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?

Written by Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

This article has 23 comments

  1. D Hodge Reply

    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. HTML Developer Reply

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

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