*This week I’ll be talking about Twitter.  If you’re already a pro at Twitter you don’t have to read this.  But maybe still read it and offer your tips in the comments.

Part 1
Part 3
Part 4

Back to the main feed.  Each individual tweet in the feed (the ones that aren’t yours) have the same buttons:

The little star is your “favorite” button.  With this you’re simply saving tweets to a private list for storage and reference at a later date.  In the Twitter home page these will show up on the right-hand sidebar.  They’ll also show under their own tab list on your Twitter profile.  (To access your own profile click on your Twitter profile picture in the right-hand sidebar.)

The recycler arrow symbol is the re-tweet button.  With this you can share the tweet of someone you follow with the Twitter users who follow you.

What is the use of something like this?

1- It’s a great way of finding and making new connections.  There are several hashtag memes that enable this.  (More on hashtags tk.)  But the best use of the retweet is when someone tweets something you think your own followers will enjoy, such as a joke or article link.

2- Are you running a contest on your blog?  Tweet about it.  Ask others to tweet about it.  Retweet other users’ contests. (Karma makes the Twitter world go round sometimes.)

3- Did someone tweet about their latest blog post and you found the post really worth the time to read?  Then send out a retweet.

The little curved arrow pointing to the left is the reply button.  This is the basis of Twitter, in my opinion.  It’s also the button I use the most.  Nothing turns people off faster than users on Twitter who do nothing but tweet and never engage other users.

The biggest complaint about Twitter I see is that it’s so hard to engage people.  That people feel like they’re just shooting the breeze with themselves.

In response to this, I say use the reply button.  Wear it out.  If someone tweets something, don’t just giggle or groan in sympathy.  Reach out to that person with either a direct reply or a mention.  (A mention is simply when you put the @ symbol and someone’s Twitter handle anywhere but the start of your tweet.)

Lately on Twitter I’ve been getting involved in massive Twitter chats with friends I’ve made there.  These connections I’ve made are invaluable to me.

This post is getting long enough as is so we’ll end there.  Thursday we’ll be talking about the right-hand sidebar on Twitter and the tabs across the top of your main feed.

Are you on Twitter?  What’s keeping you from there?  If you’re on Twitter, leave your handle in the comments (if you want) and any tips you think I’ve missed here on this portion of Twitter.