Twitter Lingo Guide


Sometimes it’s fun to figure things out by trial and error, but I’m a big fan of speeding up the learning curve whenever possible. That’s why I’m giving you a run-down of some of the most common terms you’ll see on Twitter that might baffle you if you’re a newbie (yes, we’ve all been there!).


A hashtag is a # symbol followed by an acronym, word, or series of words. It is a way to associate your tweet with a particular topic. When people click on the hashtag in a tweet, it will show you a list of all the tweets that have used that hashtag. In Victoria, if you have a tweet that is about a local event or promotion, you would want to put #yyj in it somewhere. This means that your tweet will be seen by more people than just your followers because there are many who watch the #yyj hashtag. Some events will have a hashtag associated with them so that everyone at that event can use it in their tweets and easily see what others are posting from the same venue. If enough people use the same hashtag it will appear under “Trending” (see next Term).

Trending Topics:

In the right hand sidebar you will see a list of often odd-looking acronyms and words. If you click on one it will bring up a list of the most recent tweets that include that particular word. These are popular topics of the moment with thousands of tweets referencing that hashtag.


Twitter lists allow you to sort people into categories. Private lists are completely private (no one will see they have been added) and are a good way to keep an eye on competitors without having to follow them. You can also visit other people’s Twitter pages and view and follow their public lists.

Note: You can put someone into a list without following them. However, you are less likely to gain a person as a follower if you only add them to  a list. Because of this, we recommend both following and listing people.


Next to each tweet is a star symbol. If you want to save the tweet (like a bookmark) simply click the star. All your favorite tweets will then show up under ‘Favorites’.


When you want to refer to someone else in your tweet. Put the @ symbol before their username and it will become a link to their page. The person will be able to see your tweet in their mentions section. This is a great way to talk to those who aren’t yet following you. Also, if you want that tweet to be seen by everyone who follows you, make sure the ‘@’ symbol is not the very first character of your tweet.

Direct Message (DM):

This is a private message that you can send to anyone who is following you on Twitter. There are many ways to send a DM, (on Twitter go to the “Message” section, on Hootsuite use the letter d and then a space before the person’s username. For example ‘d @TerriDavies How are you?’).


When you take something that another Twitter user has posted, and post it yourself. Using Twitter’s built in Re-Tweet function, it will re-post the tweet with the letters RT in front of the authors username. These tweets will also show up in the “ReTweet” section in the right-hand sidebar under Favorites. Also common is to copy and paste a tweet into your status so that you can add your own comments about the tweet. See more about how to re-tweet and 6 reasons to re-tweet.

Follow Friday:

Every Friday on Twitter you will see people recommending their favorite “tweeps”. You too can tell your followers who you enjoy following on Twitter (and thereby give these nominees a virtual pat on the back for providing value to the “Twittersphere”). If you get a nomination, consider it an affirmation that you are on the right track with providing value to your followers. This is shown on Twitter as #FF and #FollowFriday

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About the Author

Terri DaviesI’m a down-to-earth, technically savvy, modern marketing inspired designer, educator, and coach. I’ve been working online for nearly 10 years now, and early on realized I had a knack for spotting the remarkable aspects of a person or business bringing that online. I truly love what I do, and I am happiest when I am working with my team, making beautiful things for heart-centred entrepreneurs (especially when I'm doing that from my mobile office in a tropical country).View all posts by Terri Davies →

  1. Jodi Ambrosio
    Jodi Ambrosio03-02-2011

    Terri, congrats on your new website! I enjoyed pouring over it and learning new things in the interim. Thanks for the tips and CONGRATS!!!! It all looks fantastic

    Cheers, Jodi Ambrosio

    • Terri Davies
      Terri Davies03-02-2011

      Thank you Jodi! I really appreciate your feedback, and your enthusiasm!! There is nothing better than positive reinforcement. Thanks for taking the time to poke around the site and for writing a comment. Gotta love comments. :)

Sociability is a small business marketing, social media company with a focus on mobile web design and WordPress website design in Victoria, BC. We are also a social media consultancy with social media experts that are knowledgeable in Facebook for business marketing, Twitter for small business, and Linkedin for business. We have a team of website developers specializing in WordPress website design and responsive website design. If you’re looking to use WordPress as a website in your business, or integrate social media and modern marketing into your online presence, Terri Davies and her team at Sociability will take excellent care of you. We also provide social media courses for small business and non profits.