload either a company logo or an image that identifies your brand. This is what people will see next to your posts. Finally, click the Design tab and customize the color scheme and background of your Twitter page. Many businesses will put a company logo in the top left corner and some contact information or product info below that.

Twitter Lingo

Before you start posting things, it’s a good idea to learn some of the lingo used on the service. Below are a few of the major ones you should familiarize yourself with.

  • Tweet: Anytime you post something on Twitter, it is called a tweet.
  • @username: Anytime you start your tweet off with @username (like @oprah), you are sending a reply to that person. Please note that these replies are public and anyone can see what you write. Example: “@username thanks for following me!”
  • Direct Message: This is similar to the @username, but it is a private message that only the recipient can view. This is used by some businesses to exchange contact information with a potential client. Example: “d username this message is for your eyes only.” Notice that you start the tweet off with a d and then their username with no @ symbol.
  • Hash Tag: This is a tag noted by the # symbol that marks a tweet with a certain keyword so others can find it. This is very useful for finding people at conferences and events. Example: “John is attending the #sxsw conference in Texas” The #sxsw is the hash tag.
  • Follower: This is another twitter user who is following you. They will see anything you post in their twitter feed. The more followers you have, the more people your posts will reach. (CNN has over 2 million followers!)

Congratulations! You’re now part of the Twitter universe! Make sure you follow TRS and we’ll do the same for you. Check back soon for the next part of this article: Registration and Event ideas. Thanks!

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