I was recently working on some things with a client and did a quick Google search for a comprehensive list of Twitter terms, phrases, and abbreviations. I was shocked when I couldn’t find a good one. So I decided to make my own.

'Twitter' photo (c) 2011, Andreas Eldh - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

If you’re completely new to Twitter or even if you’ve been around a while, I think you might find this list helpful.

I give you…

My Twitter Glossary:

Your Twitter bio photo. (Avatar is sometimes shortened to avi.)

You can block a Twitter user, which prevents them from seeing your tweets and you from seeing their tweets to you.

Short for Direct Message. When two people follow each other, they can send direct messages to each other. These are private tweets that are not visible on the main timeline.

Fail Whale
When Twitter is so overloaded that it can’t function, their error page comes up with its iconic image of a whale.

When you follow other people on Twitter, their updates will appear in your timeline (or twitter stream).

Your Twitter name (or username).

The # symbol before any word or phrase (with no spaces or punctuation), which makes it searchable on Twitter. These are used to track tweets for specific events or topics; clicking on the hashtag will search for all tweets that include it. Hashtags are also frequently used as a funny add-on at the end of a tweet.

When someone mentions you on Twitter, either tweeting to you or about you. Also called an “at reply” (@reply). All of these are visible in your mention stream on Twitter.

Overheard. Often this will come at the start of a tweet, followed by a quote of what was overheard.

Some Twitter users have their accounts set to private. This means they must grant permission for you to see their tweets.

When a user answers back to another on Twitter. Also called an “at reply” or “@ reply.” When someone clicks the reply button to respond, the entire Twitter conversation remains linked and can be easily followed.

Retweet. This is the biggest way to show love on Twitter—passing along what other people say. Twitter’s original/old way of retweeting forwards it on exactly as is. The new/modified way generates a new tweet with RT at the beginning of it and gives you the opportunity to add your own thoughts to the tweet. When tweeting something you’d specifically like to get passed along, be sure you leave enough remaining characters for others to RT it.

Use the search function to see what people are tweeting about. You can search topics, names, @handles, hashtags, etc.

When someone tweets a link to you, but is not following you. Typically the link is for something they are selling. You can select the “report as spam” button which will block that user from tweeting you again and automatically reports them to Twitter.

Star / Favorite
Check the star symbol next to a tweet to mark it as a favorite. This can be used to save an interesting tweet or to remind you of something you want to look more into at a later time. You can view all your starred or favorited tweets from your profile.

Trending Topics
The most popular subjects on Twitter at that moment.

A single update on Twitter.

Twitter stream / Timeline
Main feed of tweets from people you are following.

An in-real-life gathering of Twitter friends.

Twitter Party
A virtual party, typically arranged by a blog or brand, where Twitterers gather at a certain time to discuss a specific topic. Typically a hashtag is used, making it easy to follow along with the tweets.

URL Shortener
Tool to make URLs (website addresses) shorter — easier to fit in a 140-character tweet.

Via / HT
Used when a link or thought comes from someone else and the Twitterer is giving credit. Typically it is added at the end of the tweet, as “Via @handle” or “HT: @handle”. The HT stands for “hat tip”, as though you’re tipping your hat in the direction of the person you got the idea from.

This hashtag is used by people who have installed an application on Facebook called Selective Tweets. Tweets ending in #fb are automatically imported to Facebook, but all others are ignored.

Follow Friday. People use this hashtag when they are making suggestions of people for you to follow.

Can you think of any others?
What else should be on this list?

If you missed my post on Twitter pet peeves, click over to read it >


Ashley Elizabeth

20 December, 2011

MT= Modified Tweet - when you to fit the 140 character limit modify another's tweet and post to your timeline NP= Now Playing (oddly, I see this the most in tweets covering campaign events) TCOT= Top Conservative on Twitter - I have no idea how this one got started, and it needs to go away, but I have to deal with it while it's here. Lots of early political users to Twitter still use this one.

    Trevor Roberts

    20 December, 2011

    NP - Now Playing as in the song they are currently listening to? Interesting that you see that come up a lot in tweets covering political campaign events! How is TCOT used in tweets? I might need an example on this one! And I might need to start following some political people... I don't think I follow any!


20 December, 2011

YBCYBYTY: You better check yourself before you tweet yoursef :) Similar to you: Twitter's creepy feature that shows you who is similar to you Who To Follow: Twitter's other creepy random recommendation engine.

    Trevor Roberts

    20 December, 2011

    YBCYBYTY?! Seriously?! That makes my head hurt. (And reminds me of TCBY frozen yogurt…) I agree on the creepy factor involved in the similar to you/who to follow features. Also, I don’t understand why the “similar to you” list is almost always people I already follow. No help there at all.

Make money on twitter | Tweeternaire

28 December, 2011

I've been trying to log onto my twitter account for 3 days now, however every time I type in my username and password I get a message saying: 'Twitter is over capacity'. It doesn't matter what time of the day or night I log in, I always get this message, sooooooo frustrating! Does anyone know how to bypass this??

Leave a Comment