The Most Common Twitter Terms Explained


There are lots of acronyms and shorthand terms thrown around in the Twittersphere. That is why I published this summary of the Most Common Terms used on Twitter; plus a mixed bag Connected Educators will find handy. Have you participated in a Twitter Chat before? Are you a Teacher new to Twitter? Then you will find these terms on the stream (feed) or when directly messaged (DM) by another user (Tweep).

★ Common Terms ★

Tweet – A post made on Twitter by a user. 140 characters in length (however analytics reveals the sweet spot is between 71-100 characters)

Follow – If a user’s tweets appear in your stream, then you are following them.

Follower – Someone who is reading your tweets

Unfollow (De-Friend) – This happens when someone stops reading your tweets. If you need to unfollow a Twitter account, click unfollow in their profile, and you have unsubscribed to their account or tweets.

@ (Reply) – The @ symbol is used to reply to a Twitter user.

Example: @tomwhitby Thanks for writing thought provoking articles that elicit deep thinking.

Username – What you are called on Twitter. Your username will always be preceded by the @ symbol.

Example:  My username is @AnibalPachecoIT

# (Hashtag) – A hash symbol is used to comment on a particular topic in a tweet, so users searching Twitter can find what they are looking for. Searching for #edtech will give you the top tweets using this hashtag. As an alternative, you can search all tweets, or use a hashtag tracking service. I currently use Twubs: @twubs because it allows me to scroll through a hashtag stream, pause it, resume and even subscribe to my favorite hashtags for free.

Link – Including a URL in your tweet. Caution should be used here since you only have 140 characters for each message. Although this restriction was recently removed, I would recommend the use a URL shortener service. Bitly is my favorite because it’s free, allows you to create URL collections, and it let you keep track of who, when and how many times your links are clicked on.

PLN – Professional (Personal) Learning Network, a group of individuals that your can rely on to help you develop yourself as a professional. They also provide a wealth of knowledge, inspiration, and support one another.

Tweeter (Twitterer) – An individual who uses Twitter

Tweeple – People who use Twitter

Tweep(s) – Twitter friends (users), your most frequently contacted friends. Think about ‘Peeps’

Twittersphere – The collective group of people (tweeps) who tweet.

Twitterati – A-list Twitter users; the Twitter élite. These usually have a large number of followers, are somewhat famous and considered thought leaders (change agents) inside the Education Twittersphere.

Some of my Favorites:

@adambellow • @cybraryman1 • @tomwhitby •

★ Action Terms ★

RT (Re-Tweet) – Reposting something that has already been posted on the Twitter stream. RT usually precedes the original post to give credit to the user who published it first.

Example: RT @plnaugle: Remember FAIL = First Attempt In Learning. Failure should be embraced as an authentic learning opportunity. #edcampusa #NT2T

*Although Twitter has an automatic RT button you can go “Old School” by using a browser extension like Classic Retweet for Chrome. A similar add-on is available for Firefox.

DM – This is a Direct Message sent to a Twitter user. However, you must follow that user before (DM) messaging them. DMs don’t appear in the Twitter public stream. They instead go directly to your Twitter inbox. *Think of this as a hybrid between e-mail, instant messaging or SMS.

• Favorite – When you favorite a Tweet it indicates that you like that specific post on your feed. You can find all of your favorite Tweets by clicking on the favorites link on your profile page. I use the favorite feature to bookmark tweets that I would like to reference later or to acknowledge a mention on my feed.

Via – This one is often used in place of RT, once again to give credit to the publisher. *Think of this as citing your sources on Twitter.

Example: Learning Technology is About Relationships – via @TeachThought #edcampusa #learnbetter

MT – The act of modifying another user’s tweet. It is considered bad etiquette to do this, unless the modification is needed to make a correction, or to add information to the original tweet.

HT (Heard Through / Hat Tip) – This one is used to add credit to the source from which you originally gathered the idea for your tweet.

★ Your Profile: Connecting The Dots ★

Your profile is the first thing people will see and a digital reflection of who you are as an individual. I recommend that your profile is public. The twittersphere wants to know what you are all about, your interests passions and if they are interested in hearing your voice. Therefore if you are trying to build a PLN and build the relationships, it can foster, What is the point of having a Private account only a selected few can see?

People will read your profile when deciding to follow you. Make sure that you crack the egg by posting a picture or avatar that represents you. Twitter assigns everyone an egg as their profile picture by default. If you do not change your picture, what does that say about your ability to contribute in a PLN? Your location is important, but I recommend keeping it to a general area. I try to give as much information as possible while attempting to retain some privacy.

★ Participation: Digital Footprint ★

Your participation is important and will determine how much or little professional development you get out of Twitter. I like to break this process down into phases to make it easier to digest.

• Phase One: The lurking (observation) phase consists of following other tweeps to get a feeling on how to tweet.

• Phase Two: Getting your feet wet, participate in Twitter chats and observe what others post and how the flow of the conversation moves along.

• Phase Three: Sharing content, adding context to the discussion. You may RT (retweet) or reply to tweets as you start to feel your way around the Twitter feed.

• Phase Four: You are now part of a larger community. You contribute content on Twitter and begin the conversation with other Twitter users.

This process is a cycle, and you will (of course) start to bring other people to Twitter. Have a great time and start building relationships through your PLN.

★ Connected Educator (Mixed Bag) ★ 

  • AFAIK – As far as I know
  • CC – Carbon Copy
  • CX – Correction
  • DigCit – Digital Citizenship
  • FF – Follow Friday
  • GAFE – Google Apps for Education
  • HW – Homework
  • HAGW – Have a Great Weekend
  • HAGD – Have a Great Day
  • ICYMI – In Case You Missed It
  • NSFW – Not Safe for Work
  • NT2t – New Teacher to Twitter
  • OH – Overheard
  • Ps – Parents
  • PBL – Project Based Learning
  • RLRT – Real Life Retweet
  • SMH – Shaking My Head
  • SBG – Standards Based Grading
  • Ss – Students
  • Ts – Teachers
  • TFTF – Thanks for The Follow
  • TIL – Today I Learned…
  • TL;DR – Too Long; I Didn’t Read
  • TMB – Tweet Me Back
  • TQRT – Thanks for The (RT) Retweet
  • TT – Translated Tweet
  • w/ – With
  • w/o – Without

If you know any terms, I might have missed, please let me know. Feel free to Tweet me @AnibalPachecoIT  I look forward to your thoughts and insights on this topic.

Share It!Email this to someoneShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest1Print this pageTweet about this on Twitter