*This week I’m talking all about Twitter and its basics.  If you’re a Twitter pro, please read and leave any tips you have in the comments.  Or skip these posts because it’s nothing new.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Okay, so today we’re going to talk about hashtags.

Here’s where Twitter gets ridiculously useful for writers.

Hashtags are searchable keywords that users create and use to carry on larger conversations and engage with a wider audience.  Those trends in the right-hand sidebar?  Those are generated off of hashtags.  So are your searches that you save.

There’s a slew of hashtags for writers.  (There is a really hand list of hashtags for writers here.  I’d also recommend paying attention to what hashtags your friends are using, in case they’re not on this list.)

The last thing I want to talk about is using a third-party client for Twitter.  I currently use Tweetdeck.

You can use Tweetdeck to update Facebook as well, but I found it cluttering my columns so I removed it.

Tweetdeck’s most useful feature is the column function.  You can create columns for any hashtag search you want.  There are also “core” columns to select from which include your direct messages and mentions feeds.

This is where your lists and hashtags become invaluable.  My Tweetdeck currently has 5 columns.  I have the main feed column, my mentions column, direct messages, and two hashtag columns.

My columns do tend to fluctuate from time to time.  At one point I had eight columns going.  Trust me, that gets unwieldy.

My favorite feature outside of the column organization is that new tweets pop up in a window in the corner so I can have Tweetdeck running in the background while I work in an internet browser or in my word processor.  As tweets show up I can glance over, see if it’s something I need to reply to or that is useful, etcetera, and keep going.

You can tweet from this pop-up window, too, which means that tweeting and working are no longer mutually exclusive.

There are several clients out there so I’d suggest looking around at various options and finding the one that suits you best.

So that’s the end of our basics guide through Twitter.

Are you still railing against Twitter?  Why?  If you’re there, you may want to leave your handle in the comments so that we can connect with you.  Any tips you Twitter pros would add?