Twitter 101

I’m calling my shot. By the end of the year, I predict CropLife® magazine’s Twitter page will have more than 1,000 followers. It’s a bold claim, for sure, but one I can make with Nostradamus-like conviction. Afterall, @croplifemag recently surpassed the 500-follower plateau and is welcoming new followers every day.

But now that I’ve proudly laid my reputation on the line, I need your help in making my prognostication come to fruition. If you are new to Twitter or haven’t yet made the leap, this column explains some basic terms that are often unknown to beginners. Below are nine tools ag dealers need to know to make best use of Twitter and, in the process, become part of CropLife’s mad dash to 1,000 followers by 2012.

1. Reply (@). Twitter has a unique replying feature. When a user’s name is preceded by the @ symbol, it means the sentence (tweet) that follows is directed at them. For example, if you want to reply to a CropLife tweet, simply type @croplifemag, then type the reply. There is also a reply icon (a “swoosh” symbol) on the Web interface that inserts the reply prefix automatically.

2. Message. A message (also referred to as Direct Message or DM) is a private message sent via Twitter to one of your followers. In turn, people you follow can send you a private message. You cannot send a direct message to a user who is not following you. As opposed to replies and regular tweets, messages are completely private.

3. Retweet (RT). To retweet someone’s tweet means to share it with your own Twitter followers. The syntax of a retweet is the abbreviation “RT” followed by the username of the person who tweeted it (e.g., RT @croplifemag) and then the content of the actual tweet. It essentially quotes that person’s tweet and gives them the credit, so people can see the tweet and then choose to follow that person.

4. Hashtag (#). Once you’ve started using Twitter, it won’t take long before you come across what’s known as a hashtag. That’s when you see something in a tweet that has a # prefix. A hashtag is simply a way for people to search for tweets that have a common topic. One of the most popular hashtags for agriculture is #agchat. So if you search on #agchat, you’ll get a list of tweets related to agriculture.

5. TwitPic. TwitPic lets you share media on Twitter in real-time. You can post photos or videos to TwitPic from your phone, from the site or through e-mail. If you have a Twitter account, you already have a TwitPic account automatically. Comments to photographs are sent as a reply tweet. TwitPic URLs are already short, making it unnecessary to use URL shorteners (see No. 6).

6. URL Shorteners. Because Twitter limits the number of characters you can use to 140, URL shorteners are the most effective way of tweeting if you want to share a link with a long URL and still have space for your thoughts about the link you are sharing. There are a number of sites that offer this service, including bit.ly and TinyURL.com.

7. Favorite A Tweet. One of the features I use most on Twitter is the “favorite” button. You do this by clicking on the little star next to a Tweet. People use this for two main reasons: To bookmark links or to mark something they like. When you bookmark a link, you can find them by going to the “Favorites” link on the right.

8. Twitter Directories. Twitter directories are a useful way to find new followers. They make it easier for people using Twitter to find other “Tweeters” with similar interests. WeFollow, Twellow, TwitDir and TweetFind are just a handful of some of the more popular directories.

9. Dashboards. If you’re not using a social media dashboard, you are likely not getting the full experience of what it’s like to participate on Twitter. Dashboards allow you to monitor, interact, retweet, sort, categorize, follow trends, create groups, search and more. A few of the more commonly used dashboards are TweetDeck (rumored to be acquired by Twitter), HootSuite and Seesmic.

So go ahead and experiment. Even if you only use just one or two of these tools, your Twitter experience will be that much better for it. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to follow us @croplifemag.

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
Trending Articles
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Latest News
ManagementThoughts on CropLife America and the PSM Appeal
September 29, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the recent CropLife America annual meeting and the successful appeal of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsMarrone Bio Innovations’ SVP And Chief Sustainability O…
September 29, 2016
Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc., a leading provider of effective and environmentally responsible pest management and plant health products, announced today Read More
Young Corn Field
StewardshipStudy: Ohio Farmers Doing ‘A Good Job Of Managing…
September 27, 2016
Leaders from Ohio’s largest grain farming organizations announced today that Ohio farmers are doing their part in effectively managing phosphorus Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
Industry NewsGROWMARK To Purchase Suncor’s Share Of UPI
September 26, 2016
GROWMARK and Suncor have reached an agreement in which GROWMARK will purchase Suncor’s 50% interest in UPI, Inc. in Ontario, Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More