Online social media has become a simple, fast, and cost-effective way to market products and ideas; and Twitter — which allows users to send and receive short text messages and accumulate followers — is among the most popular. Like all social media outlets, Twitter comes with its own set of rules and protocols to properly use its service. Use the information below to help navigate your way through the Twitterverse.

  • @: place the @ symbol before the user name in a tweet, and it will notify that user that you’ve tweeted about them. Also, @username links to that person’s profile.
  • Activity: shows the activity of people you follow.
  • Avatar: profile picture.
  • Connect tab: shows recent Twitter activity pertaining to you.
  • Direct message (DM): private tweets between the sender and recipient when both parties follow each other.
  • Discover tab: shows you the best of everything on Twitter.
  • Favorite: saves a tweet as a favorite.
  • #FF: stands for “Follow Friday.” This handy hashtag allows you to inform other Twitter users whom to follow.
  • Follow: to subscribe to receive a user’s tweets.
  • Following: the users you follow.
  • GFF (Get Followers Fast): Avoid the sites promising you followers in return for your Twitter information. It’s likely that they will send spam from your account.
  • Handle: Twitter user name.
  • Hashtag (#): this symbol is before keywords or topics in a tweet.  Clicking on or searching for a hashtagged word will bring up all tweets containing that word.
  • Help: get support or help from Twitter by clicking the icon to the right of the search bar.
  • HT (h/t): stands for “Hat Tip.” HT acknowledges the tweet’s content creator.
  • Lists: a selected group of Twitter users. Go HERE to learn more about creating lists.
  • Mentions tab: notifies you when your @username was included in a tweet.
  • MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service): allows you to send audio or pictures from your phone.
  • MT (Modified Tweet): placed before text when users alter a previously sent tweet, like when correcting a typo.
  • OAuth: grants 3rd party access to a Twitter account without the use of a password.
  • OH (Overheard): a way to quote overheard statements.
  • Retweet (RT): a tweet by someone else, tweeted to you by someone you follow. Similarly, if you forward someone else’s tweet, you are retweeting.
  • RLRT (Real life retweet): used when quoting something said in actual life.
  • Short code: a five-digit number used when tweeting using text messages.
  • Sleep Time: the hours selected when tweets won’t be sent to your phone.
  • Timeline (TL): chronological list of tweets.
  • Tweet: a post of a maximum of 140 characters sent from a Twitter account.
  • Trends/Trending: what the popular topics on Twitter are at any given moment.

Twitter provides a platform to share ideas, network, get feedback on your product, and discover useful resources. Once you’ve gotten the hang of Twitter lingo and begin posting, you’ll be able to send your message to every device with Internet access across the globe.


About the author

Rachel Rachel Brownlow is founder and CEO of Your Written Word LLC, a ghostwriting company that helps successful and aspiring business leaders take their ideas from conception to publication. She has written, edited, proofread, consulted and/or created publishing proposals for more than a dozen nonfiction books. She also contributes to a variety of magazines and publications, including the Austin Business Journal, Austin Monthly, NSIDE Magazine and Georgetown View Magazine. You can find more of her work at