By Request: A Twitter Primer for Milepoint Members

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by NewGamePlus, Apr 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Hey MPers, it's come to my attention through various conversations here on MilePoint that some of our illustrious members may not be familiar with Twitter and how it can benefit us as frequent fliers. It was suggested that I put together a little primer, and I'm happy to oblige. More and more companies are beginning to use Twitter in a customer service and fulfillment capacity, and I want everyone to be able to get the most out of it.

    I'll start with a basic breakdown of Twitter and how it can benefit all of us as frequent fliers, then provide an explanation of the terms you're likely to come across. Finally, I'll provide a list of Twitter accounts for various airlines, and even a few of our own prolific members for reference. If you're already familiar with all of this info, or see something I missed, any suggestions for additional info are greatly appreciated.

    First up… What the heck is Twitter?

    From their website:

    Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent messages. People write short updates, often called "Tweets" of 140 characters or fewer. These messages are posted to your profile or your blog, sent to your followers, and are searchable on Twitter search.

    Essentially, Twitter is a huge, continually evolving set of conversations carried out in 140 character messages. Sometimes its a one way conversation, sometimes two, and other times entire crowds participate.

    Ok, so how does that help me?

    Well, lots of ways. The one that started the idea for this post is quite simple though. Many companies, including our beloved airlines, have taken to Twitter as a new, more immediate customer service channel. The immediacy and naturally casual tone of most Twitter interactions also allows large, faceless companies to humanize their image and create and interact with their communities. A quick search of MilePoint will turn up a few interactions our members have had (to varying effect) with some of these customer service accounts.

    Alright, so how do I get started?

    Glad you asked! First, head over and set up your account. Once you're up and running, find a few friends to follow, and start talking!

    Uh huh… Now what?

    Well, there are a few terms you'll want to be familiar with before you go tweeting your face off to your new friends. Here, a breakdown of the most common:

    Tweet - The 140-or-less character messages that make up all of the communication on Twitter. As in:

    Did you see the latest tweet from @milepoint about Spirit's free miles?

    This can also be a verb, the act of creating and sending one of these messages, like this:

    .@wendyperrin just tweeted a great travel tip!

    Timeline - The collection of tweets from a specific account.

    Follow - To keep up with what your favorite users are saying, you choose to "follow" them, which places all of their public tweets in your home stream. This will let you have easy back and forth conversations, as well as give you access to up to the minute news and updates if you desire.

    Reply - All Twitter usernames begin with the @ symbol. When you tweet something, all of your followers can read it, as can anyone that goes searching online. If you preface your tweet with the @ symbol and someone's Twitter user name, it becomes a "reply" and is visible to those who follow you and the person you're tweeting. These are also still searchable in your timeline. They look something like this:

    @garyleff Hey Gary, I'm writing up a post on MilePoint about Twitter and frequent fliers, and I'm going to use this tweet as an example.

    As pointed out by ahow628, dropping a period or some other character in front of the @ symbol in this tweet would make it visible to all of your followers.

    Direct Message - Often just referred to as a DM, these tweets are prefaced with a "d" and are a private conversation between you and the recipient. They are not searchable, and will only be seen by the parties involved in the conversation. There's a caveat though; to send a direct message to someone, that person must be following you. This ensures that people aren't spammed constantly with direct messages, and provides a way to filter private conversations. A DM might look something like this:​

    d RPerdue Hey, have you wrapped up the post yet? We were thinking of meeting up for a drink!

    Hashtag - A hashtag (#) denotes a topic of conversation. Clicking on the hashtag itself will link you to a list of all tweets that contain the same hashtag. While often used as an ironic joke, hashtags are how groups of users create conversations about specific topics. Many users, myself included, will track certain hashtags to maintain an ongoing conversation about a given topic. In this example, Spirit has created a hash for Mega Miles to facilitate (and track) conversation about their promotion. Clicking on it will take you to a continually updating list of all tweets that contain the #MegaMiles hashtag.​

    @SpiritAirlines: Have you signed up for your 5,000 FREE* Miles? Registration ends TONIGHT for #MegaMiles events: http://ht.ly/4xUyc

    Alright, I get it! But I'm still not sure why I need this…

    Well, to be quite honest, you don't. But for people as inherently social as many of us are, Twitter offers another outlet for real time communication and interaction. Once you really get in to it, there's all sorts of fun stuff you can do, including grabbing free stuff from airlines, keeping up with people, even following specific MilePoint forums, as outlined here. And hey, its free!​

    And there you have it! I know there's a lot of information here, but hopefully it was helpful for some of you. If you have any suggestions, additions, or questions please feel free to let me know, whether here or heck, on Twitter @RPerdue!​
     
  2. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Notable Twitter Accounts

    Names in parentheses after an account denote the forum member credited for adding the account.

