As we all know, Twitter has a 140 character limit. As a result of this, a microcosm of unspoken rules and etiquette has emerged on the platform, some that can confuse the best of us. Here are some great little tips and tricks to help you get the best out of Twitter:
There are two different types of retweet
There are two different types of retweet on Twitter. And brace yourself, because for a 1st time user it can be quite difficult to get your head around. The first one is the bog standard normal, vanilla retweet (which doesn’t have a proper name, but I would call it a ‘direct retweet’) which directly retweets a tweet and relays it to your followers without any other influence from you. Then there is a ‘RT and comment’ which is a ‘retweet’ (sort of) that has a further comment from the user. Somewhat crucially, a RT with comment is NOT counted towards a tweet’s retweet statistics, and is instead actually treated as an @reply. This can cause even further confusion as sometimes a RT with comment won’t actually have an extra comment on it. Sometimes they’ll have the letters RT on…sometimes they won’t.
And! A RT with comment can be directly retweeted too! Let’s not forget about that one.
‘MT’ means ‘Modified Tweet’
I have been on Twitter since 2007 and it took me an absolute age to find this out. A ‘modified tweet’, marked by MT is a commented retweet that has modified the original tweet slightly so that it can all fit within the character limit. This is considered good etiquette – especially by accounts with high amounts of followers
Use hashtags correctly
Hey look at this handy article I wrote about this very subject!
Reply to people
Back in the day, replying on Twitter didn’t used to be that important – as it wasn’t really considered the social network for conversations. But as it grew and grew it became more and more crucial to the network. Customers expect quick replies from brands and replying just generally (to people in your timeline) is a great way to virtually meet no people, engage in discussion and maybe get some new followers.
What a full stop at the start of a tweet means
Twitter on desktop (and the official mobile application) has a handy built in function where you won’t ever see anyones @replies on your timeline unless you also follow the person they’ve replied to (although you can still see the replies on their profile if you dig hard enough). However, this only works if the @reply is at the start of someone’s tweet. By putting a full stop there, you can stop this from happening. For example:
.@talkSPORTDrive from 4. Raheem Sterling is gonna be a 12-month headache for Liverpool. But isn’t Henderson more important? C’mon?!?!
— Danny Kelly (@dannykellywords) April 2, 2015
Danny Kelly here hasn’t replied to TalkSport Drive, he is just incorporating their name in his tweet. As a result it will be seen in everyone’s timeline.
Be careful about what you say
This sounds really silly, but you have to be extra careful with saying ANYTHING on Twitter. Except from direct messages ALL tweets are public and anyone can see them. As such, a slip up can go viral so insanely quickly that by the time you’ve realised and deleted it you’ve ruined everything; and you’re on the six o’clock news. Don’t believe me? Have a look at these.
How direct messages work
This is a very common question that I seem to get all the time. A direct message (DM) is simply a private tweet between two users that no one else can see. The two users must be following each other though, so don’t forget that bit, and there’s still a character limit of 140.