Twitter 101: The Basics

If you're not using Twitter to promote your trade show, you could be losing out on a lot of saved time, happier attendees, more informed exhibitors, and revenues.

Twitter users are three times more likely to follow brands than Facebook users. Forty-two percent of users learn about products and services via Twitter, and forty-one percent provide opinions about products or services. All of this makes Twitter a huge potential income source for businesses.

Twitter is not just another social media site; it's an important voice on the Internet. As of April 2010, its population was 17 million, roughly the combined populations of New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Mississippi, Iowa, and Connecticut - now that's a lot of people.

Simply put, Twitter is real-time, online communication. It's a social media tool that provides users 140 characters at a time to post their thoughts, ideas, news, and current events. "Tweets" are what Twitter users call individual Twitter posts. Users' tweets are listed on their profile pages, with the newest at the top. The tweets of all other users that they follow are listed on their homepage.

Twitter describes itself as "a real-time information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and discover what's happening now." According to Mashable, tweets can share links to interesting things found on the web, discussions about hot topics (through the use of hashtags), photos, videos, music and real-time accounts from users witnessing a newsworthy event, crisis or disaster.

This short video, Twitter in Plain English , summarizes the purpose and benefits of Twitter. Below is a cheat sheet that defines basic Twitter terminology.

Quick Twitter Dictionary (From Twitter's Help Page)


An @reply is any Twitter update that begins with @username. People say a lot of things on Twitter, and sometimes you may want to say something back. In fact, early Twitter folks wanted to talk to each other so badly that they started using the @+username+message to designate their message as a reply to another person.


A mention is any Twitter update that contains @username in the body of the tweet. We noticed users frequently searching for their user name (@username) to find the tweets that mention their name anywhere in the tweet, rather than just the beginning. We've decided to make it easier, and include mentions under the replies tab. If you include more than one person in your update and you use the @username format, that person will also see the update in their replies tab.


To retweet, retweeting, retweeted. The act of forwarding another user's Tweet to all of your followers.

Direct message:

Also called a DM, these messages are private between only the sender and recipient. Tweets become DMs when they begin with "d username" to specify who the message is for.


The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. Was created organically by Twitter users.

For more help getting started and learning how to use Twitter, check out their help page and blog. It's easier than it sounds, and an account is free!

Next Week's Post

While you're learning how to use Twitter, over the next two weeks, my colleagues and I will share specific ways that you can use this social media tool to benefit your trade show.

Finally, don't forget to start following Map Dynamics on Twitter!

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