The Reality of Doing Blog

What the @ is twitter? (part 2)
February 19, 2009, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Posts | Tags: ,

Have you started following people? Are you getting followers? I hope so. In this post I’ll share some of the basics of how to use twitter.

@ Replies
One of the first thing you’ll notice when you start using Twitter is how many comments come across with @username in them.

If you’re on the Twitter web site or using a application like TweetDeck, each of these @username’s is a link to a person’s profile.

According to Jennifer Laycock at Search Engine Guide

Since Twitter is basically a broadcast communication tool, users need a way to let the world know they’re writing a response to a specific person. This is where @username comes in. If I want to let Twitter users know I’m speaking directly to a specific person, I would use @username in my post. This not only tells the world I’m having a conversation with that one person, it also makes sure the post shows up in their “replies” area on their Twitter home page.

But, Twitter isn’t just about sending out your own thoughts, it’s also about engaging other users in conversation. This is why @username is so handy. Any @username message that you post will appear in that persons feed. @ messages are things that you want people to read and comment on.

Sometimes you want to communicate directly with another twitter user and then you can use the direct message option.

Direct Messages
Direct messages are a way to communicate directly with someone on Twitter. You simply type d username message text into the tweet box. This message will go directly to the person, and not appear on their feed. Think of this as if you were sending someone a text message. Many twitter users get their direct messages sent as a text to their cell phone. So if it’s not something that you would send someone as a text on their phone, consider sticking to an @ message. (In an upcoming post, I will share the top three mistakes people make on Twitter. I attended a fantastic webinar hosted by @lkr and I’ll post some of this things that she talked about.)

Brevity is the source of wit…
Because you only haver 140 characters (just like a text message) sometimes you have to get creative with your abbreviations to get your full message across. Below are some common abbreviations you may see on Twitter, and what they mean. (many of these will be the same as those in the world of texting)

The following is taken from a blog post from Alexander Howard at Pistachio Consulting: Top 15 Twitter Acronyms

RT = Retweet. RT is the FWD of 2008

PRT = Partial Retweet / Please Retweet. In the first sense, PRT means the RT’ed tweet has been edited, usually to fit a username within the character limit.

OH = Overheard. OH is commonly used at conferences or while traveling. OH indicates a quotation of someone else’s remarks.

DM = Direct Message. DMs are Twitter’s email. “DM me” means take the discussion private. Twettiquette suggests long conversations should go into DMs.

@ = Reply to [username]. @ can also be used expressing ‘at,’ as in location.

BTW = By The Way. BTW is an easy way to add an aside. It’s Twitter’s version of a segue.

FTW = For The Win. Whatever the action or product FTW modifies is *good*.

FTL = For The Loss (or For The Lose). FTL is generally an expression of disappointment, disapproval or dismay. It’s the opposite of FTW.

IRL = In Real Life. What’s true on Twitter may not be true IRL. After all, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.

FTF = Face to Face. FTF or F2F refers to an actual meeting in person, IRL. That can mean at a tweetup or other occasion where you might encounter other Twitterers.

IMHO = In My Honest Opinion. IMHO usually indicates that this is an op-ed tweet, not a factual assertion.

YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. In other words (IOW), what’s true in my experience (IMX) may differ from yours if you try ____ product/service/technique.

BR = Best Regards. BR is a useful way of being cordial, particularly when making a difficult request, submitting a complaint, or when introducing yourself. b/c = because. b/c is not the same as the blind carbon copy (BCC) used in email.

JV = Joint Venture. A JV refers to a collaborative enterprise between Twitterers on a project.

LMK = Let Me Know. Tweet me back (TMB) when you have more information about a question or a decision on a request.

There is also a wiki called the Twictionary where you can find more commonly used terms.

In my next post I’ll talk about how actors can tap into the Twitter community and start building relationships with other creatives on and off-line.

I’m at @sethcaskey. Let me know if this was helpful. I’d love to start a conversation with you.


What the @ is twitter is a multi-part series introducing actors to the world of twitter.


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