Twitter 101

Twitter 101

May 27, 2015


Twitter has similarities to other tools. It is like email, but more like email to the whole world, rather than a single person (although direct communication is possible).

It is like a search engine, but geared more for searching a realtime stream of tweets rather than webpage content. It is like a bookmark sharing service, but one URL at a time. It is like a social media platform, but restricted to micro-blogging rather than building a personal portfolio of media.

Download the “USNH Twitter Basics” PDF Guide: TwitterGuide.pdf

Here is a short summary of what Twitter does and how it does it:

  • Twitter is free.
  • Tweets are published by Twitter users with the intent to share information with others. It is mostly a one-way communication experience, but it is possible to reply to a specific Twitter account/user.
  • A Tweet is limited to 140 characters or less, and can include attached images and URLs to other resources.
  • Tweets often include a hashtag so that it can be found by someone interested in the topic of the tweet. Tweets can have multiple hashtags. A hashtag looks like this: #usnhshare.
  • Tweets are available to anyone in the world who happens to be “listening”. Listening is facilitated by filtyering tweets based on a hashtag, or by following specific accounts.
  • Listening to a Twitter stream with a hashtag involves using Twitter’s search box and typing in a search term. Tweets that include the desired hashtag will appear in a list. For example, when you type in #usnhshare into the search box, you will discover Tweets from the past 6 months that included that hashtag term in it.
  • Users can make up any hashtag they want. There is no such thing as permanent static list of hashtags that you need to locate in order to tweet. However, there are certain hashtags that have been so well established that communities of practice (and the public) maintain the use of specific hashtags as a standard practice.
  • Twitter users can follow the tweets published by any other Twitter user. Following prominent persons on Twitter is a popular way to keep up on current thought, publications, and events.

You can monitor tweet traffic using Twitter’s built-in search box, or by using other applications like or TweetDeck. These dashboards give you a more user-friendly way of monitoring twitter traffic for ongoing events, like a conference. 

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