Twitter Series Part I – What Is Twitter?

Twitter Series Part I – What Is Twitter?

By Ralf Skirr.

follow me on twitterTwitter is a new and really hot trend in the blogsphere and if you’re not part of it, you’re missing out.

Twitter has totally changed the way that people communicate online and it should be an indispensable part of your overall marketing plan for your web sites and blogs.

If you’re brand new to Twitter, or even if you’ve been around on the site for some time, you’ll find out in this Twitter article series how you can use it to create a whirlwind of traffic to your blog and open the doors to brand new subscribers.

So What Exactly is That  ‘Twitter’ Thingy?

First of all: Twitter is a free service available at If you haven’t been there before just follow the link to the main page and check it out.

Or see it in action on my personal account at:

But I still haven’t told you what it is or what it does…

Twitter has two main components. It is a combination of a blogging tool and a social networking site.

1. The Blogging Aspect of Twitter.

When creating an account you’ll get your own page at Twitter.

Here’s mine for example:

You can post messages to your twitter page just like you can post articles to a blog. Your messages are limited just to 140 characters, which is why some people call it a “microblogging” tool. You have to keep your messages brief and too the point.

Sometimes it’s a challenge to get the point across in the allotted space, but it also leaves room for a lot of creativity! Coming up with ways to say what you have to say in that small space is part of the fun of Twitter.

You’ll find out what to post to your Twitter page and how it helps your business in the upcoming articles in this Twitter series.

2. The Social Networking Aspect of Twitter.

Just like social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook, you can add “followers” (called ‘friends’ at the other sites) and follow other people as well.

They’ll receive your updates and you’ll receive theirs.

That’s why Twitter is a fantastic way to get more traffic to your blog and build a relationship with your readership. It can spread your message virally all over the web.

Let’s Look at How Twitter Gets Your Message Around.

There are a three different ways of posting on Twitter that you need to know about.

1) First, there’s a regular post.

When you type in a message to Twitter and hit “update” it will be viewable by all the people who are following you.

2) The next type of post is a reply.

When you type in a regular message, people may reply to your post.

You’ll see your user name with the symbol @ before it when someone replies to your message. You can respond to other people the same way. You simply type @ and then their user name directly after that.

Replies are viewable by everyone who is following you or the other person you are replying to.

Read that again: Replies are viewable by everyone who is following you or the other person you are replying to.

Can you see how powerful this is? You’re not only getting your message to your own subscribers (=followers), but to your subscriber’s subscribers as well.

3) Finally, there’ a direct message to individuals.

If you want to send a private message to someone that no one else can see, you can send a direct message. To do so, simply type the letters dm with the person’s user name.

You’ll receive messages from others on a special page of Twitter and be notified via e-mail when someone direct messages you.

The direct message is something that you won’t be using much for marketing; focus on posts and replies instead.

To summarize: Twitter let’s you post very short messages to your own Twitter micro-blog page and that message will be shown on your follower’s pages – and in case of replies on your follower’s followers pages as well.

It’s an easy and fast way to get your message in front of thousands of people.

Feel free to post your comments and questions below.

In the next part of the Twitter series I’ll talk about ‘4 Ways That Twitter Can Jumpstart Your Business’.

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Leave a comment
  1. Brenda Heisler January 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm #


    This article is so clear and well written. Twitter is not easy to describe. You did a great job!

    I’ve used Twitter for just a couple of weeks. I can see already that it’s a great business tool. It’s really amazing when you think of the power.

    I just started a blog called Wiser By The Wrinkle – (by line) A 50+ woman takes on technology. Don’t laugh. Well, ok – laugh!

    I’ve done a couple postings on Twitter. I’ve noticed my crowd is afraid to try it. I’ve got the Follow Me On Twitter button and want others to sign up. I keep telling them to give it a try. I think I’ll link them to this page for a better understand. It’s a good reference.

    Thanks again.
    Brenda Heisler

    • Ralf January 18, 2009 at 4:32 pm #

      Hi Brenda,

      thank you for the kind words.

      Of course I appreciate any link to my page. :)

      I will be posting a few videos about Twitter soon,
      that might help even more than the articles.

      P.S. The Twitter Button at your blog isn’t working, maybe check it out.