The 5 Best Twitter Features You Aren’t Using Yet

Twitter is full of hidden gems.  We know because on our Twitter test, there are some questions that almost nobody gets right — meaning almost nobody knows that these certain tricks exist.  Remember this post about little-known Google search tricks?  We used the same methods to find some cool Twitter features.  We’ve also gone searching to the far corners of the Internet to see what else users have turned up.  Turns out Twitter has some surprising features that can help you do anything from finding new friends to following people without really following them.  Read on to find out how.

  • The Fast Follow Program
    Don’t have a Twitter account, but know about one or two accounts that you’d like to follow?  Or maybe you do have one, but there’s an account whose tweets you’d like to have sent directly to your phone.  Twitter’s made it easy with this program — just text “Follow @username” to 40404 and you’ll start receiving the tweets directly as text messages.  This is great for receiving emergency information or news updates from a couple of trusted sources without having to go into Twitter every time.
  • The Twitter Chat Google Doc
    Want to find some people interested in talking about the same things you are?  Check out this google doc that lists more than 600 Twitter chats taking place on every topic from college fashion to parenting to Indian politics to Business Card digitization (really).  The Google doc is organized alphabetically by hashtag and includes a contact handle for each chat, as well as the day and time the chat takes place each week.  If you’re trying to get more into the social aspect of Twitter, this is the place to go.
  • Shortcuts
    Twitter is all about saying something fast — you only get 140 characters, so you have to be concise and to the point. So why should you spend any more time than you absolutely have to clicking around on the site? For example:

    • Search “keyword?” to find only tweets that ask questions about a certain keyword.
    • To send a direct message, press “M” or simply compose a new tweet starting with “D”.
    • Type “GH” to go to your home page.
    • Type “?” to see a pop up list of keyboard shortcuts for Twitter.
  • #WelcomeToTwitter
    You can personally let new Twitter users know who you think they should follow!  Just create a list and put #WelcomeToTwitter in the description.  That way, when someone signs up for Twitter from your page, they’ll get your list!  Don’t let whatever weird algorithms Twitter has developed tell people who to follow — give them the real scoop on who’s interesting and relevant.
  • Advanced Search
    You probably automatically think to use Advanced Search when you’re, say, searching a library database or something.  But Twitter?  Not so much. Actually, this tool can be really helpful and surprisingly specific. To get to the search, type something into the search box and press enter.  When the results come up, click on the gear button in the top righthand corner and select “Advanced Search.”  You can search for tweets from specific accounts, locations, languages and even moods — the search gives you the option of positive ( :) ), negative ( :( ) or questions.  So if you really need to find someone tweeting happily in Hungarian from the Cape of Good Hope, you’re in luck.

Did we miss any other cool Twitter features?  Let us know in the comments or tweet @Smarterer!

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