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Understanding basic Twitter language

Twitter is one of the fastest growing social networks on the Internet with many new users join each day. At first, Twitter may seem confusing, as many aspects of the platform are very unique to Twitter itself. However, understanding Twitter is quite simple after a little practice and interaction. Here is a guide to some of the basic vocabulary that is seen on Twitter frequently.

Followers and Following

In order to see messages on Twitter, people need to “follow” other accounts. Then, they will automatically see updates and posts from others on their home page. Other people can subscribe to you, and then they will become your followers and see what you post.

A tweet is the basic way to post a message on Twitter. This is done by typing in a message in the box where it says “Compose New

”, and hitting “

”. Then, the post will be sent to all of a user’s followers, but there is a length limit: it must be 140 characters or less.


A feed is just a list of tweets that are updated continuously. For example, a user’s home page is a feed that shows updates from all of the accounts that the user is currently following.


When the @ symbol is used in front of a person’s username in a tweet, it shows up on their feed as a way to get their attention.


DM stands for a direct message, which is sent privately from one Twitter user to another. These are limited to 140 characters as well as normal tweets.


A retweet is resending a tweet from one account that a user is following to all the followers of that user. This is usually done if a post is funny, thoughtful or otherwise worthy of sharing to a user’s followers.


A hashtag, symbolized by the # symbol, is a word or phrase to categorize a tweet and is commonly used at the end of a tweet. Users can search Twitter by topic using hashtags under the Discover tab to see who is tweeting about what and discover people with similar interests.


If many people are tweeting a particular hashtag, then it is said to be trending. The top ten trending topics can always be seen just to the left of the feed on a user’s home page. Trending topics are a way to find out important news quickly.

This is just a short summary of basic Twitter language. Good luck, and happy tweeting!

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