    Public lists will be added as well for those of you that wish to mass follow vs a la carte.

    Airlines
    Air Canada
    @AirCanada - Air Canada (Exit Row)
    @ACTopTier - Air Canada Top Teir (Exit Row)
    @Aeroplan - Air Canada Aeroplan(Exit Row)

    Alaska Airlines
    @AlaskaAir - Main Account

    American Airlines
    @AmericanAir - AA Main Account
    @AAdvantage - AAdvantage (wanderlust)

    British Airways
    @BritishAirways - Main Account

    Continental
    @Continental - Main Account

    Delta
    @Delta - Main Account
    @DeltaAssist - Customer Service

    Frontier Airlines
    @FlyFrontier - Main Account

    JetBlue
    @JetBlue - Main Account
    @JetBlueCheeps - Last Minute Deals, Published Tuesdays (Exiled in Express)

    Hawaiian Airlines
    @HawaiianAir - Main Account

    Royal Dutch Airlines
    @KLM - Main Account (KENNECTED)

    Southwest Airlines
    @SouthwestAir - Main Account

    Spirit Airlines
    @SpiritAirlines - Main Account

    United Airlines
    @UnitedAirlines - Main Account

    US Airways
    @USAirways - Main Account

    Virgin America
    @VirginAmerica - Main Account

    Virgin Atlantic
    @VirginAtlantic – Main Account

    Hotels
    Hyatt
    @HyattConcierge - Customer Service (Exiled in Express)

    Marriott
    @MarriottIntl - Main Account (dkelly1110)
    @MarriottResorts - Resort Properties (dkelly1110)

    Starwood
    @StarwoodBuzz - Main Account (dkelly1110)
    @SPGInsider - Preferred Guest Program (dkelly1110)

    Trains
    Amtrak
    @Amtrak - Main Account (Exiled in Express)
    @Amtrak_CA - Amtrak California (Exiled in Express)

    Blogs, Bloggers, and Forum Folks
    @ranflyer - Randy Petersen, founder of Milepoint (Exiled in Express)
    @GaryLeff - View From the Wing's Gary Leff
    @BoardingArea - Voices of the business traveler

    Lists and Other Resources
    @milepoint - You have to ask?
    @airfarewatchdog - Airfarewatchdog.com (wanderlust)
    @AmericanExpress - PR/Announcements (dkelly1110)
    @AskAmex - Customer Service (dkelly1110)
    @BBCBreaking - BBC Breaking News (sobore)
    @CNNbrk - CNN Breaking News (sobore)
    KENNECTED's Hotel List - 70+ Properties, mostly Starwood/SPG

    Plenty more to come. Keep the suggestions rolling in!
     
  3. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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  4. Exit Row
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  5. Exiled in Express
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  6. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Thanks for the additions! Keep them coming, and I'll be sure to add them and credit you!
     
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  7. KENNECTED
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    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    Since Airlines are covered I'll add hotels I follow.

    You can just follow this twitter list I created as there are 70+ hotels on the list.

    As I'm a Starwood person, most the properties on the list are Starwood/SPG.
     
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  8. thrashsoundly
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    thrashsoundly Silver Member

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    This is a great primer for members that don't dabble into Twitter. I still find it funny that many people think Twitter is a useless tool - besides why would anyone care what you or some dumb celebrity have for breakfast?

    Twitter for me primarily has been a way to communicate to different people around the country and world with similar interests in an open group conversation format. For me, my main group of friends and followers are all mid-major college hoops fans. We had a blast cheering for VCU and Butler in the F4 of the NCAA tournament, although it didn't quite end as we hoped. :(

    I look forward to finding a new group of friends that are passionate about travel as I am.

    There are a bunch of airports that have accounts like @bwi_airport which are great for finding info about weather delays etc.
     
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  9. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Great point thrashsoundly. I think listing airports is beyond the scope of this post, but I definitely encourage everyone to seek out accounts for any airports they may frequent.

    Oh, and I don't even know if I can call that UCONN / Butler mess a game, much less say someone actually won it...
     
