Twitter Basics by Provoke
Shane J
Read Time:
7 Minutes
February 7, 2018

Welcome back to our Provoke adventures...


 For this week, we decided to go a bit more technical in our blogs. We want to cover a plethora of topics that are in the realm of what we do! As we have a healthy presence on Twitter, this week’s topic will be on using twitter with your small business.

We will start with the basics today, as if you have never used the platform. For those advanced users, I apologize in advance. I will return to twitter, as a topic, many times during my blogs, and I promise to touch on everything eventually!  Patience is a virtue, young grasshopper.

Twitter is a huge part of social media, and personally, my favourite. I love to write, and twitter is, effectively, mini blogs. Till recently, this was set up in mini posts of 140 characters or less, and could include images, gifs or videos. Twitter, in the last few months, has tested and rolled out a 280-character limit. Stopping there for a moment, I’d like to give my opinion on the change.


As a small business owner, I like the increase as it allows users to add hashtags and a little leeway to tell mini stories. As a private citizen, I hate it! The fun in twitter was to find ways to express yourself in less than 140 characters. Cutting meaningless words that made stuff flowery and get to the POINT.

Overall, if you compare my business tweets to my personal tweets you would notice 9 times out of 10 they reflect this mantra. I use the character limit for ones I’m putting out as a business item, but any that are conversational are almost always 140 characters or less.

This is just a personal preference of mine, and I am not saying it is right for you, but for me it is. So, now that we have covered the character limit, lets touch on other parts of twitter.

When talking to another user, or “TAGGING” them, we tend to use @Username to make sure they receive the notification that you are talking to them or about them. If you don’t prefix their name with @ in front, they will receive no notification and have no clue they are being talked about.

Twitter uses an algorithm to display content. Here’s how it works. 

Twitter organizes your feed based on multiple factors to filter and list the tweets you see. It then displays at the top what tweets based on previous data in an order it feels you would think relevant. They call some of these changes the RANKED timeline and the WHILE YOU WERE AWAY timeline.

Items in Ranked use additional variables when sorting your tweets. Things like how much you engage with the author of those tweets, or how often do you spend reading that person’s tweets do factor in. Everything below this area of tweets is, however, put in normal reverse chronological order based on timestamps.

Back in the day, it used to be displayed with zero algorithm, and in real time, based on the accounts you follow. I honestly would love that day to return but, I understand the why behind the decision. Twitter is fitting in advertising tweets, making the platform more appealing to companies. I get it, but sometimes it hurts the flow of conversations - which is 100% the APPEAL of twitter!

When you see people talking about DM, or DMing them, this is just a short form for Direct Message. It is a spot where you can talk in private, not out in the wilds of Twitter.


Just an FYI never give out private information like account numbers, credit cards, or passwords… ever. Save that for when you are talking to a licensed representative of the company you are contacting.

Keeping your information safe is a priority, ALWAYS. Very important tip in a digital age to live by. If you are not sure, don’t answer the question, and call the company using the number on their website.

Another important feature of twitter is the ability to follow users and to be followed yourself. This enables you to see other people’s thoughts and stories, plus see yours as well. Now on a business level, think of using this to connect with people in your market. You can reach them on various levels, now using this. Not only can you send out the ideologies you work with, but you can now communicate with these users, in real-time.

If you are a company that values customer service, think about how valuable what I just said is. You can talk to your customers or engage with people curious about your products and services. No waiting on hold, no waiting on an email reply, you are talking RIGHT NOW!

This is an amazing aspect of Twitter. You are communicating in this moment. Not an hour from now, or after they call, but this moment. The power of social media is infinite. Being able to connect from anywhere with your customer is revolutionary.

That is a quick introduction to the world of twitter. Next time will talk about ways you can harness twitter to leverage your product and engage your customers.

That’s all for now, if you haven’t done it, do yourself a favour. Go make a twitter account and explore.

Have fun till next week…