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Tech Bytes - Twitter, Tweets, and Hashtags

By Mitchell Walbridge

Fri, Apr 5th, 2013
Posted in All Columnists

Twitter, Tweets, and Hashtags

Why would humans tweet? That’s a very good question, however when I use tweet here, the only bird reference associated would be Twitter’s logo. Note that a tweet is a short, 140-character message shared with your followers.

I created my Twitter account and sent my first tweet on July 6, 2009, and it stated “Watching TV.” Not very exciting or engaging, is it? Truth be told, I initially found no point to put such useless and meaningless information out for the world to read. This explains the two to even six-month hiatuses between my tweets. Time and again I bounced between giving Twitter another trial and quitting.

Finally, last winter, I was convinced that I needed to pick up my Twitter habits again. As more and more people began using Twitter in high school, I decided one more attempt wouldn’t kill me. By spring, I was tweeting almost daily, and this new concept was more enjoyable than when I first started about three years earlier.

Twitter is useful when used the right way. Yes, I believe there are guidelines that a person should follow when using Twitter. First, there should be a concept behind your tweets, and they shouldn’t be completely random. They should contain at least some interesting information. No one likes to read random sentences or words that you don’t even care about to begin with.

Next, no one likes to read constant tweets with a negative tone behind them, just like people don’t like being around a chronic complainer. In surveys consistent negative tweets is one of the leading reasons of why people unfollow individuals. So, if you’re looking to boost your following community, stick to a positive theme.

Twitter also gives users the opportunity to communicate messages directly to other users, note that they will appear to other people, however. Again, these are meant to be brief and to share a concept. Users may become irritated seeing two-way conversations that clog their Twitter feeds. As tempting as direct messaging may be, a way to restrain yourself is the “text message” test. If what you’re about to tweet to someone could be put in a text message, then maybe using your cellular device is the way to go.

Finally, another great concept is the hashtag. Hashtags are used to classify, categorize and in some ways, summarize what a tweet is about. Hashtags help the site determine what is trending, or popular, in a given area at a given time. Hashtags are easily identified by the number symbol (#) usually followed by a topic, theme, or category term. Hash tags should be used sparingly in most cases.

Twitter has become more popular in recent months, especially among the younger generations. In 2011 an average amount of 200 million tweets were sent per day. Calculated further, that is around 73 billion per year. This number has grown since then though. The Fillmore County Journal and its staff are dedicated to bringing you the news that matters in more than one form. You can follow me on Twitter, @Mitch_FCJNews, as well as our newspaper, @FillCoJournal, for news updates and information.

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