Twitter - The Basics

Twitter - The Basics

By Ryan Bates, iHire, LLC

Twitter is one of the largest and fastest growing social media networking sites. It is an online microblogging service that gives its users the ability to send and read “tweets,” which are messages limited to 140 characters.  Registered users can read and post tweets, but unregistered users can only read them.  Twitter has grown to 140 million users and about 100 million of those users log in at least once a month.

You may be wondering why you would use Twitter in your job search.  Twitter has several key advantages that can help you land your ideal job.  Twitter enables you to connect with a lot of industry professionals all over the country.  It allows you to get feedback or advice from career experts or industry leaders.  Also, through Twitter you can receive live job postings from exclusive companies posting on Twitter.  Twitter is a great way for you to tap into the hidden job market by identifying and communicating with inside contacts at your top companies.  If you have digital dirt on the internet, Twitter is one way to help you drown the dirt that might be out there about yourself.  It also provides you with up to the minute information on breaking news or company press releases.

I’ll walk you through how to set up a Twitter account so that you can get started.  First, go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup.  Enter your full name, email address, and a password. Click “Sign up for Twitter.”  On the next page, you can select a username (usernames are unique identifiers on Twitter) — type your own or choose one Twitter has suggested. Twitter will tell you if the username you want is available or not.  Double-check your name, email address, password, and username before clicking “Create My Account.” Twitter will then send a confirmation email to the address you entered, and all you have to do is click the link in that email to confirm your email address and account.  After that you are ready to log in and get started.

Twitter terminology can be quite confusing if you don’t know what it means, below I’ll explain the meaning behind the main Twitter terms used.

  • Tweet – This is used to describe a message that you post and send out to your followers.  As described above, the message you intend to send out must be no more than 140 characters in length.  You can also use this word as a verb, as in “Tweeting a message.”
  • Follower – A follower is a Twitter user who has chosen to follow you on Twitter so that they can see your posts and updates.  Remember, the more followers that you have equals a wider audience and greater reach.
  • Retweet – A retweet is when another user on Twitter decides to share your tweet with their followers.  Usually someone will retweet your original post if they think it is interesting or entertaining enough to share with others. 
  • Mention – There are two ways to communicate with other Twitter users.  The first way is to mention the user in your public post by including their user name.  For example, “@iHireJobCoach I agree with what you said about interview prep.”  By using their user name in this way it automatically puts this post in their @Mentions tab for them to see.
  • Direct Message – This is a tweet-like message that is limited to 140 characters and sent privately to the intended recipient.  Remember that you can only send a direct message to another Twitter user if they are following you.
  • Hashtag – This is a keyword or phrase that is preceded by a pound (#) sign.  For example, #resume or #JobSearchTips.  Anyone who clicks on a hashtag will be taken to a page that lists all tweets that have that hashtag present.  Hashtags are a way for you to make your post more visible to other Twitter users by making it searchable with common keywords (hashtags).
  • Unfollow – This is when a Twitter user decides to stop following you because they don’t want to be updated with your posts or tweets anymore. Some reasons for being unfollowed include poor Twitter etiquette, uninteresting posts, too much spamming, or too much “noise.”

Now that you understand how to set up a Twitter account and understand Twitter terminology you can start observing the interaction on Twitter.  My advice if you are uncomfortable posting tweets on Twitter is to follow other industry leaders and career experts so you can get the hang of how Twitter works.  You will find that Twitter is a great way to find out about breaking industry news as it is happening and interact with potential inside contacts at your top companies so you can tap into the hidden job market.  In my other article, “Using Twitter in Your Job Search,” I’ll teach you the best ways to use Twitter to find a job. 


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