Twitter – when & what to tweet

What is Twitter?

Twitter is an application to send messages of 140 characters. A message is called a Tweet. Twitter started in 2006. The total number of active users (at least one message per month) is more than 250 million.
Although Tweets are basically text messages you can add photos, videos and links.
The Twitter logo is easily recognizable:
Twitter logo

Getting started with Twitter

First things first, you need an account: Signup for Twitter.
The user name is the account name, the one that is used to refer to your postings. It identifies you on Twitter. No spaces are allowed.
The name is a more description one, on various places it is shown behind your user name. You can use you real name for it. Spaces are allowed.

Publishing or reading Tweets

Once you Tweet, it is publicly posted on your Twitter profile. In addition, people can follow your stream of Tweets called a timeline so that they automatically appear in their own timelines.
Every Twitter users has a timeline which is basically an overview of the Tweets of all the Twitter users they follow. They are placed in order of date & time with the newest on top. When you follow a lot of other Twitter users or if they post a lot of Tweets this overview becomes overwhelming. Sort and search functions can help. Special programs deliver various functions that help you organize the Tweets.

Important keywords in Twitter


A hashtag is a word (or combination of words without spaces) with a # Before it. Like #halloween. The purpose of a hashtag is to find subjects in the enormous amount of Tweets that are published. This is used often for events or topics that get of lot of attention. The latter are called trending topics.

Trending topic

Topics that people talk a lot about, at that moment. There are lists with these trending topics. Even per country and per city. Newspapers like to quote them in columns like "What is trending?". Topics often concern sport events, artists, new movies, politics and rumors.

@ followed by a username

To refer to a twitter user that users name preceded by a @ is used. Searching for Tweets of a specific user is also possible in this way.

Twitter stream

Your timeline built with your messages.

Retweet (RT)

Resending a posting of someone else (a kind of "like" or "me too"). I can also be used just to refer to a message, with or without your comment to it.
A message that is retweeted by you becomes part of your Twitter stream.


These are the people that subscribed to your account in order to read your postings.
Note that a lot of people subscribe to others because they hope that you'll follow them likewise. It used to be polite, or the right thing to do in the past.  

Do's & don'ts

Tweets on websites

It is easy to show your postings on your website as well. After adding some code the website displays your latest Tweets. These messages are shown in a list, often at the right side of the screen. It gives the visitor of the website the idea that 'there is something going on'. Website owners like it because they can use their Tweets to 'update' the website automatically. To give the website visitors a good impression the Tweets have to be current and relevant.
Tweets on your website can give the impression that the company is hip and 'on the move'.

Statistics about Twitter, Tweets and Trending Topics

Statistics about Twitter are used more every day. When certain topics get a lot of postings conclusions are drawn that these topics are important. Newspaper and online columns are filled with these (trending) topics because the postings are about popular contents, and columns can be easily produced.
As is often the case, statistics can be misinterpreted or can be manipulated to shown what you want to prove. When a small group of people write a lot of messages about something than that's different than if a large group is writing one or two Tweets.
But social media are hot so an article about a trending topic is news in itself. So the same applies to topics that are popular on Facebook, Google+, Instagram or other networks.

Reasons to Twitter

Comparing Tweets with newsletters
what to use to create business and profit

Webcare - customer service

Companies noticed that complaints from their customers sometimes got a lot of attention. People like to retweet such problems. This can lead to bad publicity.
A way out of this is the forming of webcare teams and webcare Twitter accounts. Essentially it is just a form of customer support. Support can be delivered via telephone or e-mail but when it's done via Twitter it is 'cool'.

Send your newsletters with: