You may be getting started on twitter mainly because your buddies use it, because your employer has requested that you do, because you need to market your home business, or just because you want to see what all the fascination is about. But no matter what of the rationale, when you first join up, it can feel as if there is something of a learning curve when you begin seeing the first tweets in your tweetstream.

It can certainly seem to be bewildering – @, RT, #, hashtags, tweet-ups, trending topics – what ARE these things? Well, in this report I will explain it all.

Almost all of these twitter abbreviations stem from the well-known simple fact that when you post on twitter, it has got to consist of lower than 140 characters. It is for that reason that space is at a premium, so there just is not space, in most tweets, to add “for the attention of…” or “I’m talking about…”.

Twitter Slang Guide

@ – pronounced ‘at’, this is going to be familiar from e-mail addresses. On twitter, it is employed as a way to direct a person’s attention to your tweet. Consequently if you wish to send a tweet specifically to Ashton Kutcher, you begin it with @aplusk Getting a tweet with @ in front of your user name means that it will turn up in the “@mentions” column on the twitter web site, or in whichever twitter programme you use. Likewise, when you utilize @, the individual whose name follows it is less likely to miss it since it will appear in their ‘mentions’ column as well.

RT – an abbreviation of ‘retweet’. A retweet is when you discover a tweet that is so good, you would like to share it with your own followers too. Unspoken twitter etiquette means that it is incorrect to just copy and paste it, rather, always retweet it to credit the initial tweeter. You do this by, if you are retweeting Bill Cosby, you start it with RT @billcosby, followed by the original tweet. These days, the kind of RT that I have just mentioned is named an “old retweet”. This refers to the fact that all those who use twitter from the website can now not retweet posts in that way. Now the only retweets available are the “new retweets”, where you have no method to add your own thoughts or commentary to the beginning. Almost all of the twitter software programs that exists will give you both possibilities, and even a newer “new retweet” which, ironically, is like an old RT but instead of beginning with RT @billcosby, it puts Bill’s entire tweet between quotation marks.

As a result of the structure of the retweet, including the @ from the original tweeter, any retweet will appear in their @mentions column for each retweet they get. So, if someone retweets your tweets, you can find out by taking a look at your own personal @mentions column.

# – a hashtag. This is utilised on twitter as a shortened way of indicating “what I am discussing is…”. So, a tweet might read “This is so comical! #frasier” or “Take a look at our latest offers #cupcakes #baking”.

Tweet-up – A tweet-up is when individuals who met on twitter get together in the real world.

Trending topics – When hundreds or thousands of people on twitter are all talking about the same thing – frequently a TV programme or a breaking news story – it can turn into a trending topic. These are featured in the right hand column on the twitter website, in most cases in the form of hashtags.

So with these basics, you’ll be able to now go forth and begin working with twitter free of fear!

Find out more about using twitter to promote your business and get hold of a totally and absolutely free ebook about twitter.

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