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Are You Twitter Savvy?

A couple of things puzzle my wife. Twitter is one of them. Also is my fascination with the show, 'How it's Made' - I have been unsuccessful trying to get her on board. Okay, I'm not trying to get carried away here. But back onto Twitter, many people seem to have a problem understanding how it works.

Few years ago, we had only one source of 'Breaking News' - the media houses. That was of course before Facebook and Twitter. Today if something major has just happened, you don't need to hear it on radio or watch it on TV. More often than not you'll know about it, even before it gets to the media house. That is the power of social media.

When you hear the phrase Social Media, what comes to mind is probably first Facebook, then Twitter. Others are Instagram, Linkedin, Google plus, Pinterest and others. Everyone knows Facebook, from school kids, to the older, from the learned to the unlearned.

Pardon me for I got a bit carried away. The purpose of the post was not to talk about social media's negative energy. All I wanted to discuss, is one service called Twitter. What is Twitter, who is a tweep, or what is a hashtag, or a retweet?

Knowledge is good, little knowledge can be costly. How does this apply to Twitter? Anthony Weiner, an American prominent person, found himself in a predicament that did a massive blow to his career and family. He allegedly sent an explicit photo to a woman, or so he thought; as it turned out, he actually sent it to the whole world! I'll not get into the moral or integrity question around the incident. The point is, a mistake in use of Twitter helped him expose himself - quite literally.

I'm not supposing that you will use Twitter for controversial means; but giving you a few tips might help you take advantage of the service. One of the easiest ways to receive news the fastest, is not Facebook. From my experience, it's Twitter. Most times, the easiest way to know the traffic situation, is again Twitter. You can express yourself faster on Twitter, and reach more people way faster, on Twitter. To help understand it better, let us define some terms:

1. A Twitter Handle, is the symbol @, followed by the name of somebody's twitter account. For instance, if my Twitter page is https://twitter.com/samwaithaka, my twitter account name is samwaithaka, and my twitter handle is @samwaithaka
2. Followers - in Facebook we have friends. In twitter you have followers - or tweeps! The difference is that, we don't have to be mutual followers, the way we have mutual friends. You can follow whoever you want, and anyone can follow you. However it's polite to follow someone once they start following you.
3. A Tweet, is a short message on Twitter, it's made up of 140 characters or less. Your tweet is seen by all your followers, and also the public when they view your twitter page.
4. Hashtag: this must be the most common feature in twitter. A hashtag is a symbol #, followed by a word or phrase, that identifies a tweet with a particular theme. For instance, if you're tweeting about a Premier League Cup match, you can accompany your tweet with this hashtag at the end: #PremierLeagueCup - notice use of upper case, no spaces.
5. Retweet: if you read someone else's tweet and you like it, you can retweet by hitting Retweet button - same as share in Facebook. You can also like or comment on a tweet.
6. Via: you can copy-paste someone else's tweet, but to show that it didn't originate from you, you put via followed by the person's twitter handle, for example, via @samwaithaka. It means that the tweet originated from samwaithaka
7. Trending: twitter publishes the most popular hashtags and phrases. This refers to the phrases that people are tweeting about the most. This is on the left of the screen, with heading Trends for you. When you click on it, it will show all the tweets that have used the phrase or hashtag. So, using a hashtag in your tweets makes it easier for your tweet to be easily discovered; but it also helps people know the context of your tweet.
8. Direct message: if someone is following you, you can send them a private message - only them can see it. You do that by going to that person's twitter page, and selecting the button Message
9. Tweet to: you can tweet to somebody; this means that the twitter will be published on the person's page, and it will also be visible to the public. Someone doesn't have to follow you. You can do this by either, going to the person's twitter page, and selecting the button Tweet to. You can also tweet from your profile, but insert the person's tweeter handle in your message.

I hope this has helped shed some light to someone. Signing up on on twitter is pretty simple, just go to https://twitter.com, the rest is straight-forward. You can then come back and follow me :-) Here is my Twitter page: https://twitter.com/samwaithaka. See you my tweeps!

PS: You can link your Twitter account to Facebook. This will automatically publish your tweets to Facebook. To read more on this, follow this link: https://support.twitter.com/articles/31113#

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