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  10. Rlpro
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    Rlpro Silver Member

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    Thanks for this useful information. I've had an account for a while, but am just now realizing its usefulness. I think it is key to join in conversations and I haven't really done that...yet.
     
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  11. doc
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    doc Silver Member

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    @NJdoc

    Not worth following, of course ;)
    Yes, it's me! :)

    Twitter is essentially whatever each of you may want it to be..
    Talk to everyone and no one at the same time.
    As you might expect, It's just a tool
     
  12. mrpickles
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    mrpickles Silver Member

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    @TheMrPickles
     
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  13. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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  14. KENNECTED
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    KENNECTED Silver Member

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    I think twitter may have started off as a stupid way to say whatever, whenever (no W Hotel pun intended) but it's been a valuable marketing tool.

    I was reluctant to use it now I use it WAY more than I do facebook. I primarily use it to send out information to my followers on where I'm dining, traveling or seeing. I take a lot of photos when I'm out and about it sending photos via twitter makes my followers feel as though they are right there with me.

    I also use it to watch deals from retailers, restaurants, hotels, etc.

    It's also a great way to connect to people in a non virtual way. I've meet about 20 people, in my neighborhood, 5 which live on the same street as me in the process. One of my followers [and on foursquare] and I tweeted on similar events in our neighborhood and had discussion about restaurants in various cities and what I recommend she try on a visit to Washington, DC. About six month later, we meet at a local "tweet-up", I was dumbfounded to find out she was my next door neighbor. We'd never met and I'd never seen her because she works odd hours.

    Twitter is something you only get out of it, what you put into it.
     
  15. KENNECTED
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    Please add

    Royal Dutch Airlines
    @KLM
     
  16. NewGamePlus
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    NewGamePlus Silver Member

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    Done!
     
  17. ahow628
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    I'd just like to point out that if you tweeted this:
    and I followed you, I wouldn't be able to see that tweet unless I also followed Wendy. You would need to lead with a period or some other mark for it to appear in my timeline.
     
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  18. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    What a valuable resource. So valuable that @milepoint tweeted it up today. Thanks.
     
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  19. Wandering Aramean
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    There are a couple other lists that I compiled over the past couple years that I think might be useful to the community.

    https://twitter.com/#!/ftawards/airlines/Members is a collection of airlines and airline-related people (e.g. the Director of Loyalty Marketing for JetBlue).
    https://twitter.com/#!/ftawards/hotels/members is the same for hotels. It is MUCH larger and still barely scrapes the surface of what is available on Twitter.
    https://twitter.com/#!/ftawards/loyalty-progarms/members is sortof a hybrid but also includes accounts that are not particular to a property and are more like a brand. I'm not really sure what the difference is but it made sense at the time. :eek:
    https://twitter.com/#!/ftawards/travel-bloggers/members is a collection of 138 travel bloggers spanning the globe. While I love Boarding Area and think we've got most of the best blogs there already, it is also worth checking out these other folks. Lots of good resources in this list.
    https://twitter.com/#!/ftawards/travel-press/members is the collection of folks and publications that write about travel for a living. Probably not a perfect split between the press and the blogger lists but it is what it is.
    I no longer am affiliated with the FTAwards group nor the FTEF so I no longer have access to maintain and update the above lists, but they were pretty solid when I left them 2 months ago and I doubt things have changed too much since then. No idea if the FTEF will maintain them going forward or not.

    There is a list of folks who I know of as FlyerTalk members - https://twitter.com/#!/FlyerTalkers/ftfolks/members - that I probably do not update as often as I should, but it is a decent resource to find some like-minded folks.

    And, best of all, there is me. :D
     
  20. NewGamePlus
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    Great point. I've adjusted the language in the original post to make that more clear, and credited you. Thanks for helping me clarify!
     
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  21. NewGamePlus
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    Woah! Thank you!
     
  22. KENNECTED
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    Yes you did! LOL
     
  23. N965VJ
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    Great thread! :)

    I use TweetDeck on my laptops; I wish they had a version for BlackBerry. Does anyone have a recommendation for Twitter app?
     
  24. dkelly1110
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    @StarwoodBuzz
    @SPGInsider

    @MarriottIntl
    @MarriottResorts

    @AmericanExpress (PR/announcements)
    @AskAmex (direct customer service)
     
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  25. Wandering Aramean
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    I use UberSocial and am reasonably satisfied with it. And, I, too, use TweetDeck on my computer and love it.
     
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