A Quick (& Fun) Guide To Twitter Lingo
On April 17, 2009, Oprah Winfrey uttered her first words in the Twitterverse. They read like
this: HI TWITTERS. THANK YOU FOR A WARM WELCOME. FEELING REALLY 21st
It was the only time the big ‘O’ sounded more like Sarah Palin. Just like ‘refudiate’ is not a
word (and Palin is no Shakespeare,) the correct term to use is Tweeters, Tweeps, Twitterers
or maybe even Tweeple, but not TWITTERS.
Oprah's first tweet
If you’re a Twitter newbie who feels like a twit for lack of the right Twitter vocab, you can
avoid such gaffes by reading this quick guide to Twitter lingo. It will have you winning
followers and tweeting with confidence in no time. Read, comment, share, retweet and then
go forth and conquer the Twitterverse.
1) Twitterverse: The Twitter Universe or virtual world of Twitter. Populated largely by
social media gurus, social media companies, social media enthusiasts and such. Oh and, of
course, there are the celebrities and losers others who love to share every minute detail of
their mundane ordinary lives every minute of the day.
Twit Tip: Robert Scoble used to be the king of Twitter till he was dethroned by Ashton
Kutcher, proving that just like in the real world, good looks get you far in the Twitterverse as
well. If you don’t believe me, ask Pete Cashmore.
2) Tweet: Messages/updates that are 140-characters long. You can tweet about anything
from the weather to your pet cat to what you just devoured for dinner. But it’s best to stick
to tweets that would really be of value and interest to your followers to avoid boring them to
Twit Tip: Think Before You Tweet. Careless tweeting has landed many tweeters in a hot
unappetizing soup or even gotten them fired from their job.
3) Follow: When you follow someone, their tweets appear on your Twitter home page.
Most people follow someone because they’re hoping that person will follow them back and
increase their follower count interested in what that person may have to say or share. When
someone follows you or becomes your follower, you achieve a cult-like status and thus boost
your ego, they can view your tweets. The more the followers you have on Twitter, the bigger
your ego influence. To ‘unfollow’ someone means that they were too dull/stupid/annoying
for you you will stop seeing the person’s tweets in your timeline.
Twit Tip: Choose your followers based on your personal and professional interests. Use the
follow feature meaningfully to connect, learn and schmooze network with others.
4) Twitter Handle/Username: This is your own unique identity on Twitter @ followed
by your user-name. The @username automatically becomes a link to your account and helps
your followers or other tweeps to identify and discover you.
Twit Tip: Choose your twitter handle wisely. While choosing something cute like
littlebunnyrabbit or narcissistic like KingOfTheWorld may seem like a good idea to you,
your potential employers may not be impressed when they look for you online.
5) Mentions/Replies: To reply or direct a Tweet to someone specific, use the @username
followed by your tweet. When the @username appears at the beginning of the tweet, it is
considered a reply, when it appears anywhere else within the tweet, it is considered a
mention. You can view both from the ‘replies’ tab on your Twitter homepage.
Twit Tip: If you don’t have any @ mentions or replies in your Twitter stream, then you are
like Tom Hanks conversing with Wilson the volleyball in Cast Away. In other words, you
are simply talking to yourself.
6) DM: Though DM also stands for Dispersion Measure, Diabetes Mellitus and Doctorate
in Medicine, in the Twitterverse, it is short for a Direct Message. DMs are private messages
sent by one Twitter user directly to another and are only visible to the sender and the
recipient. DMs cannot exceed more than 140 characters and you can only DM people who
7) Retweet: Retweeting is a good way to suck up to someone you follow repost an
interesting tweet by someone you follow, to your own followers. You can retweet by directly
hitting the retweet button at the bottom right of each tweet or by adding the letters RT
before the message to give proper credit to the tweet’s original author.