Here we go on the Twitter terms…
There are so many kinds of words in Twitter, but let me first break them down into three kinds of words. The first group are words that REFER to things. For example we refer to the platform as Twitter and what people “do” on Twitter is they Tweet. They are simply words that you need to know. The second group of words are actually SHORTENINGS for something, for example DM is short for Direct Messaging (sending someone else on Twitter a private message). The third group of words actually DO something. When you use these words within a Tweet, they create links to other things. Sound confusing? Sorry, bear with me here:
1. Words that simply REFER to things:
- Tweet: Is Twitter’s name for “posting a comment”, or “making a post”. A Tweet has a maximum of 140 characters and that includes each letter, space, number, everything that you put on there.
- Twitter Handle: When you sign up for Twitter, you have 2 names. The idea behind this is that there are a gazillion John Smiths in the world but to make each one unique, they each need to have a name that is different to every other person on Twitter. But they have had to become so diverse that no one knows that many of them are their John Smith. So the first name that they have can still be John Smith. There are no doubt thousands of John Smiths on Twitter. But the second name, which has an @ at the beginning, needs to be unique. I tried to fit Jennifer Peacock-Smith as my name but it is too long, so I went with JPeaSmith. Then when it was time to make my handle there was no @JPeaSmith taken already so my name and my handle are both the same (although my handle has an @ at the beginning). If another Jennifer Peacock-Smith joins Twitter she can also have her name on there or call herself whatever she likes, but she can’t have the handle @JPeaSmith. So while you can have multiple people with the same name, your Twitter Handle is your identity
- This is a super plain jane tweet: The top row is standard for each person, and is not counted in the 140 characters. At the top left is my profile picture, next to it is my name, (which includes a writing icon) and then next to that is my Twitter Handle, followed lastly by the date that I Tweeted it. This is followed by exactly 140 characters of in a Tweet. At the bottom of the Tweet there are 4 grey icons. From left to right they are:
- Reply (the arrow to the left). If I was not JPeaSmith and I saw this tweet and I wanted to respond to it, I would press that arrow and it would open up a Tweet box and I would then write a normal tweet that will answer JPeaSmith’s question about whether or not she is a bad person for going round the bend listening to the neighbour’s waling song.
- Retweet (the double arrows). If I simply like what someone says, in other words I want to repeat or endorse what they are saying, I would click this second icon. When I click on it I am given 2 options. The fast option is to click a retweet and that is all it does (retweet it as is, giving the original person credit), or to add my own 140 characters to it. Here I have retweeted Pamela Sutherland’s tweet. She still gets full credit but I appear above her. You can see that I was one of 8 people who retweeted this tweet.
- Like (the heart shaped grey icon) is a simple “like” click of affirmation. You can see that 14 people liked her tweet.
- More (the three dots). If you click on this a drop down appears giving you all kinds of options to do with the person who tweeted: Block them if you find their tweet offensive, mute them so that you still “follow” them but don’t see their tweets appear in your feed etc.
2. Words that are SHORTENINGS for something:
- DM: As I said before, this is short for Direct Message and is simply how you write to someone privately.
- RT is short for Retweet.
3. Words that actually DO something
- Tag (&Tagging or “copying”). The @ sign is used to copy, tag, alert or mention (all meaning the same thing really) someone’s Twitter account, linking it to their profile by their as well as yours. By using the @ and someone’s username you create a link to their account. Here I have Tweeted my blog post where I mentioned Rachel Thompson and Alexander Fuller who are both brilliant authors and who’s books inspired my blog. I wanted them to know that I appreciated their books and loved reading them, so I used their usernames. Both of them liked my tweet and retweeted it as did two others.
- Hashtag (#) is a different kind of tagging but instead of tagging a twitter account, we use this to tag a key word or phrase. By using the # symbol, you create a link in your tweet to all the places that that word (or grouped word) appears. So if I want to see who else is #amwriting or writing a #memoir all I have to do is click on or look up that hashtag and see what others are using the same tag. They could potentially really interest me.
For a truly comprehensive list of Twitter Lingo you can check out this post on Mashable, but quite honestly, there is soooo much on there and most of it you won’t need to know for a long while, so by all means check them out but if you don’t want to become overwhelmed then I suggest sticking with these few for now
Till next time…