Twitter is a social network. On twitter people post short <140 character messages called tweets. The difference between twitter and facebook is that tweets are generally available for everyone to search on so it’s not as egocentric as facebook.
Even though tweets are public, most people follow others on twitter (people who follow are called tweeps). This means they get a quick view in their timeline of what tweeters they’re following are saying.
- Timeline – shows what tweeters you are following are saying
- @mentions – see who mentioned you
- Retweets – see what others in your network have retweeted
- Favourite – save your favourite tweets
- Save searches – Keep an eye on your favourite topics
- Twitter Lists – Group users together to watch them
- Trends – Shows what’s currently popular
What are the #tags on Twitter?
On Twitter people can search and tweet based on the concept of #tags, where words that are commonly searched are simply preceded with a #. It is an unofficial symbol, i.e. not invented by twitter but it has become very very useful. As all tweets are public (on public accounts), #tags are used to give a topic an id e.g. #eurovision. Anytime anyone posts with this word included it can be seen in real-time by people who search for it. This is very useful for media / news companies. For example, in Ireland TV stations such as TV3 use the #tv3 tag, so if anyone posts a message containing this tag, their researchers can find it instantly during a live program.
The genius of twitter is its simplicity.