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Learning Twitter can be a bit intimidating at first. The community speaks their own lingo and interacts in a way that’s completely different than Facebook or email.

How can you get “Twitter savvy,” so you can jump in feet first without making potentially embarrassing mistakes? Here’s how.

=> Learn the Shorthand

Twitter users (aka. “tweeters”) have their own language they use. The language is often necessitated because of Twitter’s character length limit. Because you only have 140 characters, you’re more likely to say “PRT” than “Please retweet.”

Twitter has a very comprehensive glossary you can view on their site:

http://support.twitter.com/entries/166337-the-twitter-glossary

Learn the various common words and phrases used by the Twitter community.

=> Learn How to Use Hashtags

Hashtags are used primarily to identify messages on a certain topic. Let’s say you’re running a sale and want people to be able to have discussions about your sale. You might tell anyone tweeting about your sale to tweet with #salomatic.

Someone tweeting would then put #salomatic at the end of their tweet. Anyone seeing that tweet could just click that hashtag to see all messages tagged with #salomatic. This effectively creates a chat room or message board of sorts on the spot.

=> Follow People in Your Industry

What should you post about? How often should you post? What are topics people are interested in hearing about?

The best way to find out for yourself is to start following people in your industry. These could be competitors, customers or industry news channels. Basically, follow anyone that has a strong voice in your market.

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This way you’ll start to get a real sense of what your market is like and what conventions are in your market. You’ll get a sense for how often others post and what topics people tend to respond to.

=> Following, Being Followed, Posting Messages

The best way to learn your way around Twitter is to just use it a lot. Before you start using Twitter on your business account, try using Twitter in your personal account.

Start following your friends and ask your friends to follow you. Post tweets and watch your friends respond. Respond to your friends’ tweets.

Just get used to how the whole system works. Once you’ve learned how to create topics with hashtags, you’ve learned the various common words and phrases and you’ve learned how to follow, be followed and post messages, then you’re basically conversational in Twitter.

Once you’re conversational in Twitter, the next step is just to dive in head first and start using Twitter a lot. Learning Twitter isn’t hard, it just takes a bit of basic understanding and a lot of regular use. In just a few weeks, you can quickly become very Twitter savvy.