Twitter terminology

Twitter terminology

  • Follow: Following another user means that all their tweets will appear in your feed. Click their user name, and their profile will appear on the right of your screen, with a bright green Follow button. Click this to follow.
  • Who to follow list: A list of Twitter’s suggestions of people or organisations that you might want to follow, based on points of similarity with your profile. Scroll down the list and click the green Follow buttons as required.
  • Unfollow: To stop seeing someone else’s tweets, go to your following list and find that person and hover the cursor over the green Following button until it is replaced by the red Unfollow button, then click.
  • Block: Sometimes a spammer or other undesirable may appear in your Followers list. Click the head and shoulders icon next to the unwanted follower’s name so that the ‘Block [their name]’ option appears – click this and they will be removed from your Followers list.
    For any form of undesirable user it’s a good idea to also click ‘Report [their name] for spam’ so as to limit their capacity to annoy others. You should look at and weed out your ‘Followers’ list regularly. Twitter shows the new followers at the top of the list.
  • Retweet or RT: To share somebody else’s tweet that you have seen in your feed, hover above it and select retweet. It then goes to all your followers, with a small arrow icon, which shows others that this wasn’t originally your tweet.
  • Reply: To respond to somebody else’s tweet, hover over it and select the Reply option, which will then appear in their @Mentions column. They may also reply to you, so check your @Mentions column.
  • @: Used in tweets when you want to mention another user. Also the first part of every Twitter user name - for example @LSEimpactblog
  • Mentions: Check your @Mentions column to see when others have mentioned you.
  • #: Hashtag – used to categorize tweets. Popular topics are referred to as trending topics and are sometimes accompanied by hashtags, such as #london2012. Click on any of them listed on the home page and you’ll see a list of related tweets from many different users. Including popular hashtags that are already in use in a tweet may attract more attention. Hashtags are also used as part of ‘backchannel’ communication around an event. An event audience can share comments, questions and links with each other while continuing to follow the formal presentation.
  • Direct message or DM: These are private messages that you can send to other Twitter users. Click the Message menu at the top of the home page.
  • Shortened URLs: Web addresses can be rather long, free URL shortening sites such as bitly.com and tinyurl.com provide shorter links which you can paste into tweets. Copy the web address of the page that you’d like to share, paste it into the box on either site, and you will be given a short link which will re-direct anybody who clicks on it back to the original page you want to share.

Creative Commons License
PILOT - Communication, using Twitter in university research and teaching by LSE Public Policy Group and Marion Kelt, GCU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/files/2011/11/Published-Twitter_Guide_Sept_2011.pdf