Twitter Terminology and Glossary – What you need to know

Here we are at our third installment of Twitter Tuesday. So far we have covered my top 10 backgrounds, as well as how to be productive while using twitter. After receiving quite a few questions on the web and twitter about what things mean, I thought today I would cover the twitter terminology and lingo by creating a glossary. I did find a few on the web, but most were incomplete and don’t include some common phrases. Again if I miss any out, please let me know and I will be happy to add them.

Tweeps, twitterati, twits
However you want to tag us, ultimately we are talking about a signed up user. Collectively users may be know as the twitterverse or twitterworld…

To tweet is to send a message / post. These are limited to 140 characters per tweet and these can be seen by all of your followers, or anyone or clicks on your twitter profile page. To maximise your characters, I would advise using a url shortening site such as if you are posting a link.

To follow someone, is to ‘sign up’ to their updates. You will be notified of every tweet they make. There avatar may also show up on the right had side of your twitter profile page. The number of people you are following will show up in the top right of your twitter profile page.

Followers are a list of users that are following you. They have chosen to do so and are hopefully interested in what you might have to say. Rightly or wrongly trust on twitter can be based on followers. However I would urge you it is not a race or competition! Remember to interact with ‘your community’ by responding to @replies etc.

If you type @username, i.e @stuartflatt at the start of a tweet, it is deemed as an @reply. It notifies the user that you are speaking directly to them. Don’t forget though thats these tweets are still public and can be seen by all of your followers. You can send an @reply to anyone and the @username is included in the 140 characters limit.

Slightly different from at @reply. You can also put an @ in the middle of the post. This may be to reference someone and will automatically create a link to their twitter account. These are most commonly used in ReTweets and #followfriday.

Direct message
A direct message is a private message between you and another individual. You may find you get direct messages when you follow someone and it may be automated ‘spam’ promoting their product. I would suggest not clicking the link and decide if that user is of real value or not. Most people tend to use @reply because it is deemed more open and acceptable. You can only direct message someone if they are following you.

To RT or ReTweet is to share another users tweet and promote it amongst your followers. Say someone writes a tweet that might be funny or include an interesting article, you may wish to ReTweet this. Remember though, by ReTweeting you are in a way endorsing that link or quote so make sure you check it first. I would suggest using RT, it is more widely accepted and keeps your character limit down.

#followfriday is a way for you to share with others who you think is worth following. I believe it was originally started by @micah and ultimately it is a casual referral process, and if used properly can be a great way of connecting with new people. However I would urge you not to just create a long list of names! Take your time, just offer a few names per week and a short synopsis on why you recommend them.

Well that’s all that I can think of, however if you have any questions or feel i have missed some out please feel free to message me on twitter or post a comment below.