A friend who just joined Twitter asked me for clarifications on standard Twitter functions. She wishes to grasp the subtleties between the commands.
Note that a Twitter user is called a Tweeter or a Twitterer. Tweeple refers to Twitter people, Twitter members or the Twitter users viewed as a group.
You reply to another Tweeter by answering to one of its tweets (messages of up to 140 characters). This is also how you engage in a conversation with someone. When you wish to reply to someone you either use the reply link or you can type @ before their Twitter user name.
Note that replies are public message (can be seen by everyone).
Direct Message d
This is a message that only the recipient will be able to see. It is also subject to the 140-character limit. Either use the direct message link via the interface or type d followed by a space in front of the user name at the start of your message. For example:
d kimvallee How are you doing?
You republished the tweet of someone else. The text is identical in a retweet. There are Twitter applications, like Tweetdeck that incorporate a retweet button that will automatically fill out the (up to) 140-character message for you. RT identifies a retweet
Hash tags #
These were invented by users as a quick way to follow all conversations surrounding an event, a topic or a brand. You add a hash tag simply by prefixing a keyword with a hash symbol: #keyword. Hashtag.org tracks the conversation for you. Follow hashtags on Twitter so they can track you.
With the advent of a Twitter search function, you can simply do a search on #keyword. I find that it works better since not everyone follows hashtags on Twitter.
Get a desktop applications for Twitter
Several client applications are available for free. Twitter applications adds functions that simplify the use of Twitter and better engage in conversations. I used Twirl on my laptop. Now I am giving a try to Tweetdeck.
The biggest advantage of Tweetdeck over Twirl is the ability to organize in groups the Tweeple you follow. For example, I create a group of my favorite Tweeters to make sure I do not miss what they have to say. What is bothering me about Tweetdeck is the extra huge interface; it requires almost a full screen. The interface of Twirl requires little real estate on your screen. I will see if I can adapt.
In case you wish to follow me on Twitter.