About a year ago I was sitting in a stupid dinner meeting with the executives of a big hotel in Vegas and the whole “I don’t get this Twitter” thing came up.  The one exec that seemed to be the most adept explained what he had read. I’m going to try to sum it all up because I tried it and it totally worked for me.

First thing – Stop bagging on things you don’t understand just because you don’t understand them.

Second – Sign up and pick a few (5 to 10) well-known people to follow.

Third – Watch. And learn. Don’t start tweeting yet, other than maybe that first “well- I’m-new-to-twitter-and-trying-to-figure-this-thing-out” tweet.  Do this for about 4 to 6 weeks.  By this time you will have figured out that you are following mostly the wrong people.  And you’ll figure out how you want to use Twitter.  Twitter isn’t for everyone.  And there is more than 1 way to use Twitter.

Fourth – Start tweeting.  Emulate the people whose tweet style you agree with but don’t be afraid to follow a few.  Use Twitter for conversations that you don’t mind being public.  Use Twitter to speak your mind about things that you want associated with your personality. Don’t spam Twitter. If you aren’t providing something either useful or entertaining don’t tweet it. No one wants to know what you ate for breakfast. Unless you just tried out a new coffee shop and want to recommend them.

Things you need to know:

Hashtags. A hashtag is a work preceeded by the # symbol.  This is used to attach your tweet to a specific topic. Don’t just do this on every tweet. This is used at events and in discussions so that everyone participating can follow related tweets.

Replying. When you begin a tweet with by addressing someone by starting the tweet with “@user” it is only visible to people that follow that user.  Sometimes this is what you want. Sometimes not.  If you want other everyone to be able to see it put something before the @ in their username. I’ll try to work their name into the middle of a sentence or sometimes I’ll just add a “.” in front of it, like so; “.@myfavoriteuser that was a good point, here’s another thing to think about”

This should be enough to get you started.  Ok, now go give it a try. www.twitter.com

Have a tip? post it below in the comments.