Today, we'll be taking a little bit more focused look at some specific linguistic quirks that are unique to Twitter, the microblogging network. We've talked about Twitter before - you can read about it here.

One of the most intimidating things for new Twitter users is the new vocabulary they have to learn. Twitter’s 140-character limit has led to a whole slew of abbreviations and specialized Twitter-lingo that can be difficult to pick up at first. To help with that, here’s a quick glossary of some frequently-used Twitter terms:

Basic Tweetcabulary

Tweet: n. the name for the 140-character maximum posting that a user makes to their Twitter account. In its most basic form answers the question “What are you doing?”, but can also be statements, links, anecdotes, questions, etc.; or v. To tweet: The act of writing a tweet and posting it to Twitter
Follow: vt. To “follow” someone on Twitter means to enable their updates (see: “tweets”) to show up in your timeline
Timeline: n. The chronological listing of tweets of those whom you follow that comprises the majority of the Twitter homepage when signed in.
RT: vt. To “ReTweet” is to copy and paste someone else’s tweet verbatim (or as close to verbatim) as possible. Follows the format “RT @username text of original tweet,” or “text of original tweet (via @username)”
DM: vt. To “Direct Message” is to send someone a private message that only they can see. Direct Messages do not show up in the public timeline.
@-reply: n. a way of directing public tweets to specific users, or of mentioning users by name in a way that links others to their Twitter accounts. Ex. “@username did you see that article in the NYT yet about Twitter?”, or “Grabbing a quick bite to eat with @username!”

Advanced Tweetcabulary

Hashtag: n. a way of organizing groups of tweets about particular topics. Commonly used for disaster relief, memes, and location reference. Ex. “#sandiegofire 300,000 people evacuated in San Diego County now”, or “Where’s a good place for sushi in #rva?”, “#welshfilms Breakfast at Mythanwys”
Tweeps: n. pl. A portmanteau of “Twitter” and “Peeps (people)”, “tweeps” is what many Twitter users call their followers
Twitpic: n. a third-party service that allows users to post photos from cell phones or email to Twitter
Trending Topics: n. pl. Topics that are being mentioned frequently by many users. Trending Topics are searchable and tracked by Twitter.
Tweetup: n. When Twitter users meet in real life.



Hopefully this glossary can help clear up some of the confusion you can have when you first start using Twitter.

Do you use any other Twitter terms? Give us a definition in the comments and we'll add it to our glossary!



Posted in: Social Media

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