The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Some Twitter Truths You Need to Know

Today’s tips are all about Twitter. Whether you’re relatively new to Twitter and struggling to figure it out, or you’re a veteran and think you know it all, there is probably a tip in today’s post you can use. So stick around!

First, let me just confess, I truly hated Twitter when I began using it 4+ years ago. I mean really hated it. It was like a foreign language to me. And me no speakie nothin’ but good ol’ American, and in a Pittsburghese dialect to boot. So there.

But the more I used it, the faster it became my favorite social media platform. And then I got so good at it that I “earned” a butt-load of free high value Old El Paso coupons just for tweeting free sex to the head of General Mills! Skillz, people. That takes mad skillz.

And you too can earn free coupons for a lifetime supply of broken taco shells if you enroll in my trademark pending e-course: “Tweet Like a Ho-Bag in Five Easy Steps.”

Kidding. I don’t do it for the coupons. I do it for the love.

I also Tweet to interact with interesting people I probably wouldn’t otherwise know, like famous authors, newspaper columnists, and kitchen and bath design experts who can give me faucet installation tips and make me laugh at the same time.

Oh, hello Nick, darling. (Let’s tweet about caulk later!)

I mean, come on. Where else can I have conversations like that, in public, without being arrested or fired? I heart Twitter so hard. I really do.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

First up, let’s just explain some of those pesky abbreviations you see all the time in Twitter, because I once jokingly told HotMessMom.com that #FF meant “fuck a frog” and the next thing I knew she was tweeting photos like this:

Actual #FF photo tweeted by @HotMessMomCom. No live frogs were hurt in the making of that tweet.

Honest to Pete.

That girl is more fun than a front pocket full of peanut butter at the dog park. 

Don’t worry. I set her straight . . . eventually. Friends don’t let friends hump amphibians.

But I digress.

Four Twitter abbreviations everyone should know:

RT = retweet, the way you share someone else’s tweet with your followers

MT = modified tweet (when you edit someone’s tweet before you RT it)

FF = Follow Friday, one way to spread the love on Twitter, by recommending someone you think your followers would also enjoy following.

DM = direct message, like a private email, but less than 140 characters

Speaking of DMs, you probably see a lot of people who send out automated DMs when you follow them. They usually say things like “Thanks for the follow! For more of my awesomeness, read my free e-book, How to Be a Huge Douchebag on Twitter!”

Yeah. That.

Please don’t set up automated DMs. It makes you look like a cheese ball, and not in a good way.

Looking to maximize the visibility of your tweet and gain new followers? Add a good hashtag!

Hashtags make the topic of your tweet more easily searchable. When I was tweeting about the Emmys the other night, I was sure to include the hashtag #Emmys or #Emmysmack so that anyone following that hashtag would have my tweets show up in their search, even if they aren’t my followers.

All Tom Beringer needed was an empty chair. #EmmySmack
@TheBeardedIris
Leslie Marinelli

 

Oooh, wondering how I put my tweet into this post? It’s a plug-in called Twitter Blackbird Pie. Get some.

Only time for one more Twitter Truth, and I’ve saved the best for last!

If you want your tweet to be seen by the most people possible, don’t start it with the “@” symbol.

I’ve written about this extensively here, but in a nutshell, when you start a tweet with an @, that tweet will only show up in the feeds of people who follow BOTH you and the person you are “@ mentioning” at the beginning of that tweet.

Say what?

I know. This one is a little tricky.

And listen, sometimes you don’t want to clog up all your followers’ feeds with the details of a back and forth conversation you’re having with one person (see crack/caulk convo with Nick above). That’s when a quick reply that begins with @ is a good thing.

But if you are trying to tweet out something fabulous that you really want the most people possible to see, like a link to a friend’s blog post that you love, don’t start the tweet with their twitter handle.

For example:

This is a good example of how to tweet a link: 

I FRICKING LOVE this by @: And They Say Romance is Dead http://t.co/U4QjPkYQ
@TheBeardedIris
Leslie Marinelli

It would show up in the feeds of all 2158 of my followers. Actually, it would have been even better if I had added the hashtag #marriage and/or #romance to increase visibility to people outside of my reach!

But this next tweet is an example of what NOT to do:

That would only show up in the feeds of people who are following both me and @motherhoodwtf. That’s only 186 people, as opposed to all 2158 of my followers who might not all know the fabulousness that is Allison of MotherhoodWTF.

By the way, I found that number using Twiangulate, a very cool way to find new people to follow and extend your Twitter reach. Check it out!

