Twitter has grown in leaps and bounds this year and Zimbos finally seem to have got a “handle” on it. Although, no official user stats are available on Zimbabwe (ZARF says 2%), Twitter has become the main social network for many Zimbos, or should I say #Twimbos.
Although I only have 131 followers to show for it, I joined Twitter in 2012 and it has eclipsed Facebook as both my favourite and main social network. If i didn’t have pages to manage on Facebook, I would hardly visit it as it has lost relevance to me and my interests.
I believe the edge Twitter has over Facebook is Twitter’s main drive on a person’s interests unlike Facebook whose drive is on a persons relations, like friends and family who may be people with boring stories you’re no longer interested in.
The very nature of “micro-blogging” on Twitter means that we are spared of those long winding yada yada posts that end up asking you to like or comment “Amen” else Jesus withholds his blessings. Twitter feeds are shotr, concise and more times than not, relevant to your own stated interest.
Back in the day when I was a Twitter newbie (last year actually), the content I followed was international because local content was just a handful. Today, all the top brands in Zimbabwe are active on Twitter, local celebrities engage with fans (sometime exchanging un-pleasantries) and every other hour local news agencies tweet local news, available for free on their website. Sounds like a mature Twitter community to me.
Probably the biggest put-off for new Twitter users is the “tweminology” and Twitter etiquette which is not immediately easy to get for novice users. I recently discovered that “DM” means Direct Message and initially I thought that was just unnecessary until I realised in a microblogging site like Twitter, posts have to be short (140 characters maximum) and typing “inbox me” or “message” will eat into your limited real estate. Even DMs are limited to 140 characters which makes the whole experience exciting. I mean, if you can communicate effectively regularly with only 140 characters at a time, you definitely have some level of brightness in you.
Millions of others the world over have it, and I can’t see why at the moment some fellow Zimbos are not in the twitosphere enjoying great content from @chat263, @pokellosexy, @hararecynic, my handle, @tendaimupaso and ours @Techzim.
As for local business, local social media enthusiast @tnyaruwanga suggests that businesses should stick to organic means to reach people on Twitter as #twimbos are still unstable in their use patterns.
Here is a list of a few twitter etiquette and tweminology explained.
Follower / following: On Twitter, blogs, and other social media sites, a follower is someone who subscribes to receive your updates. On the Twitter “following” someone means you will see their messages in your own personal timeline. Twitter lets you see all the people you follow and also who is following you. You can choose however to block people you don’t want following you.
Mentions Mentions are basically you mentioning the twitter name of a person to direct to direct that tweet to them in reply to their update, you just wanting them to see the tweet. A reply will be saved in the user’s “Replies” tab. Replies are sent either by clicking the ‘reply’ icon below an update or typing “@twittername message” (e.g., @techzim can you write another article on Twitter?).
Direct message (DM): Short for direct message, it is the function of the Twitter service that enables you to send a private message (direct message) to a person you follow.
Hashtag: A hashtag is a way of organizing your updates for Twitter’s search engine. Users prefix a message with a community-driven hash tag to enable others to discover relevant posts. One commonly used hash tag in Zimbabwe is #twimbos which is used when referencing Zimbabweans.
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