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Quick Twitter Tips: A Twitter Guide For Beginners

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 03/31/11 07:36 PM ET   Updated: 05/31/11 06:12 AM ET

Twitter can be an intimidating jumble of # symbols, RTs, DMs, @'s, and other code-like shorthand to a Twitter newbie.

To help get the hang of it, we've put together a Twitter guide for Twitter beginners with nine tips for how to communicate on Twitter, make sense of it, and make the most of it.

Tricks and tips aside, some users suggest the best thing a new tweeter can do is just start sharing. "Just jump in and start engaging (for lack of better cliche word) - and not just with people you know," suggested @Agrinavich. @BrunuM suggested Twitter newbies should just "tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet and tweet."

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Twitter Tips
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The various Twitter shorthand--from DMs and RTs to #'s--can be puzzling to Twitter newbies.

Here's the basic terminology you need to know:

"RT" stands for "retweet," in which a user shares another tweeter's post, verbatim, while crediting the original tweeter. A retweet appears as "RT @[username]" followed by the tweet.

A "DM" is a direct message--a message up to 140 characters in length that is sent only to another specific user, not to all of a user's Twitter followers. (A "DM fail" describes direct messages that were supposed to be private, but that were accidentally shared with all of a tweeter's followers.)

A hashtag is created by using the # symbol ahead of a word or term. As Twitter explains, a hashtag "is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages." Hashtags might be used to add color or personality to a tweet (like "#fail") or it could be used to tie a tweet to a specific, broader topic ("#Jan25"). Some use hashtags to track all tweets from a specific event (i.e. "#SXSW")

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