In a nutshell, the # symbol is called a 'hash tag', and it indicates a key topic that you might want to find out about, and you'll also be able to find the trending topics on the right hand side of your Twitter page. I've included a video below where facebookmari explains it way better!! The @ symbol is used with a Twitter user's username e.g. mine would be @howen. It indicates a reply, mention, and / or a re-tweet, and is a form of providing links in a conversation, as well as being a type of attribution if you are sharing a resource or comment. It means that other people can also join the conversation, especially if you use a combination of @ and a hash tag. For example, I might see a great resource from @playnice about #elearning - the two symbols mean that I can re-tweet her link and other folk know that playnice found and shared the resource, and that the topic is eLearning.
Clear as mud? Never fear - the following resources should shed more light on the basics of using Twitter.
- Really liked the clarity and simplicity of these attractive, very visual, resources, which the Daring Librarian describes as follows: "An at a glance cheat sheet, feel free to pass along, use, post all under Creative Commons - Share Alike!".
- This resource, The Twitter Hash Tag: What Is It and How Do You Use It?, provides a pretty clear overview of hashtags - what they are, and where they come from.
- Wondering what 'follow' means on Twitter? This resource clearly explains it.
- If you would like a wider overview of further features of Twitter and how to use it Brent Ozar (@BrentO) has written, and made available for free download The Simple Twitter Book.