Figuring Out the Basics of Twitter

Twitter is fundamentally an asynchronous communication platform that drew inspiration from SMS (short message service, or texting) and Facebook when it was first designed. It allows you to publish 140-character tweets (not one character more than that) and view tweets from other users of Twitter. To view someone else’s tweets in your feed, you simply have to follow them. In a direct contrast to Facebook friending, when you follow someone on Twitter, they’re not automatically made to reciprocate in return.

A second important contrast to Facebook is that on Twitter, your account is automatically set to public viewing by default. This means that anybody can view a tweet that you publish. This differs from Facebook, where posts by most people are private and viewable only by their friends. On Twitter, you can choose to make your account private, but most people don’t. As a result, tweets by the 100 million Twitter users around the world serve as a treasure trove for academics and marketers who want to learn how people talk online and what they talk about.

Following are some of the activities you can engage in on Twitter:

check.png Mentions: As a user on Twitter, you can publish tweets as soon as you’ve signed up. Just enter your tweet in the message box, and you’re on your way. To draw attention to another user, you can mention their account in your tweet by ...

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