For someone who’s new to Twitter, understanding all the different types of posts you can make can be quite confusing. There’s not only a lot of different kinds of posts, but a lot of different kinds of terminology.
In order to use Twitter well, you need to be able to navigate the Twitter world and all its complexities. Being able to make all the different kinds of posts that Twitter users make is an essential part of that.
Here are all the different kinds of posts you can make on Twitter, along with descriptions of the different kinds of terminologies that apply to those posts.
Step 1: Replies
When someone posts something that you want to respond to, you can do so with a reply. This is also known as an @reply.
@replies are visible not only to the person you’re replying to, but anyone who’s following you and anyone who looks at your Twitter feed. In other words, @replies are public.
The easiest way to reply to a tweet is to hit the “reply” button.
You can also reply to someone by typing @theirname and replying to their message.
Step 2: Mentions and @Mentions
A mention, also known as an @mention, is any text that has someone’s name followed by an @ sign in the tweet. An @reply is a type of mention. However, a mention doesn’t have to be in response to a tweet.
Twitter (and other Twitter tools) has a special tab where you can view all your mentions. This makes it easy to see all the messages people are directing at you.
Step 3: Retweets
A retweet, also known as an RT is when you take someone else’s tweet and re-message it out to your own network.
Retweeting is seen as a form of appreciation on Twitter. Retweeting someone’s message is a good way to show you like their content and to begin building a relationship with them.
Note that you can’t change any of the text on a retweet. It has to be retweeted as is. You’ll get to see a preview of a retweet before you send it out.
To retweet a post, click the “Retweet” button below the post.
Alternatively, people often choose to do a retweet manually. Doing this allows you to change the text of the retweet. Just copy and paste the retweet text into your tweet box and hit “Tweet.”
Another common tactic is to add “RT @name” to the beginning of the retweet. That way, the retweet also becomes a mention and will show up in the author’s mentions tab. If you want to retweet a message and make sure the author knows that you retweeted their message, this is a good way to do it.
Step 4: Uploading Photos
Uploading photos on Twitter is simple. Just click the photo icon under the tweet box.
Any images you add to Twitter will automatically be converted into a link. People who want to view the photo need to click on the link to view the photo.
Step 5: Hashtags
Hashtags are the standard way of using Twitter to discuss a specific topic. For example, if you were talking about the SXSW convention, you’d use hashtags like #SXSW. Users who’re interested in the same topic can search for that hashtag and see what others are saying about the topic.
Often time’s hashtags are used to create live chats. For example, if you’re at a live concert that has a hashtag (say #concert2012,) you can use that hashtag to see what everyone else around you is saying in real time. These hashtag based chats are often called hashchats.
Posting a response to popular hashtags is a great way to get traffic to your website. A lot of people will be searching for those hashtags, so you’re guaranteed to get a lot of exposure.
Twitter by default gives you the top 10 hashtags that are trending worldwide. To get more detailed information on what tags are trending, use “What the Trend” (http://www.thashtag.com.)
What the trend allows you to see a lot more than just the top ten trending tweets. You can also sort trends by country. If you’re just targeting the United States or Canada for example, you can see only the trending hashtags in those countries.
Step 6: Direct Messages
Direct messages are private messages sent to someone who’s following you. Unlike @replies, direct messages cannot be viewed by anyone but the recipient. You can’t send messages to people you follow unless they’re also following you. Direct messages are known as “DMs” or “DM” for short.
To send a DM, click on “Send a Direct Message” next to someone’s profile.
Enter the message you want to send them and hit “Send Message.”
These are all the different types of messages on Twitter. You now know how to use @replies, @mentions, retweets, photos, hashtags and direct messages.