Social Media Basics: Twitter Terms

BlogHer Original Post

This week I'm introducing you to some common Twitter terms. Twitter is pretty popular, but not everyone is well-versed in the lingo and it's a little daunting if you don't know your DM from your RT. As always, I welcome your additional Twitter terms and definitions in the comments on this post. I'll integrate them into the actual post.

At symbol tongue

Twitter: A social media tool that allows you to share thoughts using 140 characters or less. What kinds of thoughts, you ask? Well, everything from what you're doing to performing Shakespeare to promoting your own products and links as well as those of others. Be careful, though, and remember that nothing on the internet dies. The Library of Congress has acquired all Twitter archives. Helpful article: Twitter Tools to Save You Time  

Tweet: A message, up to 140 characters long, sharing information with or asking a question of the Twittersphere. Helpful article: What Women Do with Twitter  

@: The @ symbol precedes all Twitter usernames. My Twitter username is chilihead, but if you want me to see that you've tweeted about me, you'll need to type @chilihead.  

DM: Stands for Direct Message. This is a private message sent to a particular Twitter user, not the entire Twittersphere. To create a DM you must use the following notation (you're still limited to 140 characters):

d @username Your message

 

The 'd' tells Twitter you're creating a personal (or direct) message and not to display it to the public Twitterstream. The '@username' would be the Twitter username of the person you want to contact (e.g., @chilihead). Then you just type your message and click Send. Note that in order to send a direct message to someone, they must be following you. If you aren't sure if they're following you, try to send the DM. If they're following you, the message will go through, if they aren't, you'll receive a note that the user isn't following you so you can't send the message. Helpful article: Twitter Best Practices: Three Things You Can Do Right Now to Make Twitter Better

Hashtag: A tag that describes or links a tweet to a specific topic. The tag is preceded by the # symbol. The # is referred to as a hash, hence the name hashtag. A sample hashtag would be #blogher. Hashtags make your tweets easier to search and group if you're trying to find people discussing the same topic. Helpful articles: Utilizing Twitter Hashtags to Market Your Business

Twitter Follower: Someone who subscribes to (i.e., follows) the tweets of another Twitter user. Helpful article: Use Twitter and Facebook to Grow Your Community

Twitter search: You can find tweets on specific topics by going to http://search.twitter.com. You can search for keywords, hashtags, or even your own name.

Twittersphere: The network of Twitter users and their tweets. Sometimes called the Twitterverse.

Twitterstream: Your updates from the Twitter users you follow. Whether you use the Twitter.com interface or a third-party Twitter client (like TweetDeck), the updates you see from others comprise your Twitterstream. Your Twitterstream also includes your own tweets. Helpful articles: Twitter Tools Part 1 and Part 2  

RT: Stands for Re-Tweet which is to re-submit something someone has tweeted via Twitter. The re-tweet is usually preceded by RT. For example:

  • Original tweet: I'm giving away 5 copies of WordPress in Depth this week! Come enter to win. http://is.gd/bzj2o
  • Re-Tweet by another person: RT @chilihead: I'm giving away 5 copies of WordPress in Depth this week! Come enter to win. http://is.gd/bzj2o

Melanie Nelson writes tips and instructions for bloggers at Blogging Basics 101 and is the co-author of TypePad for Dummies. She shares tech-related news articles on the BB101 Tumblr blog. You can find her on Twitter as @chilihead.

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