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2 Minutes Guide to Twitter

I started using Twitter recently and I really like it. Twitter is basically a website that allows you to micro-blog.  I find the idea of micro-blogging fascinating because a blog takes a lot of time and effort to maintain, whereas writing a micro-blog entry (it’s called a tweet on Twitter) simply takes few seconds.

However, I was quite lost when I first start twittering. I saw many tweets contain strange symbols and I had no idea what they meant. Following are the three most widely used Twitter commands:

  1. @reply – Any tweet started with @<user name> (e.g. “@oscarkuo is a reply”) will be placed in the reply tab of the user’s Twitter home page.
  2. #tags – Tagging helps to organise tweets just like how you would tag your E-mails in your Gmail account or blog entries on your blog. The only difference is that #tags works across everyone’s tweet, not just your tweet. Basically the idea is you put the hash symbol (#) in front of a keyword in a tweet. For example the Twitter update “my #iphone rocks” essentially tagged this tweet with the category #iphone. You can then use Twitter’s search or other community websites such as Hashtags to track these tags.
  3. RT (ReTweet) – This is  basically a way of forwarding a tweet to your Twitter followers. This is not really an official Twitter feature but people place “RT” in front of the message followed by @<user name> to indicate that they are forwarding someone else’s tweet (e.g. “RT @oscarkuo iphone rocks”).

Many people said to me that they prefer Facebook status updates over Twitter. However, to me they serve two different groups of audience. I tweet about tasty foods, funny jokes or good podcasts on twitter. On the other hand, when I want to talk about more private stuff such as work and family I write them on Facebook status updates.

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