Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

twitter hand Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Twitter is an incredible communication tool which can also be somewhat daunting if you’re not used to a constant stream of information flow.  Here are several ways to make better sense of the Twitter so you’ll enjoy your experience more.

1. How to properly understand #hashtags on Twitter

tagalus Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Ever find yourself looking at Twitter and wondering what all this talk about #motrinmoms means?  or searching Flickr and not understanding why someone would tag their photo #ip4?  Hashtags can be notoriously difficult to keep track of, so Tagalus is a free service which lets users define tags so that others can understand what they’re talking about. 

Other users can even vote on definitions and decide which best describes the given tag.  Tagalus also has a bookmarklet feature so you can lookup hashtags with a single click.

2. How to filter topics in real time on Twitter

monitter Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Twitter is essentially a sea of conversations, so tracking certain keywords can be very useful especially if you’re trying to find out what people are saying about your company or product.  One of my favorite tools to do this is Monniter

This is a free service which lets you track multiple keywords in multiple columns, and it streams in any mention of them in real time.  Which means you can essentially set up a tracker for you and your competition in a jiffy.  If you’re looking at tracking tools, you can also try twendz, and twitterfall.

3. How to find the most popular links on Twitter

twiturls Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

If you’re a fan of PopURLs which lists the most popular content on the web, then you’ll certainly enjoy TwitURLs which is essentially all the most popular links, pictures and videos being shared on Twitter and updated every minute – which stays true to Twitter’s real-time nature.

4. How to group your contacts in Twitter

tweetdeck Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Once you start following a large number of people, conversations come in thick and fast, and it can be overwhelming if you try to keep up. 

One way to get around this is to use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck, where you can group your contacts up in a more organized manner.  For example, you can have all your ex-classmates in one column, and colleagues in another – that way it’s much easier to keep track of certain groups of people.

5. How to understand how much time you’re spending on Twitter

stats Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Want to know how much time you’re spending (sorry – investing), on Twitter?  Tweetstats is the perfect tool for analyzing usage patterns to see how you actually go about Tweeting information, how often you do it, when you do it, and what you tend to tweet about.  Another useful stats engine to consider is TwitterAnalyzer. 

6. How to find relevant people to follow on Twitter

mrtweet Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

Finding and following people outside your usual social circle can be an interesting way to branch out and meet new people.  This however is most useful when you’re connecting to people who have similar or relevant interests to you. 

My favorite is Mr.Tweet where it analyses your profile and helps your discover relevant people to follow.  Other Twitter directories like JustTweetIt, and WeFollow are also excellent ways to find people who match you to follow.

7. How to get Twitter basics right

twitterbird Twitter 101: 7 Ways to Make Better Sense of Twitter

If you’re completely new to Twitter, this PCMag article on the ˜Top 10 Twitter Tips for Beginners’ is an absolute must read.  This covers all the basics of how to start using Twitter effectively.  This article covers everything from retweeting to mobile tweeting. 

If you’re interested in learning how to build followers, you can always try these tips from Guy Kawasaki of Alltop.com and Kevin Rose of Digg.com.  If you need a twitter dictionary to help you with more twitter terms, try twittionary.

Hope those tips were helpful, and do follow me @friedbeef :)

How often do you tweet, and what do you Tweet about?  Tell us in the comments!

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