 

In that handy dandy Venn diagram above, wouldn’t Allison rather have all my peeps in the yellow circle see my tweet about her post than just the tiny sliver in the middle of our mutual followers?

Yes. She would. And luckily for her, I know how to tweet for maximum visibility. And now, so do you! Yay! Group hug, bitches.

And that’s all we have time for today. Please leave me a comment below if there are any other burning Twitter questions you’d like me address in a future post. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it. Hey, anything to avoid housework.

Thanks for being here!

Your Twitter Truth Ho,

-Leslie

41 Comments

  1. Wow I had no idea you could set up automated DM’s. Not that I would ever want to but I guess there’s something for everyone. Thanks for the heads up on this! I’m such a newb.

    You’re the bomb, honey!!

    Teri
    Snarkfest

  2. I feel like the famousest person EVER. So happy to be your example. And I TOTALLY didn’t know about the starting with @ thing. And that whole Twiangulate thing? Mind.Blown.

    • “More fun than a pocket full of peanut butter at the dog park.” I’m totally using that in my next blog post.

      Also – something I do with @replies when I want them to be seen by the best and the brightest: use a period right before the @ — as in .@theBeardedIris you some kinda crazy!

  3. I am a Facebook fiend who finds Twitter confusing sometimes. But I’m getting there. I use a hashtag for all the weird things my kids say at random #shitmykidssay – I figured I’m not the first one to use it, but if anyone ever needs a random laugh, that’s a way to get one!

    I do like the tips about @____ – I never thought about the difference between mentioning at the beginning or the middle of a tweet. Damn, you really do learn something new everyday, huh?

  4. This is very valuable advice. I never considered the @____ blah, blah, blah… Thank you for the info from this fairly new twatter. Or is it twitterer? Oh hell, who cares, I need this and I thank you.

  5. OOOh good one–I also did not know about the @ at the beginning! One thing I will tell ya – I’ve been tweeting since 2007 and it was never fun until I started blogging and tweeting with my blogger peeps-they are WAY more fun!

  6. Very informative! I don’t have a clue how to use Twitter, so it’s sort of like foreign food to me – I try to avoid it unless I’ve had a couple of drinks. But your post makes me want to use Twitter more, hopefully forgoing all the I’m-an-idiot-who-doesn’t-understand-Twitter-frustration that’s even more painful than FF (not Follow Friday, what Kim said).

  7. I do not tweet, I maaaa. I am a goat.
    The publicist is known to tweet but very rarely as she is technologically challenged not to mention she is always in the kitchen.

  8. Twitter scares me. I asked my friend if she tweets and she replied, “Only when my husband is out of town.” That did it, I was done.

  9. Good info! I have to say though, the thing that stands out most is the pic of HMM with a frog in her pants. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

  10. Good info and so did not realize the @ thing. I tend to do that anyway as it feels more natural but great to know how NOT to broadcast to everyone every tweet.

  11. I tweet. I really do. But I’m …. it’s like reading ads all the fucking time. And writing them. And we all know why I didn’t own a TV for close to ten years, right? Oh, nobody but my husband does? It’s because advertising is one of the fast and worstest bipolar triggers I have. You want to send me from “poker face” to “towering rage” in 15 seconds flat? Make me sit through a Youtube ad. Just watch what I look like in the moments before the video I selected actually begins to play. With Twitter, I feel so DIRTY when I tweet (not that this stops me) and I have to force myself to devote a day a week to it.

    At least it doesn’t have ads down the side like facecrack, but I can somehow zone those things out and read what I want better on FB than I can the tweets and hashtags on Twitter.

  12. Hi all! 🙂 Great post for bloggers on Twitter. Can I add one teeny tiny bit to it?! 🙂 True Twit validation services is LAME. For crying out loud, if I post a comment on your dang blog, and use my twitter account, or tweet something for you for a giveaway, it’s POSSIBLE I’m a robot. But not likely. The more possible outcome of that scenario is that I will not visit your blog again because it’s obnoxious. OK. Just my 1/2 cent.

    @megans_madness

  13. You said “burning Twitter.” Heh heh heh.

  14. Ooh, Twitter Blackbird Pie – I likey you! Wish I knew that before I typed out someone’s tweet I quoted in a post, looking like a jackass.

    And Twiangulate! I love wordplay!

    Frog humping picture – I die.

