10 words you need to know to get started

We like Twitter. We like the quick pace, the fast information, the smart and talented folks who post there, and the ability to be part of the conversation.

And as is the case with many new things, there is a vocabulary growing specific to Twitter and its use. If you’re just getting started with Twitter, here are 10 terms specific to the use of the service that will help you along your journey:

  • Tweet: A “tweet” is a single message or post to Twitter. Each tweet can be no more than 140 characters.
  • Tweeting: “Tweeting” is what you’re doing while you’re engaged in the use of Twitter. Reading others’ tweets, sending out tweets, etc. If you’re doing those things, you’re tweeting!
  • Follow/follower: On many social media and networking sites, you “friend” someone to connect with them. On Twitter, you “follow” someone. Those who follow you are your “followers.”
  • RT: RT is short for “re-tweet.” This is a way of sharing someone else’s tweet with your own followers. For instance if Megan Morris (@MegMorris) tweeted about a new restaurant opening in Nashville, I should share that information with my own followers and it might look like this: “RT @MegMorris: Local Taco just opened near the office. Anyone want to go with me to try it out?” A re-tweet is simply giving credit to the original tweet when you want to share the information you learned from it.
  • DM: DM is short for “direct message.” If you want to send a message to one of your followers without every single one of your followers seeing it, you simply send them a direct message. A DM also can only be 140 characters. If one of your followers says “DM me with your phone number,” you certainly don’t want everyone on Twitter to end up with your phone number. Direct message is the way to go for personal messages like that.
  • @ reply: An “at reply” is simply replying to a specific follower instead of creating a brand new tweet. Example: “@megmorris I’ll go with you!”
  • Twibe: There are many services online that allow you to categorize yourself on Twitter. You can log into these sites and sign up to be part of specific categories such as Nashville, Photography, Pets. The people who have also plugged themselves into these categories are called a “twibe.” These twibes can then share and receive information specific to those categories.
  • Tweeps: Your “tweeps” are the people on Twitter that you are connected to.
  • Twitter apps: Of course, you can go to twitter.com on the web and tweet all day long. But there are “Twitter apps” out there that you can use on your computer or cell phone that allow you to tweet from anywhere. Desktop and phone clients such as Tweetie, Nambu, TwitterFon and many more are popular options for using Twitter without having to have a web browser open.
  • Hashtag: A “hashtag” is a keyword or tag that ties tweets together from many users. For instance: Just this week, a popular hastag for music lovers has been #bonnaroo. Anyone tweeting about the annual music festival simply needs to add “#bonnaroo” to the end of a tweet. That then allows your tweet to be found by anyone who searches for information on the festival. Hashtags are very popular during conferences and seminars.