For people who still haven’t joined Twitter, it can seem confusing, overwhelming, or downright ridiculous. I know many people who still haven’t joined only because they find the lingo confusing. What do all those symbols and weird words starting with “tw” mean?
There are online glossaries like Twictionary and Twittonary that track the terminology that has developed on Twitter, but nobody really speaks like that on Twitter. If they did, would you actually want to follow them? I certainly wouldn’t. This isn’t meant to be a megalist of “The Thousand Twitter Terms You Should Know.” These are the most common Twitter terms; the only terms you’ll need to know in order to make sense of Twitter, so it can be a fun experience instead of a confusing one.
Technical Twitter Terms
@(Username) – At Reply – When referring to another individual on Twitter, you can link to their profile in your tweet by prefacing their username with the @ symbol. For example, you can say something to me by adding @dianafreedman to your tweet. Go ahead, try it now.
RT @(Username) – Retweet – RT stands for retweet. A retweet is essentially a copy/paste of someone’s tweet that you think is interesting. The proper way to retweet me, for example, would be to preface my tweet with RT @dianafreedman and then send it out to all your Twitter followers. Twitter recently added their own retweet functionality so that all you have to do is click a button in order to retweet someone. Tweets with links to interesting content are the most common tweets to be retweeted.
# – Hashtag – On Twitter, this pound sign (#) is known as a hashtag. It prefaces terms that are referring to a trend or event. People attach these terms to their tweets so when others search for this trend or event in a Twitter Search, their tweets will appear. For example, I attach #LOST to all my references of the TV show Lost, #sb44 referred to the Superbowl, #ipad referred to Apple’s new iPad, and #gfail is often used when Gmail is down.
DM – Direct Message – DM stands for Direct Message, which is a private message sent from one Twitter user to another. People often use DMs when their conversation on Twitter is too long to have publicly, so they don’t annoy the rest of their followers with endless tweets, or to exchange contact information.
Fail Whale – Twitter is susceptible to downtime, and when the site goes down a cartoon image of a whale being carried by birds appears. This is known as the “Fail Whale.”
Follow – Following someone on Twitter is like friending someone on Facebook, except you can follow them without them having to follow you.
Common Silly Twitter Words
Tweeple or Tweeps – People on twitter. That’s right; people actually say stuff like this. It’s kind of embarrassing.
Tweetup – When Twitter people meet in person, sometimes as an event in a major city
Twitter Stream – Refers to the stream of Tweets you see on your Twitter homepage, consisting of the Tweets of the people you follow
Twittersphere or Twitterverse – Refers to the entire world/culture of Twitter.
Common Twitter Trends
#FollowFriday or #ff – Used on Fridays to suggest people who are interesting to follow on Twitter. These tweets often look like this: “#followfriday @dianafreedman @mashable @ovrdrv”
#MusicMonday – Used on Mondays to suggest music to your followers or shout out your favorite song(s) of the week.
#ThankfulThursday – Used on Thursdays to tell your followers what you’re thankful for.
There are several other daily twitter memes but these are by far the most common.
That is all the Twitter terminology you need to be familiar with to make sense of Twitter. The rest is just a bit ridiculous, and you don’t need to know it. At all. I mean seriously, “I twought I twaw a twuddy twawt” made it into Twittonary.com. If I ever said that on Twitter, at least 10 people would unfollow me immediately. And any blog post that lists hundreds of these words is just trying to show off their ability to create massive lists of useless information.
Which common Twitter terms would you add to this list of the most common terms used?