By Toneo Tonderai Rutsito
8 Years ago the world of micro blogging saw the advent of a new social networking phenomenon, which to date only a handful of Zimbabweans have already jumped on the bandwagon.
Formed In March by 2006 Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Noah Glass the company has completely revolutionised micro blogging getting all the attention from, presidents, governments, famous individuals to the ordinary man on the street.
In my short definition, Twitter is a real time social networking platform that connects the world by sharing short messages of maximum 140 characters per every single post including pictures, which Is also called a tweet.
Twitter can also be loosely defined as the place to find new friends, listen to progressive feeds or tweets and discover new opportunities by simply following people.
Depending with what one wants to achieve, Twitter can be set to hide posts only to be viewed by a private group people you have authorised, of course this by any means is the worst way possible to learn Twitter inasmuch as it makes the Twitter experience boring.
Create Your Handle
So the first thing you need to do when you log on to the twitter.com website is to sign up and the golden rule here is to sign up using your real name (Company/Individual) so that atleast your old friends can search for you, then you can use your own pseudo for identification, popularly termed handle
Handle names is a certain name that you can use to trend on twitter, for companies you can change this as many times as you want to boost a certain promotion, @Telecel_Zim is one such organisation which has been fully utilisizing this flexibility.
This however does not mean that your registered name changes, making it possible for people to keep searching for you using the same old name. Your handle name. should sell your purpose on twitter or plainly describe you.
Simply put your handle is that name that comes after @symbol, so when someone asks you for your handle, just be cool and say its @xyz, alternatively tell your friends your username or send them the direct link to your Twitter page via the actual twitter identification page which shows when you click the home button, for example twitter link is https.twitter.com/toneo1st
After logging on to twitter, before anyone notices, quickly remove those default eggs profile pictures, choose your best shot that says it all. For corporates the best profile picture to start up with is your logo then customize your page with a cool colour theme, background picture plus header image.
Using default egg pictures and no background is good as telling the whole world that you are just but an amateur seeking undeserved attention.
Of course you should fill up that short biography, this the place where everyone who cares would read to know more about you, whether the information is precise or incorrect, do not commit the sin of leaving the space empty.
Start by following
You are now ready to get some recognition on Twitter, here your first most important move, follow people or organisations of common interest. For corporate accounts under any circumstance it is not advisable to follow individuals but companies of interest unless these are outstanding individuals of corporate interest.
Who you follow says more about you or your brand more than what you really tweet. When you follow someone, you are simply recommending that person or company, so yes be careful whom you follow, it speaks volumes on you too.
Besides the principle, when you follow people on twitter, you are also poking them for attention, this is the well-known secret to get more followers too, you can get back half of people you are following if you have a well presented biography plus tweets to attract attention.
In Zimbabwe, @Sirnige has used this simple rule to get very popular and has backed it up with good content to grow his followers.
Your First Tweet
My first ever tweet maybe every techie`s guess, the two sweet Introductory words for newbies to a digital world…”Hello world”. This of course like any other mistakes we all make on Twitter was just another one I made.
When you tweet without followers, you are good as someone preaching to an empty room, no one is listening, let alone is around to even listen so slow down on those tweets and try to get a crowd to speak to atleast.
Understanding The Game of Numbers
By design Twitter is all about who is following you more than who are you following. This however makes it an impossible area for most people to trend and I have heard many people complain that they are not celebs so they can’t get anyone to follow them.
This is however not true since most people will follow you for relevance not your public position. If you continuously post sensible tweets, engage others or ask questions from other prominent twitters then they will definitely respond to you or RT helping you account viral too.
Engage with mentions
First start a conversation with someone by sending a direct Tweet with @username at the beginning of your post, or by simply sending a Direct command when you enter d @username message
This gets the attention of the person via an SMS alert if he/she is on the mobile platform or when he checks for mentions. These messages are however also in the public domain, anyone can see them and you can only send private messages to people who are following you. This is one way to attract attention, tell them what you like about their tweets or simply ask some very good questions, they will respond and get you rolling.
Suppose you are launching a #Groundbreaking product, talking about #GoWarriors maybe sharing on the current #Gumbura trial, simply put the Hash symbol before the word and Twitter will highlight that word for you, anyone else who may not be even following you can simply search the hashtag from various people trending on the topic and get diret feeds.
ReTweet or RT
ReTweet is when someone amplifies your message by posting it to his own followers, on Facebook this is equivalent to a share, when your tweets are ReTweeted, you are bound to go viral.
Start by ReTweeting other people`s tweets, chances are high they will RT your own tweets as well to their followers, slowly but surely you are gaining recognition.
Notably, Probably the worst move was when Twitter changed “RT” functionality, short – taking a tweet from one user and posting it yourself, automatically crediting the source, so that all of your followers can see the tweet. The original retweeting style would take a tweet and re-post it via your own account in the following format: ‘RT @(username of person who originally tweeted the tweet you’re retweeting):
(contents of tweet)’. The current system does away with this format, and instead directly re-posts the tweet, crediting the origin underneath. For example, ‘retweeted from @username’.
Trending Topics (TTs) –
.According to Twitter, When it first got started, “Trending Topics” were those which were most popular during the span of the entire previous week. But new, more advanced algorithms have now made it easier to detect recent trends, and cite the very latest most-talked-about subjects.
These days, the “Trending Topics” list contains things that thousands of people across the whole of Twitter are discussing at any one time. When you click on a Trending Topic in the list, it will bring up a range of tweets, mentioning each matter of interest, and for each Trending Topic there will be up to three ‘Top Tweets’ highlighted
Those are the tweets in each topic which have been retweeted more than 150 times. You can view a list of trends in your area in the right-hand column of the homepage.