Apart from actually figuring out what you want to say and how to get other people to find you interesting, perhaps the hardest thing about Twitter is figuring out all of the lingo. When you first open Twitter it can seem like a sea of meaningless letters. You might wonder if someone simply spilled alphabet soup onto the internet and pretended it all meant something.
Believe it or not, all of those letters and hashtags do have a meaning (most of the time). Today we thought we’d share five of the most common bits of lingo you’ll come across on Twitter. We hope it helps!
RT stands for “Retweet.” There are two ways you can retweet someone. You can simply hit the “retweet” button, which will automatically add “RT” to the beginning of your tweet and attribute the tweet to the person whose post you are sharing. The other way to retweet (which we prefer) is to copy someone’s tweet and, if there is room, add a little comment of your own. This would look like this:
I agree! RT @margieclayman Retweeting is cool!
Retweeting is equivalent to sharing someone’s post on Facebook – you are sharing what someone said and connecting that person’s thoughts with your own. Because of that, you want to make sure that you carefully look at anything you are retweeting. Even though someone else wrote the tweet originally, your retweet means (most of the time) that you approve of what they are saying.
Sometimes you want to retweet someone but their original tweet is too long (often because people add 5 hashtags to the end of their short tweet). If you want to retweet someone but don’t have room to fit everything in, it’s polite to use “MT” instead of “RT.” MT stands for “modified tweet.” This signifies that you are sharing someone’s main idea but that you altered their tweet slightly.
FF stands for “Follow Friday.” The popularity of this hashtag has somewhat waned over the years mostly due to overuse. The original idea was that you would recommend people others should follow. This is sort of like a LinkedIn endorsement, so if done right it can be meaningful for the people you mention. Often times, however, to get shares and attention, people will simply start listing all of their followers, and that does not carry nearly as much significance.
4. Speaking of hashtags…
When you look at Twitter you will see a lot of “pound signs” or hashtags. It’s one thing to try to figure out acronyms and abbreviations, but hashtags can make the whole Twitter experience seem overwhelming. So what is the deal with these hashtags?
It can be helpful if you think of a hashtag like a magnet. The magnet helps to pull similar content together. So, in the example of #FF, if you look at that hashtag you can find all of the people who are being recommended as part of “Follow Friday.” Perhaps you want to see what people are saying about your hometown. Searching for #yourtown helps you filter the immense sea of content on Twitter so that you can find exactly what you want to find.
Hashtags are most often used in Twitter chats, which we discussed last Friday. By using the hashtag, participants are not only keeping like ideas together, but they are also keeping the conversation unified in one place.
This one took me a long time to figure out. I finally had to ask what on earth this meant. When you see h/t that stands for “Hat-tip.” It is used when you want to credit someone for finding an interesting article. One alternative is to retweet the person as we have already discussed, but if you want to write your own thoughts about it, you can do so and then include a h/t @personwhofoundthis. That gives them credit for having uncovered the interesting tidbit while still allowing you a chance to tweet your own thoughts about it. H/t is also occasionally used on Facebook.
If you are still feeling confused, don’t worry. It can take awhile to get used to all of Twitter’s idiosyncrasies. Do not worry about looking “dumb” if you ask questions. Often that is the best way to learn. Speaking of which, feel free to leave us any questions here in the comments section!
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