It seems like every day there is a new term or buzzword with social media, so we thought it would be Top Twitter Terms Definitionssmart of us to take a moment and explain the most commonly used Twitter terms and their definitions. Check out the list below and if we let anything out – leave it in the comments!

  • Follower. In order for your updates to be effective, you must build social relationships on Twitter. Akin to the phrase “Friend me on Facebook,” you might hear someone say, “Follow me on Twitter.” When they do so, they become your follower.
  • Tweet. To update your followers, you send out a message called a tweet. The homepage newsfeed of Twitter automatically updates with new tweets, which are limited to 140 characters – and yes, that includes spaces, so be sure to make each word count!
  • Retweets and modified tweets. If you like another user’s tweet so much that you want your followers to read it, then you “retweet” it. A retweet (RT) shares the original message on your account. A “modified tweet” (MT) is the same concept as a RT, except you have summarized or otherwise modified the original message.
  • @mention. If you want to communicate with another user, then you send a tweet with “@” before their username and no space between the @ and their username. This is also known as an @reply. One important note about replies is if you send a mesage to me @DavidaPride then I will see along everyone who follows both you and I (but, not the general public). If, say, you were tweeting at a celebrity and want the whole world to see it be sure to put a period (.) before the @ – for instance, “.@DavidaPride, great social media seminar last week!” This would now appear to all your followers as a tweet and alert me that I was mentioned – opposed to appearing the feed of just those followers who follow both of us.
  • Direct message. Do you want to send someone a message on Twitter without the rest of your followers seeing it? Then you send them a DM – or a direct message. Remember, just because a DM is supposed to be private – that doesn’t mean it is! Circa Anthony Weiner.
  • Hashtag. You’ve probably seen phrases preceded by the #hashtag on other social sites like Facebook or Instagram. On Twitter, the hashtag refers to a specific topic, and tagging it with a “#” makes the topic clickable and allows you to view other tweets carrying the same hashtag. Hashtags are commonly used at events so attendees can communicate with each other. Many times hashtags are also used when being facetious, #Duh.

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  • Trending topics. When a particular hashtag is being used by millions of people around the globe, it becomes a trending topic. This real-time list showcases what the majority of people are tweeting about, whether it’s sports or the latest movie premiere.
  • URL shortener. Because you’re only limited to 140 characters per tweet, you’ll want to find ways to make each message as succinct as possible. URL shorteners turn long, convoluted URLs that you want to share into short ones. Tools like Sprout Social have a shortener built in – or you can use a tool like that will take a very long URL and make it a very short one.
  • IMO, ICYMI, TBQH, TFTF, TMB. In an effort to keep everything concise, the Twitterverse has invented its own acronyms. These stand for In My Opinion, In Case You Missed It, To Be Quite Honest, Thanks for the Follow, and Tweet Me Back.
  • Engagement. All of these things should lead to higher engagement with your followers and hopefully lead to more business.