A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: twitter tips

Some Twitter Truths You Need to Know

Today’s tips are all about Twitter. Whether you’re relatively new to Twitter and struggling to figure it out, or you’re a veteran and think you know it all, there is probably a tip in today’s post you can use. So stick around!

First, let me just confess, I truly hated Twitter when I began using it 4+ years ago. I mean really hated it. It was like a foreign language to me. And me no speakie nothin’ but good ol’ American, and in a Pittsburghese dialect to boot. So there.

But the more I used it, the faster it became my favorite social media platform. And then I got so good at it that I “earned” a butt-load of free high value Old El Paso coupons just for tweeting free sex to the head of General Mills! Skillz, people. That takes mad skillz.

And you too can earn free coupons for a lifetime supply of broken taco shells if you enroll in my trademark pending e-course: “Tweet Like a Ho-Bag in Five Easy Steps.”

Kidding. I don’t do it for the coupons. I do it for the love.

I also Tweet to interact with interesting people I probably wouldn’t otherwise know, like famous authors, newspaper columnists, and kitchen and bath design experts who can give me faucet installation tips and make me laugh at the same time.

Oh, hello Nick, darling. (Let’s tweet about caulk later!)

I mean, come on. Where else can I have conversations like that, in public, without being arrested or fired? I heart Twitter so hard. I really do.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

First up, let’s just explain some of those pesky abbreviations you see all the time in Twitter, because I once jokingly told HotMessMom.com that #FF meant “fuck a frog” and the next thing I knew she was tweeting photos like this:

Actual #FF photo tweeted by @HotMessMomCom. No live frogs were hurt in the making of that tweet.

Honest to Pete.

That girl is more fun than a front pocket full of peanut butter at the dog park. 

Don’t worry. I set her straight . . . eventually. Friends don’t let friends hump amphibians.

But I digress.

Four Twitter abbreviations everyone should know:

RT = retweet, the way you share someone else’s tweet with your followers

MT = modified tweet (when you edit someone’s tweet before you RT it)

FF = Follow Friday, one way to spread the love on Twitter, by recommending someone you think your followers would also enjoy following.

DM = direct message, like a private email, but less than 140 characters

Speaking of DMs, you probably see a lot of people who send out automated DMs when you follow them. They usually say things like “Thanks for the follow! For more of my awesomeness, read my free e-book, How to Be a Huge Douchebag on Twitter!”

Yeah. That.

Please don’t set up automated DMs. It makes you look like a cheese ball, and not in a good way.

Looking to maximize the visibility of your tweet and gain new followers? Add a good hashtag!

Hashtags make the topic of your tweet more easily searchable. When I was tweeting about the Emmys the other night, I was sure to include the hashtag #Emmys or #Emmysmack so that anyone following that hashtag would have my tweets show up in their search, even if they aren’t my followers.

All Tom Beringer needed was an empty chair. #EmmySmack
Leslie Marinelli


Oooh, wondering how I put my tweet into this post? It’s a plug-in called Twitter Blackbird Pie. Get some.

Only time for one more Twitter Truth, and I’ve saved the best for last!

If you want your tweet to be seen by the most people possible, don’t start it with the “@” symbol.

I’ve written about this extensively here, but in a nutshell, when you start a tweet with an @, that tweet will only show up in the feeds of people who follow BOTH you and the person you are “@ mentioning” at the beginning of that tweet.

Say what?

I know. This one is a little tricky.

And listen, sometimes you don’t want to clog up all your followers’ feeds with the details of a back and forth conversation you’re having with one person (see crack/caulk convo with Nick above). That’s when a quick reply that begins with @ is a good thing.

But if you are trying to tweet out something fabulous that you really want the most people possible to see, like a link to a friend’s blog post that you love, don’t start the tweet with their twitter handle.

For example:

This is a good example of how to tweet a link: 

I FRICKING LOVE this by @: And They Say Romance is Dead http://t.co/U4QjPkYQ
Leslie Marinelli

It would show up in the feeds of all 2158 of my followers. Actually, it would have been even better if I had added the hashtag #marriage and/or #romance to increase visibility to people outside of my reach!

But this next tweet is an example of what NOT to do:

That would only show up in the feeds of people who are following both me and @motherhoodwtf. That’s only 186 people, as opposed to all 2158 of my followers who might not all know the fabulousness that is Allison of MotherhoodWTF.

By the way, I found that number using Twiangulate, a very cool way to find new people to follow and extend your Twitter reach. Check it out!


In that handy dandy Venn diagram above, wouldn’t Allison rather have all my peeps in the yellow circle see my tweet about her post than just the tiny sliver in the middle of our mutual followers?

Yes. She would. And luckily for her, I know how to tweet for maximum visibility. And now, so do you! Yay! Group hug, bitches.

And that’s all we have time for today. Please leave me a comment below if there are any other burning Twitter questions you’d like me address in a future post. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find it. Hey, anything to avoid housework.

Thanks for being here!

