How to Use Twitter

Twitter Terminology

Perhaps the biggest obstacle to mastering -- or even attempting to use -- Twitter is the cutesy vernacular the site uses to describe its tools and functions. So, to start tweeting, or mentioning, it's necessary to first figure out the Twitter terminology:

  • Tweet -- a message that a Twitter user posts to his or her profile page.
  • Follow -- to subscribe to another user's tweets.
  • Retweet -- to forward a tweet posted by someone else to all of your followers.
  • Hashtag -- a number sign (#) placed before a word or phrase in the text of a tweet. A hashtag creates categories for tweets, allowing users to see similarly-themed message by clicking on it. The hashtag in "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously #NoamChomsky," for example, would categorize the tweet as relating to the author Noam Chomsky.
  • Reply -- a response to an existing tweet, posted by clicking the "reply" button. The reply text automatically begins with @username (the username of the person to whom you are replying). All replies to a user's tweets are logged under the @Mentions tab on the user's home page.
  • Mention -- a tweet update that contains @your username anywhere in the body of the tweet. Both new tweets and replies can be considered mentions.

Now that you know the lingo, click to the next page to get your Twitter conversations started.