Following someone means you'll see their tweets. However, if follower A is chatting with Follower B, and they 'reply' to one another, unless you're following both, you'll only see one side of the conversation. There's a little icon in TweetDeck that will let you see what follower A is responding to, if you're really intrigued.
What I don't understand is the people who tweet, "I've just unfollowed everyone who isn't following me." Or "If you don't follow back, I won't follow you." I don't get that. Do I really care who follows me? Unlike Facebook, which has a ceiling for friends, Twitter doesn't. My take: anyone who wants to follow me can follow me. If you require I reciprocate, well…then don't follow me. You won't hurt my feelings.
Pet peeve: people I follow who spend most of their time in what should be private conversations between the same 2 or 3 people. I have a separate list for these; they're worth keeping because they also provide good content.Retweets. This is supposed to be a good way to pass on information. If I see something that I find interesting, I can click a 'retweet' button and the same information, crediting whoever posted it, goes into the treatstream, widening exposure. Because now everyone who's reading MY tweets will see it, even if they're not following the original poster.
Pet peeve here: The 140 character limit is easily exceeded when the twitter id of the original poster is added to the mix. So, you either have to fiddle with the tweet (which eats up time) or not retweet it at all. If you want something retweeted, keep it short! Especially if your twitter name is long.
Direct messages. If I want to send someone a private message, I can choose this option. To me, this should be used when I'm asking a question or telling someone something that's not really meant for the entire twittersphere to see. Or be bothered with. If I need to get in touch with someone, and I know this person hangs on twitter more than they check their email, I might use this option.
Pet peeve here: You can't send someone a Direct Message unless they're following you. So don't send DMs to people who aren't following you and expect an answer!
Another pet peeve. People who mirror their tweets to Facebook (wasn't sure where this bit belongs, but since I didn't mention it in my Facebook post, I'll mention it here.) There's such a difference between what kinds of things work best on each network, that looking at a Facebook page full of Tweets is a turnoff. It's not telling me anything about the person, which is what I think Facebook is best at.
Notifications: If you don't want to be interrupted, you should turn off the notification sounds. I have mine set so I only hear a sound for a direct message, or for family. Most of the rest, I figure, can wait. It's too easy to stop what you're doing when you hear a chirp. You can also get email notifications of tweets – that can be a real time-waster, because if you're like me, unless I'm totally nose-to-the-grindstone, I do get little waving flags that catch my eye when I have new messages. After all, it might be from my agent. So I turn off almost all of those notifications. I do use them to see when someone new follows me, which isn't often enough to interrupt my schedule. Same for direct messages.
Hashstags. People categorize tweets by using the # symbol (careful not to leave spaces). That way others can zero in on a specific topic. For example, when I was doing my reports on the NOOKcolor, I'd include #nookcolor in the tweet. When someone searches, they'll find all those tweets whether or not they're following you. Think of it kind of like a Twitter search engine. Kind of like Google Light.
Causes Terry Odell Supports
Pro Literacy Worldwide, The Nature Conservancy, The Adult Literacy League, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society