Hashtags and other Misdemeanors.
By Alicia Whalen
Sunday, 5th May 2013
You are not alone, there are others – just like you;

There are others, who do not know what the term 'TPM' means when Entertainment Tonight host chirps (no pun intended), about the most 'tweeted' dress, comment, or photo after the Golden Globe awards. TPM refers to 'Tweets per Minute.'

There are others like you. Others, who are unsure what their ten year old means when she refers to a picture she has posted on Instagram, added with the Hashtag #BFF – and she is hoping her followers "Heart" it.

Twitter, along with other Social Media channels like Pinterest and Instagram, have a language all their own – a language where it is ok to abbreviate, misspell, and blatantly ignore all grammar rules ever written in the English language.

Having said that, Social media communication is here to stay, and better for us to understand how it works – even just so we can spy on our kids, and to add to the water cooler conversation about the most tweeted about Grammy dress.

Many of us need to use Twitter and other such Social Media networks in our every day jobs, but for those who are simply curious about what is going on in the Twitterverse, and why everyone is talking in Twitter code (or in Twitter tongue if you will) – this is for you.

A summary of my most frequently asked Twitter questions:

TPM refers to Tweets per minute:

Often used by media outlets to identify trends in content being tweeted about, shared, or commented on. As you have probably seen as of late, many television events such as the Super Bowl, Award shows, and every day News broadcasts and even daily talk shows, are asking audiences to participate in the conversation by "tweeting questions," or commenting on content covered in live shows. Measuring TPM (or tweets per minute) allows media and audiences to assess the most popular content and trends showing up in the twitter feeds.

What's with Hashtags?

Hashtags (#) are used to tag content in Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social networks. Tweeters use Hashtags as a means to organize content around a particular subject. Hashtags are created by users, and added to "tweets" and other content as a way to identify and or organize content about the topic

By adding a #Hashtag to a tweet or image, the tweet will automatically become part of a stream of content that is seemingly related.  Almost like a leaderboard stream of content, with the most recent tweets appearing at the top.  Any word, or made up string of words, can be tagged.

The most popular, or most used Hash-tagged words on Twitter can become "trending topics" (or most talked about) on Twitter.  Tweeter's (aka people that tweet) often follow trending Hashtags, or ongoing niche Hashtags related to their interests.  Hashtags such as #Travel or #Canada may relate to broad topics around the keywords, and other Hashtags are made up and used as a short form for a topic or event.

For example, producers of conferences or special events may create a Hashtag surrounding their event to encourage participants to contribute to the online conversation, and indirectly virally distribute the brand message. The conference we produce, Online Revealed Canada, already has some content and conversation around the conference with the Hashtag we created #ORC2013.

This will be the virtual home to discussions, shared content, and highlights before, during and after the event in April 2013.  Around the event, the stream of content will become active with many participants, who are either attending or just following the conversation online, posting tweets of questions, comments, photos, and comments about the event as it happens.  Join us April 2-4, 21013 by following #ORC2013

RT's, MT's and other #Twittertips

Primarily, Twitter it is an interactive message board (of sorts) that offers brands, celebrities, and just about anyone else with access to WIFI and a twitter account, the ability to post to others who follow them, and may be interested in what they have to say.  It is an interconnected web of comments, links and conversations happening online, all the time.

RT refers to Re-Tweet, or the sharing of good content.

This is a best practice for tweeters who want to share someone else's tweet to their followers. It gives credit to the original author of the tweet.

MT refers to "modified tweet," which is an acknowledgment that the tweeter has modified another tweeter's comment, while still giving credit to the original tweeter.

Tweets are available in the public domain (like it or not), twitter accounts are indexable in Search Engines, and can certainly become a representation of the person, or brand behind the Tweets.

What is "Tweetable" content?

Within the confines of 140 characters or less, Twitter is used as a means to answer customer questions, respond to complaints or good comments, engage in conversation with like-minded people, publically comment immediately on an event or news item, share good content, ask a question, encourage conversation around a subject, or simply to listen and watch.

There is much more to Twitter than one blog post can cover, but I thought it best to just put it out there, handle the white elephant in the room, and define some of the basics of the Twitter for those of you who have asked in the workshops and webinars we have presented.

Now you are well equipped to talk Twitter at the water cooler Monday.  When your colleague asks you what you thought of the Oscar awards Sunday night, you can confidently respond that you followed the broadcast Hashtag instead of watching the television broadcast. (it is actually fun to watch the broadcast while following a Twitter feed – try it!)

There is so much more to Twitter. For those "tweeps" (those peeps that already tweet) who need to grow a community, improve their community engagement, or develop a full blown Twitter strategy – we have got some Twitter Tips and strategies to share beyond this post.

Please RT, and feel free to add a #Hashtag, MT, or share it to your other Social networks. #shamelesselfpromotion

ideahatching.com is a marketing blog from Alicia Whalen, co-founder of A Couple of Chicks Marketing, discussing search, marketing & measurement in the new Internet Marketing environment! Please leave your comments - I'd love to hear from you!

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