Your Twitter Truth Ho,


The Best Twitter Tip You Don’t Know

I absolutely hated Twitter when I first started using it. It made me feel like a stranger in a strange land and I just didn’t get the appeal.

Several months of trial and error later (fine, mostly error), I now LOVE Twitter. As I mentioned the other day, it is the single best way I have found to quickly communicate, especially with major companies, experts, and celebrities. If you haven’t read my story about how I accidentally offered sex to the Director of Consumer Services at General Mills and received free Old El Paso® coupons as a result, you should do that now. It’s a perfect example of why Twitter rocks (and why my Mom used to wash my mouth out with soap.)

For me, Twitter came with a really steep learning curve… like learning a foreign language as an adult, minus the hot tutor. I hated that feeling of “How in the hell do you DO this?” I had no idea what TY and RT and DM and FF meant, among other things. I also didn’t know the difference between a hashtag and a hashpipe, (whatever THAT is.) But I was bound and determined to figure it out; and slowly but surely, I am getting there.

I’m still a Twitter newbie, relatively speaking, so please take my advice with a grain of salt. There are entire books and websites and Twitter accounts completely devoted to helping people learn this hot new medium. But I do know a thing or two about a thing or two, so stick around.

So far, the BEST resource I have found is The Twitter Book by Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein. It’s great for newbies like me, but it also has tons of info for advanced Twitter users. In fact, I would say that a majority of it was over my head, but at some point in the future, I hope to understand it as my Twitter confidence grows.

Today, I’d like to highlight just two basic and useful tips I have gleaned from this book and my last few months of Twitter immersion.

Step one if you don’t already have a Twitter account is to create one. Here’s a tip I did not know when I created mine three years ago: the shorter your Twitter user name, the better. You only have 140 characters to express yourself in Twitter and you don’t want to burn those up with a long user name. This is especially important if you want to be mentioned and retweeted, and believe me, you do.

Okay, the next thing you need to know in Twitter is how to use the @ sign. It’s how you mention other users so they know you are tweeting about them and the two of you can connect. But there’s a trick to doing it that about 95% of Twitter users don’t know! And it’s a real gem! Ready? Here it comes:

Don’t start a tweet with the @ sign.

If you do, your tweet will only show up in that user’s Twitter stream and to any users who follow you both, but that’s it. Twitter is all about public communication. So the more people who see your tweets the better.

This is tricky and most people don’t know it or get it, so let me give you an example. The other day I shamelessly Tweeted this:

@geneweingarten What kind of a sicko Mom teaches her kids how to make fake turds? ME! See my “Pootorial” >> http://goo.gl/fb/ipKFlless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Gene Weingarten’s Twitter avatar is a picture of a swirlie turd and his profile reads:

Washington Post columnist, Philosopher, Epistemologist, Enthusiast of Excreta-Related Humor

Be still my heart! So I thought to myself, surely a man with a turd for an avatar would enjoy my Pootorial, right? I specifically started that tweet with the @ symbol though because I didn’t want to pester my own 277 followers who had been bombarded for a week at that point with my shit, literally. {I would have sent Gene a DM (direct message), but he wasn’t following me at the time.}

Well guess what…he replied! SWOON!!!!

A fine family arts and crafts project: An easy, remarkably realistic fake turd. http://goo.gl/fb/ipKFl From @TheBeardedIrisless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

And the fact that his tweet didn’t start with the @ symbol means that it showed up in all 4,134 of his followers’ streams that very moment. If he had started that tweet with @TheBeardedIris then only our two mutual followers would have (possibly) seen it. That’s important because shortly after this wonderful tweet, I was contacted by a real live published author who follows Gene Weingarten’s tweets and enjoyed my Pootorial! No lie. But that, my friends, is a story for a different day.

But here’s more proof that Gene Weingarten is THE man. A few minutes later…

Okay, @TheBeardedIris can not only make fake poop, she blogs like the wind. Read about her labia: http://bit.ly/lhdfhMless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Best. Day. Ever.

Not only is Gene Weingarten generous, but he obviously knows his Twitter too. Gene prefaced the @ symbol with a word, any word. And that one word made all the difference in the potential visibility of his tweet.

This can be tricky because when you press the “reply” button in Twitter, it automatically begins your tweet with the @username to whom you are replying. No biggie, just insert your cursor before that @ and type something. Here’s a list of words/expressions I often use for this purpose:

  • SWEET!
  • Okay
  • Yes
  • STFU
  • Yay!
  • Nuh-uh
  • Shit
  • Seriously?
  • No way
  • Thanks! (or Thx or TY)
  • Oh hells yeah
  • Geez!

And for my two UK readers, please add:

  • Shite
  • Bollocks

Enough. Nutshell: size matters in Twitter and don’t start your Tweets with the @ sign. Oh, and don’t forget to follow me because my tweets are a lot like my love making: loud, sloppy, and selfish. No, I did not just say that. Yes I did. And it’s true. Follow me and see for yourself.

sincerely and now with extra #hashtags,


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