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#GivingTuesday: Twitter Basics


If you are new to Twitter and are considering creating an account for #GivingTuesday here are a few tips to help you get started. Let’s start with the basics – what is Twitter and why should you bother with it?

Twitter is a social media platform that connects all kinds of people around the globe through shared interests and ideas. Here’s a quick breakdown of common lingo.

Tweet: A 140 character message

Currently, links take up 23 characters regardless of the actual link length. Images use 22 characters. Thus, text in a tweet with both an image and a link can’t exceed 95 characters. Twitter announced that significant changes will be coming to the social media platform over the next few months, but as of this blog post those updates have not been implemented.

Retweet (RT): Sharing a tweet that someone else has posted.

Feed: The live stream of tweets on your homepage. It is comprised of updates from users that you follow.

Handles: Your username

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Direct Message (DM): A private, 140 character message sent between two people. You must “accept” a DM in order to read it and you can only DM users that you follow. 

Hashtag (#): A way to denote a topic of conversation or participate in a larger linked discussion (i.e. #GivingTuesday). A hashtag is a discovery tool that lets you search and participate in conversations that you are interested in. As diverse as our interests, hashtags can be anything under the sun and range from #TheBachelor to #POTUS.

In addition to these terms, a full Twitter glossary is available on the platform’s website.

Unrelated side note: One of my favorite podcasts, 99% Invisible, did an episode about the history of the hashtag that you should check out. Turns out, the symbol is actually called an octothorpe. Who knew? (Hi, Roman!)

Related Resources 

The 2016 Definitive #GivingTuesday Resource Guide 

Topics: Social Media