Twitter 101: Twitter Terminology

Class Objective: Twitter Terminology

  • 1. Find out what everything means.
  • 2. Understand Twitter ettiquette and syntax.
  • 3. Learn what you can do with Twitter and why you might want to!

Now that you’ve setup your account you might think it’s time to starting making friends on Twitter! Nope, that’s the next post. Before you make your Twitter debut (which technically you should assume you’ll only be making once) take a second to understand everything you can and can’t do on Twitter.

You’ll save time by not having to stop and learn as you go. You can be organized from the get go and avoid any Twitter party fouls.

Twitter Term: Are you a Leader or Follower?

On Twitter you can be both!

Maybe you don’t plan on requiring a huge fan base for your business or entertainment group…but you want to find out particular information, as it becomes available – you’ll probably spend more of your time looking for interesting people/places/things to follow, then getting people to follow you.

Maybe you’re a new band (like the one that opened for the Fray – @MeeseMusic) who is looking for another channel to get their music, concerts, and other events out there…you’ll probably be looking for more followers then people to follow..


You following Someone – When you decide to “follow” someone, you’ll automatically receive all messages they post on your newsfeed (timeline of Tweets).

  • The person you follow receives an alert you’re now following them. They can then decide to become your follower too or decide maybe later.

Someone following You – Someone who will now read your Tweets in their timeline.

  • You wouldn’t add everyone as a friend on Facebook (although some people do…), don’t take it personally if everyone you follow doesn’t become you follower.

@GeeketteBits is following 655 and has 415 followers.


Ok, so now you’re ready to start tweeting. What does that even mean? Below I’ve listed common Twitter actions/terms:

Re-tweet (RT) Re-Tweeting Tweep’s Tweets – reposting a snippet someone else posted and giving them FULL credit. Now everyone following them AND everyone following you will see the message.

* Tweeps take this as a compliment as many’s main goal is to get to word out.

geekettebits Thanks 4 this info! RT:@weatherman – it’s going to rain Sunday!

fisherman RT: @geekettebits Thanks 4 this info! RT: @weatherman – it’s going to rain Sunday!

Notice the first time I re-tweeted a message someone posted. It will automatically pre-pend my message with my Twitter name – my examples are what they’d look like in someone’s timeline.

The second time @fisherman thought others could use the information and they gave credit to @weatherman delivering the news and to @geekettebits for finding it.

If you want to get your message out, make it easy to re-tweet! A lot of times I have to abbreviate a lot of the message – which takes time, each time. Short, concise messages are much easier to copy paste. (Remember you only get 140 characters, with URLs and )

*NOTE: Right now there is no re-tweet button on Twitter’s website. They are in the process of adding this functionality incorporating RT functionality into its website.

@username Within any Tweet (message), a “@” followed immediately by a Twitter name will automatically create a hyperlinked reference to that person.

Happy Birthday

That way, anyone reading the message can easily go to that person’s Twitter profile.

Mention Whenever you name drop in a tweet, normally a “@username” in the middle of a tweet. (Normally not the first word in tweet, see Replies.)

Happy Birthday
@readersdigest, hope you had a good one!

@orangecup always posts the BEST specials on frozen yogurt.

Reply Official Reply – Click arrow next to each message to respond to THAT specific message. Each message has a unique ID so other Twitter tools can easily display entire “conversation” threads.

Unofficial Reply – Replies normally start with @username in front of the message.

@Dove_Chocolate, I’m replying to an official msg OR I’m just letting you know I had a great time at dinner.

#hashtags Hashtags – a label/tag that hyperlinks automatically to other tweets with the same #search term. Twitter search is no Google search.

Interest groups use the same #hashtag to easily find each other’s tweets. Businesses use them to easily find what their customers are saying, for example: #usaa.

You can have multiple tags on the same message.

Use this code to get #FREE movies @blockbuster #movies #coupon #promo

Now everyone using the hashtags “#free” OR “#movies” OR “#coupon” OR “#promo” will potentially see my message…instead of just the people directly following me. People use this to find Tweeps with similar interests.

One very popular hashtag is #FollowFriday (or #FF) – where you let your followers know who you think is worth following. Remember you get only 140 characters so another way to let your readers know who you follow is listed below.

Timeline (Home)

The “timeline” page is the homepage which displays tweets from all the people you are following. On the sidebar (column on the right of each Twitter page)

*Notice that the screenshot in the previous section is what’s displayed in my PROFILE – different sidebars!

  • Profile Sidebar – public information, displays my micro-bio, location, website, my favorite tweets/tweeters, and friends that I’m following.
  • Timeline Sidebar – private, for my eyes only.
@geekettebits All your replies and mentions are displayed, most recent first. Quick and easy way to see who’s talking about you.
Direct Messages Links to your Inbox/Sent messages (140 characters or less) that are privately sent to and from you.

  • You can only send a DM if you are “following” them AND they are “following” you.

    *Often people ask you to follow them so they can send you a private message asking for your e-mail or other personal information.

  • Often, DMs are automatically sent when you start following them (like a welcome note.) Instead of “Thank you for following me” Personalized DMs carry a lot of weight with me although including a link to a Facebook Fan page is a good idea too.
Favorites Bookmark Tweets – lists all starred tweets, anything you found interesting or want to keep track of.

  • Star yourself as a way of filtering messages you really want people to read
  • Make announcements/filter through messages with this link.
  • Instead of Follow Friday, starring a good tweet from a favorite tweep is another way to let people know who you enjoy following.

Other Fun Twitter Terminology

Term Definition
co-twitterer Many business-oriented Tweeps have multiple people writing and responding for their account – thus the need.
mistweet Hitting “send” before you were ready, later regretting what you tweeted.
twaffic Twitter traffic, sometimes heavy twaffic slows down the site, frustrating tweeps.
twapps Twitter applications or tools to assist the Twitterer.
tweeple Tweeple are tweeple. Twitter users (plural).
tweeps Followers on Twitter (“Good night tweeps!”).
tweetheart Awww, loved one on Twitter. <3
tweeting Verb, in the process of writing a new tweet.
tweet Multiple meanings – could be referring to a specific message (“Did you check out my latest tweet?”), something you do (“I tweet a lot.”)
tweetup Organized meet up (in person or online) by someone and/or a common interest.
*Frequently accompanied by FREE stuff! (To get people there.)
twitosphere Community of Tweeps.
twitterer Person who tweets.
twittering Writing messages on Twitter.

Now that you know what it means to follow, be followed…and post and respond to tweets, check out my next post for the best people to follow on Twitter and reasons to keep in mind. We’ll also go over ways to organize those lists so you can cleanly keep track of messages without accidentally missing one. After that we’ll start talking about more advanced functionality within Twitter including responding to tweets, even when you’re not home and finding out what kind of grade your scoring, compared to the rest.

By reading my blog posts, you’ll save hours from trying out multiple accounts and functionality…take advantage of the work I’ve already done.


Feel like a Twit?


Hopefully not anymore!!

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{ Great Bits | Tasty Bytes } ...geeky girl seeks amazing culinary adventures, great deals, unknown facts, & more to blog about! Become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @geekettebits to get the latest and greatest! <3

2 thoughts on “Twitter 101: Twitter Terminology”

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