Twitter Lingo – A Quick Guide

Like any new communications technology, Twitter has its own shorthand. Some terms piggyback off of older technologies, some re-define pre-existing words. Here’s a quick guide to TwitterSpeak and etiquette:

  • @username:
    Twitter-Home-RepliesA form of conversation on Twitter. @username  either directs a Tweet to someone or indicates a reply to a Tweet that person has sent. When the @username begins the Tweet, Twitter counts this as a “reply” and when the @username appears somewhere else, it is a “mention”. Both replies and mentions can be viewed in the “replies” tab of the Twitter website (when you are logged in and on your “home” page; only you can see this tab).
  • #topic:
    AKA “hashtag”, this is a way to group tweets by keyword. It is particularly useful for events and groups.
  • DM or DT:
    A private (direct) tweet. Syntax: D username (note the space). Direct tweets do not appear in the public timeline.
  • Favorite:
    A “bookmarked” tweet. Consider your “favorites” as a reflection of you (“brand me”). If you’re a business or a person, sprinkle some Twitter kudos in those favorites — with the operative word being sprinkle!
  • Follower:
    Someone who sees your tweets in their TweetStream. Following is, generally, not a reciprocal arrangement like it is with Facebook or LinkedIn. However, an account holder can chose to make tweets viewable only to followers (protected account); in this instance, the account holder approves the followers. In addition, it is possible to block someone from following. A blocked account cannot “follow” your tweets but can easily see your public tweets in a search (or through another Twitter account).
  • RT or Retweet:
    Analogous to forwarding an email; re-sending a tweet sent by someone else. Courtesy: include the @username of the person who authored the tweet. Remove multiple instances of “RT” (ie, edit!). Consider revising in your own words and then crediting the sender with via @username.
  • Tweet:
    A 140-character message sent to Twitter via phone, the web, or a third-party applications. Tweet are public and can be read on the public TwitterStream with two exceptions: (1) direct tweets and (2) protected tweets.
  • TweetUp:
    A real-world meeting of people who have connected via Twitter.
  • TwitterStream:
    A collection of tweets; usually refers to the stream of tweets sent by everyone that you follow but may refer to the public timeline of all tweets.
  • Twitterati:
    Celebrity and a-list Twits (or Tweeple or Tweeters)

I’m quite certain that this only begins to scratch the surface! What have I missed?

23 thoughts on “Twitter Lingo – A Quick Guide

  1. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    D Hodge

    July 25, 2011 at 8:24pm

    No offense but this is like jibberish, where can I find this info in real human terms. Lets pretend for a second I have no idea what Twitter is in terms of how to use it, Does twitter just presume everyone magically knows all this crap?

  2. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    Al Pratte

    June 22, 2011 at 1:17pm

    Thanks for the Great info @KATHY

    Like a Twitterictionary

  3. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    HTML Developer

    May 31, 2011 at 5:56am

    simple and brief information. but what if we want to optimize our genuine tweets for SEO purpose? how should we arrange it?

  4. Permalink  ⋅ Reply

    How 'Bout Some TwittaBling | TechClicker

    February 6, 2010 at 3:03pm

    […] an online proclamation of your love.  But for those in relationships forged via “tweets”, “twitterstreams”, “tweetups”, and DT’s, a little TwittaBling could go a long […]

  5. Permalink  ⋅ Reply


    May 26, 2009 at 12:19am

    Thanks for enlightening my twitnoobness

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