Follow Our Tweets: Crash Course in Twitter

Real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now.

With regular site updates on Twitter, we are no longer a tough act to follow @ClinicalPosters.

SOCIAL MEDIA Since its inception in 2006, Twitter has been hailed by users even without a compelling description of what it is. Perhaps you've heard someone say, "You can send email (or instant messages) to many people at the same time." The founders initially described it this way: "a short burst of inconsequential information," and "chirps from birds." [1] Now it is explained on their website even more poetically: "Twitter is a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what’s happening now." [2]

Though much of the content from private individuals can be "inconsequential," business Twitter accounts are likened to instant updates. More concisely, it's a free microblog. Those on the outside looking in may criticize its relevance but they cannot deny its popularity. Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009. [3] In April of 2010, Twitter reported 100 million users! [4] Exponential annual growth is mind boggling.

What is a tweet?

It is logical to reason that if you have a website, a blog, mailing list and phone, you can communicate with everyone perfectly well. Now imagine combining all four into a compact messaging format that is fast and easy to use. That's a tweet! One of the features of the recent site design is that visitors have the ability to tweet a page [or tweet a blog comment on a page]. The notion is quite foreign to someone without a Twitter account. Now ClinicalPosters.com can tweet pages and more!

Learning the lingo

A tweet is a message with less than 140 characters or about 28 words that is sent to the author's Twitter account. Other Twitter users can subscribe to multiple accounts to receive messages in their queue. They then become listed as followers (or follows). Subscriptions are not permanent and can be disabled at anytime by the follower.

Users often respond to a tweet by identifying the original username preceded by RT and an @ symbol. This is called a retweet (RT). Because of the limited amount of space the 2-letter abbreviation is used. Reference to a Twitter account as @ClinicalPosters means you can find that user's tweets by typing into a Web browser twitter.com followed by the username:

This will get you started but there are a few more terms to learn: hashtag, direct message (DM), tweetup, tweep and shortened URLs. Take a crash course at Twitter 101. [5]

How is Twitter helpful for business?

Tip: Add selective capitalization to username after account is established. Prior tweets are updated.

Companies (or individuals) can establish private Twitter accounts to exchange information with valued customers or broadcast periodic department updates. [6] At ClinicalPosters.com, there is constant work going on behind the scenes to improve visitors' browsing experience. This may include anything from better navigation links to new pages or products. Many of these changes can go unnoticed at first glance. However, people who follow our tweets can find out pretty quickly — with a mobile phone alert or by checking the bookmarked Twitter website. Here is a list of just some of the items we have been tweeting:

  • Additions to the Noteworthy News blog
  • Dates for most upcoming conferences
  • Weekly specials and discounts
  • Backordered item status
  • Comments on news from other sites or Twitter users

Take a few seconds to join. Then follow us on Twitter. It's informative and fun!

Tags: business contacts, customer service, public relations, social networking

References
  1. Twitter, Wikipedia
  2. Twitter.com, About page
  3. Learn the Lingo, Twitter 101
  4. Twitter snags over 100 million users, eyes money-making, The Economic Times
  5. Twitter’s Tweet Smell of Success, NielsenWire.com
  6. How Businesses Use Twitter, Twitter.com