  15. Thanks for the info #nevergonnagetthislearnt #damnsocialmedia #hashtagWTFwaspoundsign…

  16. The @ sign at the beginning is a great tip! You are worth so much more than great phone sex. Also, if a frog jumped in place fast enough…

  17. One more tip:
    If your BFF is stupid and says she refuses to get on “The Twitter” because she doesn’t get it you can use this handy little trick – use the “share tweet via” function on your smartphone’s Twitter app to forward 857 awesome tweets to her per day via text message. #twitterbyproxy

  18. tracy@sellabitmum

    September 26, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    So it’s not Fuck a Frog day? I’m so confused.

  19. OMG! If I’m going to keep reading your posts, I will have to invest in some Maximum Strength Depends to deal with the post pregnancy stress incontinence issues. Or strictly adhere to Official Reading TBI Blog Rule #2: empty bladder before opening link. Fuck a Frog? Seriously? I’ll be laughing at that image for a while. It’s not like people don’t already think I’m a little nutty.

  20. Thanks for all of the tips (and laughs!), BI! (Can I call you that since we’re in that Facebook group together and all?)

  21. This!! This is what I needed! Thankyouthankyou! I’m a total newbie twatter so of course I didn’t understand half of what you said… I’m going to go back and read it again. Then I’ll read it again while staring at my phone. As God as my witness, I will master this bitch they call Twitter.

  22. OMG Twiangulate! You mean I can combine my love for Venn diagrams AND Twitter! I’m so happy I’m off to find an amphibian to love. Ellen

  23. I looove the embedded tweets we can do now – that will save me some photoshoppin’ time.

    That “@” thing – ugh – I try and try to explain that to people but they can’t wrap their heads around it. What is FUNNY to me is when a certain family member bitches me out for joking about them INSIDE AN @ CONVO. All it really does is confirm to me that I have a stalker with no life other than to camp out on my feed, since I know she doesn’t actually follow me OR the person I was talking to. I don’t think she realizes that’s how it works, but it’s too late — her crazy has been revealed.

    Yay, Twitter!

  24. Awaiting that “Tweet Like a Ho-Bag” course. In the meantime this was awesome and THANK YOU! Truly, I’m twitter illiterate, so this was helpful 🙂

  25. Wow. This was really good for me. I follow someone who gives regular blogging advise but I’ve never seen these points about twitter. I admit that right now I hate twitter too. I just can’t seem to keep up and it feels like I’m in high school standing on the outside of everyone’s conversation and not sure how to get in. I,ll try some of your tips and maybe even try chatting with you. Eeks

    • Oh, I totally know that feeling and it sucks! And it’s super awkward to try to engage with people who are in a conversation and they just ignore you like you’re a gnat buzzing around their cheeseburger. That happens to all of us. The trick is to find some people who are excellent at bopping in and out of conversations on Twitter and learn from them. The best person I know of who excels at that is my friend Kerry from @HouseTalkN. We met on Twitter! And she is one of those hilarious girls who can befriend anyone. Go. Get with her. Tell her I sent you.

  26. This was hecka useful. Thanks.

  27. Fabulous, entertaining tips – win, win.

    Also? That frog pic. I have no words. None.

    🙂

  28. Hi agian Leslie,

    Greetings from Londinium.

    Just to make it official, wanted to say THANK YOU for the @___ info. This is so damn helpful. With all the online Twitter help guides, etc., I’ve read, I’ve never seen this before. You are fabu.

    Going to check out that Twitter Blackbird Pie right now. It’ll go great with my cup of afternoon tea.

    x

    • Hello lovely! So nice to meet you and I’m thrilled I could clear up some Twitter questions for you. So many people struggle with that particular issue and the good folks at Twitter don’t really make it easy to learn that tidbit. Looking forward to getting to know you through the Content Brew class and please check out In The Powder Room too!

  29. This is so great. I’m a FB pro, but a total n00b on the Twitterz. Thanks for the tips. I’ll be leaving with your followers now…[yoink!]

  30. I’m totally unloved on Twitter. I write what I think are funny and/or useful comments and use hashtags but get very little response. I’m not one of the cool kids. Excuse me while I go to my corner and cry now…

    I’m such a whiny little biatch aren’t I? Haha.

  31. This is extremely helpful. You are so wise! (Obviously you can’t see me, but I’m doing my best bowing down and worshipping pose right now, my very own version of Wayne’s World “We’re not Worthy!”)

  32. Useful examples. Starting with @ is definitely not a good idea. Some experts suggest to put the link at the beginning after two or three words. That results in better visiblity and also optimizes CTRs.

    • Joshua – thank you! That’s a great point…and since the goal for sharing a link is hoping people actually click through, it really should be early in the tweet. Thanks again! (CTR = Click Through Rate)

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