When we left off in Part I of this series, we had created a twitter account and posted a first tweet (or two). I told you that I knew you would have questions and that I would try to anticipate and answer a few of those. The information below will apply regardless of whether you are an individual or a band, artist, or company. I will get into Band Specifics pretty quickly.
Basic Twitter Conventions
What’s a “handle”? Just like on the CB radio (yes, I use one, and love it) your handle is your name.
Why the @ (at-sign)?
This is how you will distinguish that you are talking to, or about someone in particular, such as @MidTnMusic . Hover over a tweet, and below it, options will appear. If you “reply”, the @ will be included before the handle of the user you are replying to. This is called an @mention (at mention) or “MT”.
The “arroba” (arobasse in French), or @, has been used to indicate a digital address of sorts since 1972, when Ray Tomlinson sent the first electronic message, using a Model 33 Teletype device.
What’s with the # sign, everywhere?
The “octothorpe” is used to “tag” a word or phrase, just like a tag in a blog or website. On social networking sites such as Twitter, it’s attached to keywords or phrases so as to identify messages on a particular topic (e.g. #volcano; #Iceland). These keywords or phrases are known as hashtags. They have multiple uses, but the main function is to bring attention to a subject, and to mark a tweet as relevant to a subject (this becomes important when people are searching for a subject).
RT, rt, re-tweet, retweet: When you hover over a tweet, you will see the option to “re-tweet” it. This is a lot better than the old whispering “pass it on” game in the sense that things don’t get mixed up, the message stays the same. This is a great way to show someone you value their tweets.
Follow: Want to see a person’s tweets in your timeline? Follow them. If they “follow you back”, you are considered friends. Even if they don’t follow you, it doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention, and you can still talk to them with an @mention.
DM ( Direct Message): As the name implies, this message goes directly to the person named. Use it for private conversation. Don’t use it for spam! The one important caveat to using the DM is that the recipient must be following you, or the message won’t be received.
If you know more terms that people should be familiar with, please share them in the comments.
#FollowFriday and other Twitter essentials
You’ll need some basic awareness of Twitter conventions and accepted practices. There are a bunch of birds in this tree, and it helps if you can whistle the tune. Let’s look at a few cues:
#Shoutout: a quick way of saying “Hello” to someone, or a few someones all at once. Your “shoutout” may or may not come with a hashtag. It seems to me that those who want to make it personal leave the hashtag off. You are not necessarily expected to return the shoutout, but it is good practice to let someone know you got and appreciate it.
#MusicMonday:began as a way to share music on Mondays in particular. It has morphed over time and now is also used to bring attention to musicians as well as songs.
#FollowFriday, #FF, #FollowAnyotherday: Follow Friday started up a couple years ago. It is a simple method of recommending certain tweeters to the rest of your friends. It has expanded and you may see a #Follow on any day of the week.
#Followback: Usually a request to follow someone who has followed you.
#Twitterjail: let’s just say that if you wind up here, you need to slow down. It’ll take an hour or so to get out and be able to tweet again. Your friends can help, by tweeting things such as “let @MidTnMusic out of #twitterjail, please.”
Limits: The first you will come across is the one that lands you in twitter jail. The next is a limit on the number of people you can follow. From the outset, you are limited to following 2.000 other birdies. This limit can be lifted by increasing your number of followers beyond 2,000 to an unspecified ratio. Follows are valuable, many who follow you will un-follow if you don’t reciprocate.
Do you have more hashtag tips? Leave a comment and let us know.
Don’t get your feathers ruffled
There is a whole nest cracked eggs here, and some will try to bring you down. If you receive tweets designed to anger you, hold your beak. It’s easy to get trolled into a shouting match, but twitter has an easier way to help you say, “take a flying flip”. All you have to do is hit the “Unfollow” button, and if things are really bad, use the ever -present “Block” feature. While the recipient of a “Block” is not informed, they will definitely get the message.
You won’t be attractive to many people if you spout profanity and talk trash, so keep a curb on it. There are plenty of folks talking nastiness, leave that for them, unless you’re Really good at it. Remember, as a musician, you want to be taken seriously for your work, and respected for being the person you are. Promoting a Jazz ensemble for weddings probably won’t work too well if you are tweeting profanity, and absurd links. It might if you are a hard-core rapper. Who is your audience?
Just like stopping at the Wal-Mart for a gallon of milk and some new socks, you will see folks from all over town, and even if they are not your favorite folks, you should still offer a smile and cheerful hello. Starting a fist-fight doesn’t do anyone any good.
How do You handle negative tweeters?
Next news from the Nest
You should now have a basic understanding of the first things you will come across on the limbs of this big tree, and enough to figure out the rest. In my next article, we’ll look at etiquette a bit more closely, you may even get a “do and don’t” list.
If you know someone who may be helped by this post, please share it, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Want to keep up with the whole series without remembering URLs? Join the mailing list or hit the RSS button.
If you would like to share your social wisdom in a post on Mid-Tenn, contact JediBret, and we’ll make it possible.