I Use Twitter, But How Do I Tweet?

Gina Erle
Published on March 15, 2016
By Gina Erle
You’ve probably seen in the news over the last few months, the issues Twitter has been having. Sinking stock prices, changes in leadership (hey, Jack Dorsey!) and its inability to attract new users have all plagued the 140-character social media channel. While Twitter has made adjustments (hey, Moments!), what they might want to do is rent a Twitter activated vending machine, take it to a large conference, and see what unfolds. The results might surprise them and give them a first hand look into one if the reasons they are struggling: Twitter users don’t know how to use Twitter.

Twitter social media icon button with distressed design.
We recently worked with a client to use a Twitter activated vending machine at a conference. The machine is like any other vending machine you’ve ever seen, but instead of inserting cash for a treat, users had to Tweet for a Treat. The machine prompted attendees to follow a specific set of steps in order for the machine to vend them a prize. They needed to compose a Tweet, mention the client and then use two different hashtags, one being the conference hashtag and the other being a unique hashtag generated by the machine. Once their Tweets went live, the machine vended them a prize. Simple, right? Not to some Twitter users.

While the machine was a hit in more ways than one, it did bring to our attention the lack of knowledge around Twitter and how it works. The most common thing heard from attendees was, “I have Twitter, but I never actually Tweet.” Most people who have Twitter simply like to use it as a news source. A place where they can scroll through their favorite news sites, to stay up to date on the latest stories. With only
320 million active users,  Twitter needs users to not just to peruse, they need them to engage and well…actually Tweet.

Since some attendees struggled with the very basic aspects of Twitter, we’ve put together a high level overview of Twitter basics:

How do I create a Tweet? Whether you’re on mobile or on the web, there should be an image that looks like pen quill (on the web it says “Tweet” next to the quill). You click that button and then you will be able to compose your Twitter masterpiece.

What can I include in my Tweet? You can include your location, up to four images, a video, hashtags, mentions, GIFs and polls!

What's a mention? A mention is how you talk to another user.  Use the @ symbol to tag another user by their username in your Tweet. For example: Hey, @LewisPulse (no space between the @ and the username) great blog! 

What's a hashtag? This is what you use to identify specific topic within your Tweet. Want to talk about an event like the Oscars? You can use the #Oscars to join the conversation. You can also search hashtags to see what other users are saying about the same topic.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in the hashbrown no filter scene. via BuzzFeed 

What’s a GIF? A GIF is a short, animated image. Twitter recently introduced a search for GIFs within the platform, so now all you have to do to include a GIF is to click on the GIF button and search to your hearts desire.

What’s the deal with the character limit. You can only use 140 characters when you Tweet, which means every letter you use is a character. Don’t forget: links, photos, videos, and clicks also take up characters.

What’s the difference between a direct message and a tweet? A Tweet is made public to the people who follow you. A direct message is a private conversation between you and another user. 

Still confused? We hope not! But if you are, please  let us know in the comments section below! Twitter also has some really great resources you can use to up your Twitter game. Happy Tweeting, can’t wait to see you go viral! 

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