Twitter for Beginners: From Hashtags to Followers


I’m going to give you the secret of Twitter, my friends.

Are you ready for it?

Are you sure you can handle it?


The secret to Twittering well is that you have to be convinced that everyone cares about the tiniest minutiae of your life – and I mean be truly convinced.

Or, you can tweet like a boss and be convinced of that in a really lazy, tongue-in-cheek sort of way. Which is what I do.

Let’s talk basics after setting up your account.


Image: Mozzercork via Flickr


The first this you need to know is this, the #, formerly known as the “pound” symbol. But if you say that to anyone under the age of 22, they will look at you as if you have lobsters clambering out of your ears and down tiny stepladders to snuggle in your purse. Literally.

Now, the # is known as “the hashtag” and can be either terribly useful or terribly ironic. Or just terribly used. It all depends.  (I'm looking at you, parents of baby Hashtag.)

The # can be used to get your tweet seen by more people. For example, people are tweeting about what to say after sex. I didn’t know this was a big discussion point, but we’ll go with it.

If you want to make sure that your tweet is seen by a lot of people, you should include a # of what’s trending at the moment, if you can. It can be a really useful tool. For example:

I blogged today about objects being larger than they appear in mirrors. #WhatToSayAfterSex

That works. It’s gross. But it works. This, however, doesn’t:

I had a dog named Peanut Butter. He died from a peanut overdose. #WhatToSayAfterSex 

Sure, people will read your tweet. But they’ll probably think of you as being either creepy, weird, or both and write you off. (Even most internet peeps have standards.) To create a hashtag, simply type #WhateverYouWantToSay, only make it whatever you want to say in your hashtag. (It has to be all one word, no spacing though. I learned that the hard way.)

So, it’s a good idea to look at what topics are trending and see if you can reach a wider audience. But if your topic isn’t trending, don’t let that stop you! You can make your own hashtags which, if clever, engaging, or odd enough, can trend! (This has never happened to me, but I did get close once with #30DaysOfThankfulness.) 


This is where tagging comes in. If you tweet something, all of your followers will see it. But if you want to ensure that a certain person sees it, tag them.  To tag someone, type @ and then their Twitter name.


It helps, when tagging, to be following that person/thing/group. It just makes it easier. Follow EVERYONE. Don’t be discouraged. I only have 294 followers, but I follow 1,258. Huge disparity? For now. I average 4 new followers a day thanks to my following connections. This is important. But there is etiquette involved.

If someone follows you and they are not a porn company or fake Twitter (And unlike Manti Te’o, you’ll be able to tell. Too soon? Too soon? Probably too soon.), you should follow them back. It’s called manners.

But what’s more important, it will expand your network and the people who can and will read your tweets.

Why does this matter? Because you’re doing something called platforming. If you don’t run or have a blog or business and just want to tweet to your hoodrat friends about how your dog ate your underwear, puked them up, and then re-ate the puke and underwear before you could get to him, then you only need to follow and be followed by your hoodrat friends.

But you, my dear bloggers, are not doing this. You are building a brand.

Note: Maybe you’re not. Maybe you just write your blog because you have things to say and it’s ok with you if only your close family and friends read it. But that’s where it will stay, most likely. If you want to build followers and notoriety, you have to do what’s called “branding.” That’s an


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