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Feb 09

Twitter – Lesson 6/7: Getting familiar

In this section I want to acquaint you with the usual commands and terminology of Twitter. When you first start, there are a lot of words which you may not know, but let me explain. If you’re interested in this topic, please read the other parts of this series.


A Tweet is called the message you send on Twitter. It is the main word for everything, you type in in this little update window. A Tweet can be a single statement, an answer to someone or also a status update for Facebook.


A Follower is someone, who subscribed your updates or wanted to and you have to confirm that he can receive them. But compared to other social networks following someone is not the same as a friend request. Just because you subscribe his updates, you won’t automatically get his updates too.


Following means nearly the same as Follower, but in this case you are the person who subscribes someone’s updates.


Tweep is a word rarely used in the German Twitter community. It has several meanings, first the verb to tweep is a synonym for to use Twitter. Another meaning is the procedure if someone follows you and he follows back. It’s a case of politeness. At last, some users call you a Tweep to give you a compliment for being a nice follower.


A ReTweet is called a Tweet, which has been forwarded to the own followers. It’s similar to an email you received and forward it to your colleagues. There are two different kinds of ReTweeting – the old and common way is to place an “RT @user” in front of the original Tweet. This will first give a notice to the author that you’ve spread it and inform your own followers who it wrote. Another benefit for using the old possibility is that you can add a comment divided to the original tweet by a slash or pipe (|).

The second possibility is using the new built-in ReTweet functionality of Twitter. This will quote the original message, but leaves a note at the end of your Tweet. By using this feature, you have also full 140 characters, even if you send a Tweet or ReTweeting someone else. But it could be a disadvantage in case you’re using a desktop client instead of the web interface. Although this functionality exists since about four month, there are only a few third party applications which can handle new ReTweets.


By replying on someone’s tweet, insert a “@user” in front of your message. This means an answer to this author. A reply can only be seen by the addressed user and your followers who had subscribed him. This is useful for not receiving incoherent messages. (But users who aren’t logged in can still see these messages.)

Direct Messages

For contacting a user privately you can send him a direct message. This is possible by writing “D user” before typing your message. These messages can only be seen by you and the receiver. Both have to follow each other.


Creating Lists is a method for grouping your followers into a topic orientated case. On your profile, others can see on which lists you are assigned to and are able to follow the whole list. This feature is sparely used.


Instead of grouping users on a list, Tweeps can also group single messages by using a hashtag. A hashtag is a hashmark (#) followed by a keyword.   Most common is #ff for a commendation during the Follow Friday. A modified use of hashtags is made by Facebook where you can update your Status by a Tweet containing #fb.

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