Basic Twitter Terms to Ease Into the Twittersphere

by Louellen Coker on April 7, 2009

Twitter. Twitter. Twitter. Matt Lauer does it, your favorite DJ tweets, and even Lance Armstrong regularly reports about his training and everyday happenings. With all the media buzz about social media marketing, you’ve likely gone out to Twitter and secured yourself a username. But, now waht? If you’re at a loss for what to do next, here are some vocabulary words to help you get oriented.

  • Twitter handle (username): the name you choose to represent yourself.
  • Follow: what you do when you subscribe someone’s updates.
  • Follow back: someone has followed you, so you may consider following them back. (You don’t HAVE to follow soemone back.)
  • Follower: someone who follows your twitter updates.
  • Tweet (update): your update that is no more than 140 characters.
  • @Reply: a public reply to someone. You do this by putting @username at the start of the tweet.
  • Direct Message (DM): when you send a private message to someone who follows you. Click on their message or put D Username at the beginning of your tweet.
  • Twitter Stream: A listing of a person’s real-time updates.
  • Hashtag (#): A tool to aggregate a conversation surrounding an event or theme. For example, I’m attending the 2009 STC Technical Communication Summit, so all tweets I send regarding that have #STC09.
  • Retweet (RT): repeat what someone has alareay tweeted (Kind of like I’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on….).

That, believe it or not is all the “vocabulary” you need to become oriented in the Twittersphere. But remember, just as in any relationship, there is a level of social etiquette that you should maintain.

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