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The Anatomy of a Tweet

twitter logo
image credit: twitter dot com

After jumping in and volunteering to be the “hostess” with the mostess for the Sits 31 Days to a Better Blog I noticed that there were a lot of ladies who don’t “tweet.” Since I do tweet and use the tweetster to send out messages I thought it might be helpful to write a basic tutorial on setting up a twitter and now I’m going to be getting a little more into the meat of a tweet to help these ladies and gentleman who don’t know how, learn a little… *I don’t claim to be a twitter expert but I have sent out over 4,200 tweets in my day… so let’s keep going with this…

There are a 3 different ways of posting on Twitter:

1. The Tweet: On Twitter you need to have good content, be interesting, informative, entertaining and valuable. You need to do this in a short concise manner-140 characters.

twitter what's happening box
image courtesy of twitter

How do you form a basic Tweet?
• You are identified on twitter by your user name with a “@” in front.
Example when I send out a tweet or someone tweets me it’s to @shelleyellen
• At the top of your Home Page you have a white box that say’s “What’s Happening?’
• Type your witty or informative 140 character message in that box.
• Hit the Tweet button just below the box on the lower right side.

2. The Reply: The next type of post is a reply. When you send out your tweet someone might reply to that with a comment back. You will see your name with the @ symbol before it as I showed you above or perhaps you might want to reply to someone else.

• For example: I might send out this tweet:

Happy birthday 2 the sweetest little lady in the world 19 years ago u came into the world and have inspired us every day since I

• Reply to me might look like:

@shelleyellen Hope your little daughter enjoyed her birthday

Replies are viewable to everyone who is following you.

• My Response to their tweet:

@bettywhite thank you very much!

3. The Direct Message: This is a private message that you don’t want everyone else on twitter to see.

• To send a Direct Message otherwise known as a DM go to the box on the top where you type your tweets and before the message type DM and the person’s username and then the tweet, however all together it must not exceed 140 characters.


DM @bettywhite thank you so much for the beautiful flowers! They really made Hadley smile!

4. How to check your “mail” from your @username:
• On the right side of the screen on the sidebar look for your @username
• Click on it
• Now you should see a running list in the “timeline” section if you have any tweet mail.

5. How to check your Direct Messages:
• On the sidebar just below your @username you will see Direct Message
• Click on it
• Should you have any DM’s you will see them there and you can respond right there
• If you want to respond to a DM, look just below the tweet and you will see
Reply or Delete on the bottom right hand
• Click Reply
• You will see at the top of the page it now says Send _____ a direct message
• Type the 140 character message in the box below
• Hit send

6. The Retweet or RT: One of the great things about twitter and what makes it so powerful is it runs in “real time” and goes viral immediately. When someone sees something they think is of value it can be passed onto their followers in seconds and then so on and so on. This is done by what is called a RT or Retweet.

• To send out a RT you will need to put RT in front of the @username of the person whose tweet you will copy and then hit send.
Example: If you wanted to retweet this comment from my timeline:

Woot Woot our #sitsgirls31dbbb is growing stronger and stronger! Looking forward to Monday!

Then you would tweet:

RT @shelleyellen Woot Woot our #sitsgirls31dbbb is growing stronger and stronger! Looking forward to Monday!

If you wanted to make a comment about it you would add the comment to the retweet at the beginning or the end:

I’m so there! RT @shelleyellen Woot Woot our #sitsgirls31dbbb is growing stronger and stronger! Looking forward to Monday!


RT @shelleyellen Woot Woot our #sitsgirls31dbbb is growing stronger and stronger! Looking forward to Monday! (I’m so there!)

Or you can always push the retweet just below the tweet on the newsfeed and it will send out an automatic tweet from you.

image courtesy of twitter; new twitter toolbar on top

Twitter is in the middle of changing the way the site is viewed. The way I am explaining how to check your Tweet Mail or Direct Messages is on the old version. The newer version (as seen above) has a tool bar at the top of the Home Page where you can get to both your @username (known as a mention mail) or your direct messages just click them. I’m still using the older version, I like it better and will use it until I’m thrown off LOL. It’s like moving into a new house, I’m just not ready yet!

I will do another post on Twitter Etiquette in a few days but there is one thing I will say before I end this post and that is if someone is kind enough to tweet you, tweet them back, this is what twitter was set up to do… Keep the conversation moving…

I hope I answered your basic questions, please let me know if there is something I can help you with!

What do you use the tweetster for mainly?

About shelley

Shelley Kramm is the founder and editor of I'm Still Standing and The DC Ladies. Learn more about her and her inspirational family here and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Google+ and on

Other places to find shelley


  1. Thanks for the tutorial, Shelley! I wish you would have talked about hashtags, though. Those always trip me up! :-)

  2. Great tutorial! I think that will really help some people. I just clicked around until I figured it out! Lol. But, I will say, TweetDeck has been a big change. I love it, & it's why I Tweet so much these days.

  3. One more thing to add is the #hashtag. It took me forever to figure out how to use those.

    Great post!
    The Mom and Dad Reviews

  4. I love tweetdeck and the Echofon app for my Iphone. I have to admit, I also didn't understand the point of hashtags . . . and now I'm a chronic over-user of them lol :)

    Great tutorial!

  5. Thanks Shelley! I saved this post on my desktop so when the day arrives that I'm finally ready to jump in I'll have some idea how. Right now I have a hard time keeping up with my blog and Facebook and my…oh yeah…LIFE. I have nothing but admiration for everyone out there who manages to keep all these balls in the air!! Kuddos!!!

  6. Big, big help! I'm still learning this whole thing, but I appreciate your help!!!

  7. I've been using Twitter for few years now, but never really used it to it's full potential. This was a great refresher course.

  8. Thank you so much for this! I've been using twitter but not enough!

  9. Came by from SITS:) I got into Twitter because it seemed the thing to do for blogging. Some days I forget to even look at it! This was a great guide for beginners.

  10. I have to agree, I still don't get the hashtags, are plans for a tut on them?

  11. This is a great tutorial Shelley, I started using a twitter just a few months ago and it has helped my blog immensely. I definitely could have used these tips.

  12. Hi…found you through Dani G and am following you now on Twitter! I was reluctant to starting tweeting, but now I love it!

  13. Awesome post explaining Twitter! <3 Thanks for leading us all girlie! xoxo Jen from shesafitchick

  14. When you use the retweet button, does it insert the RT for you?

    And thank you for posting such a user friendly guide!

  15. Thanks, Shelley. I've been using twitter quite a while, but I still learned something new from your post.

  16. Thank you Shelley! Very informative for new people to Twitter. I think it is also important to tell what the benefits of Twitter is to someone new.

  17. Thanks for the Twitter info! Here's a question: I can get the shortlink from my own site to tweet a webpage, but how do I get a shortlink when I want to tweet someone else's page? As I was typing it in, Twitter said it would shorten it, but didn't. Am I doing something wrong, do you think?