Confused by even the most basic Twitter terms? Me, too -- and I've been using Twitter for five years. Twitter Help was only of modest help. This article took several hours to piece together. Comments and corrections appreciated. Also, the end of the article includes links to sources I used.
Home timeline (Little birdhouse icon in image at top of this blog post)
Twitter inbox. (First thing most people see when they sign in to Twitter.)
- Tweets from people you follow.
- Mentions of people you are following.
- Mentions of you from people you are following.
(see image below)
- "Interactions," all of your activities, including Tweets you favorited, plus any mentions of your Twitter handle. (see Mentions below)
- "Mentions": Mentions of your Twitter name and replies to any of your Tweets. I have this set up so that any Mentions of me on Twitter are forwarded to my e-mail inbox
Me (Little icon of a person's head and shoulders)
(see image below)
- Your profile page, which includes your bio, photo, and list of any Tweets you've sent. (your Twitter sent or outbox)
- Generally, anyone who looks at your profile can see Tweets you've sent.
Note: be sure to fill out your profile with a professional-looking photo and descriptive words and phrases about your writing and topics of interest.
Putting it All Together
- In the "Compose a new Tweet box," you include a description of something you wrote with a link to it, and then click Tweet to send it.
- A copy of the Tweet is stored on your Profile page and Home timeline.
- The Tweet appears in the Home timeline of anyone who is following you.
- A Tweet that mentions another person's Twitter name, preceded by the "@" symbol.
- For example, You might create a Tweet about this blog post that mentions my Twitter name, rsquaredd:
Hey, @rsquaredd, great post about Twitter! Can I send you some money?
- A copy of the Mention is stored on your profile page. Anyone looking at your profile can see this.
- The person you mentioned (rsquaredd) will see this Tweet under their @Connect tab, in their Interactions and Mentions. Depending on how they configured Twitter, a copy may also be sent to their e-mail inbox.
- If the person you mentioned is following you, the mention will also appear in their Home timeline.
- Anyone following you (the sender), will see the mention on their Home timeline.
- You receive a Tweet and click the "Reply" command under it.
- This creates a Tweet that begins with the sender's Twitter name. For example, if I sent you a Tweet linking to this blog post, you might click the reply command and write:
@rsquaredd Great post! Can I send you a check for all your hard work?
- As with a normal tweet, a copy of your reply is stored on your profile page.
- The recipient, @rsquaredd, would see this in Interactions and Mentions. If they are following you, they will see it in their Home timeline and possibly their e-mail inbox.
- Anyone following both the BOTH the sender (you) and the recipient (rsquaredd) will also see this in their Home timeline.
Tweets that Begin with Someone's Twitter Name
- If you visit someone's Twitter page, whether you follow them or not, you will see a little box that says, "Tweet to…", the @ sign and their Twitter name.
- If you write something in this box, it will behave similar to Replies above. (The recipient would see it in his Interactions and Mentions.)
- A great way to connect with someone who is not following you, such as big shots who normally wouldn't give you time of day, much less their e-mail address.
- When see a Tweet from someone else -- whether you follow them or not -- you have the option to Retweet it to your followers. (Hover your cursor over the Tweet and you're see the Retweet option)
- The Retweet appears in your follower's Timelines, like a normal Tweet you created.
- If you Retweet something from one of your followers, say, a Tweet you saw in your Home timeline, a copy will be saved in your Profile.
- If you Retweet something from someone you are not following -- say, you were perusing Big Shot Author's profile and saw something your followers might like -- a copy will be saved in your Home timeline and your Profile.
Advanced Tip: .@
- As noted above, if you send a Tweet that includes someone's name, preceded by the @ sign (@rsquaredd), they will see the message in their Interactions and Mentions. People who follow both of you will see this message in their timelines.
- Using .@ instead of just @ before the name means that all of your followers will see this post in their timelines.
- Impractical use for .@ Say, Mr. Big Shot Author tells you not to contact him again? You could respond to him using .@ and all of your followers would see your response and know what a bastard he is.
How to Use This Stuff to Brown-Nose and Stalk People
- Offer shout outs to people you don't know by including their Twittter handle in your Tweets. This includes Big Shot Authors and other people with some juice who may be able to help you out in the future.
- Retweet posts from people you want to butter up (whether you follow them or not).
- Some experts say you should be posting seven posts promoting other people's content for every post that promote's your own. (Not sure where the "seven" came from, but you get the idea -- promote others and maybe they'll promote you.
- Don't be afraid to ask someone with whom you have Twitter rapport to Retweet your stuff. (Don't over do it!)
- For other tips, see my recent Twitter post with Twitter Tips for Writers