What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows users to post short messages that show up in the Twitter feeds of the people who choose to follow your account. Twitter offers instantly updated information for just about any number of topics.

Here’s the catch:  Twitter allows only 280 characters per post, called a tweet, so tap into your creative side to make your message fit.

What can Twitter do for me?

Twitter is an effective tool for CSU organizations and departments that need to share frequent content about meetings, events, news, and even emergency information.

How do I use Twitter?

Start by creating an account on Twitter.

Optimize your account for Twitter searches:

Note that a username and a name are two separate items. For example, ColoradoStateU is the username and Colorado State University is the name. Usernames are character-limited.

A carefully selected name is the most crucial part of being found in searches. This is because most users will not search for you by your exact username and will add spaces that do not match your username. For example, a search for “CSU Athletics” does not find the username CSUAthletics.

Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used when searching for the profile; CSU, Colorado State University, etc.

Enter your e-mail address, password, and agree to Twitter’s Terms of Service.

By doing so, you must not:

  • Impersonate others through the twitter service
  • Publish or post other people’s private and confidential information
  • Publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others
  • Use the service for any unlawful purpose or for promotion of illegal activities
  • Create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
  • Engage in username squatting
  • Use Twitter.com’s address book contact import to send repeat, mass invitations
  • Publish or link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another user’s browser or computer or to compromise a user’s privacy
  • Use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone
  • Use obscene or pornographic images in either your profile picture or use background.

Customize your profile

Use the column on the right side of your account page to upload a profile picture, write a short bio, and set up Twitter on your mobile phone so you can post tweets from anywhere.

The one line bio will appear with the username and name in the search results. Use this area to note your relationship to Colorado State University if your username and name have not already made this clear. For example, only using “CSU” may create conduction since there are several other universities who use the same acronym.

Start Tweeting!

Stay under the 140-character restriction: while this may seem hard, using shorthand and posting links can aid in providing additional information.

Include links: Drive followers to your website from tweets. Inbound links also improve your page rankings with search engines.

Shorten links: Links can be long and can quickly take over a tweet’s 140-character limit. Use CSU’s link shortener tool.

Tweet regularly: Appoint more than one person to tweet if needed to continue regular content.

Understand why people follow you: If your followers want information about the group you represent they probably don’t want to know daily activities. However, if you are a CSU celebrity, your follows are more likely to be interested in your life events.

Follow others: This allows communication between you and your followers and is part of Twitter etiquette.

Re-tweet: Tweet the content posted by another twitter user that is relevant to the organization or department that you represent as it will show up for your followers.

Use hashtags: Hashtags consist of using the # symbol followed by subject words such as #ColoradoState or #FortCollins. They help organize information, make tweet searchable, and are conversation drivers.

Incorporate other Twitter users: An example tweet might be: “On my way to the @CSUMensBball game tonight @ColoradoStateU”

Other Tips

Use other tools: Research external applications that are designated to help Twitter users enhance the Twitter experience. The Twitter website itself is prone to going down based on heavy traffic so consider skipping Twitter.com to manage your Twitter accounts and check out more reliable management services including TweetDeck and Hootsuite.

Find the thought leaders and influencers: Spend time engaging people who are interested in similar topic areas. This means identifying the most influential social media users in your niche area. Klout is a tool that tracks influence on Twitter and Facebook. See who is a thought leader, connector, or a decision maker.

It take a village: Twitter itself does not have a way for multiple people to uniquely access one account other than by sharing the username and password among administrators. CoTweet allows multiple people to help manage multiple Twitter accounts and stay in synch while doing so.

Use photos in your tweets: Easily add photos to your tweets from your phone or desktop computer.