The language of Twitter can be baffling for the uninitiated. While each social media platform has it’s own acronyms and style, Twitter’s tends to be the most cryptic, as each Tweet (or post) is limited to 140 characters. In this post we will cover the basics of Twitter-speak and get you up to speed!
On Twitter, “following” someone means you will see their tweets (Twitter updates) in your personal timeline. Twitter lets you see who you follow and also who is following you. Followers are people who receive other people’s Twitter updates. If you are familiar with Facebook, this is similar to “Likeing” a page.
Tweets / Tweeting
A tweet is a short message sent through Twitter. Sending messages through Twitter is known as “tweeting.” Tweets are not allowed to be more than 140 characters long, including all of the characters in any links that you include. You can use a URL shortener (eg. Bitly) to abbreviate links, if they make your tweets too long. Tweets are generally public, and visible to all other Twitter users.
Direct Messages (DM)
A “dm” is a “Direct Message”. This is a private message that will only be seen by the person you send it to and won’t appear on either yours or their timeline. This can be accomplished by clicking the envelope icon at the top of your screen.
This is the friendliest form of tweeting. You are responding directly to one person, but every one of your followers (and anyone else) can read it and can jump into the conversation. Do this by typing @username, then space, then your tweet. You can also do @replies on twitter.com by scrolling over the right side of a tweet message and clicking the “flip-around-looking arrow” icon that appears.
Hashtags are a way to put conversations in specific categories. A hashtag is the # symbol followed by a word (ex: #humor). These are used when you want to participate in or follow a discussion on a specific subject or event. It’s a bit like having a separate “room” for a specific discussion such as #followfriday, #pr, #dancing #parenting #quote.
To master Hashtags, see our previous post, The Art of the Hashtag.
Congratulations! Now you have the basics down. The best way to become comfortable with this is to roll up your sleeves, fire up your Twitter account and start communicating with people. You’ll have it mastered in no time!
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