Glossary of Twitter terms from Twitter for Dummies

AFAIK: Abbreviation of As Far as I Know.

bot: An account run by an automated program. You can find good bots, such
as the ones that pull in all breaking news headlines from a media outlet.
But you also can find bad bots, which put out only generic tweets, usually
filled with links to Internet marketing sites or porn. You can often spot these
bots by a generic “hot chick” avatar or their uneven follower/following ratio
(meaning that they’re following hundreds or thousands of people but have
only a few following them back).

DIAF: Abbreviation of Die in a Fire; expresses extreme anger with a person or
about an idea.

direct messages: Private messages sent to specific Twitter users in your net-
work (abbreviated DMs).

dweet: A tweet sent while under the influence. Drunken tweeting can be
amusing for your Twitter stream, but it can have lasting consequences for
you because Google indexes all tweets. Be careful with dweeting!
early adopter: The enthusiastic people, often closely tied to the Silicon
Valley digital-media community, who tend to be the first to use a new gadget
or technology. Twitter’s early adopters, for example, are the ones who joined
before or during the SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in March 2007,
when Twitter made its first big splash.

FailWhale: The image of a cartoon whale that appears when you try to load a
page on the domain when the domain’s servers are overloaded.
In Twitter’s early days, the tiny startup was known for unreliability because
its rapid growth had outpaced its server power. Back then, the FailWhale
made an appearance as often as several times a day, and many Twitter users
casually use the expression FailWhale to show disapproval of anything on or
off Twitter that isn’t working properly. But don’t get too worried: The days of
the FailWhale’s rampant appearances on Twitter have been over for months.

FTL: Abbreviation of For the Loss. The opposite of FTW, FTL is a quick way to
show disappointment or dissatisfaction.

FTW: Abbreviation of For the Win; a quick way to show appreciation or
enthusiasm. The term comes from gamer and hacker speak. Many of the
shorthand abbreviations on Twitter have their roots in the vernacular that
arose in video games, hacker forums, or instant-message programs as far
back as the 1980s.

FWIW: Abbreviation of For What It’s Worth.
hashtag: Words preceded by the # symbol. Basically, hashtags flag something
as a keyword for searches. They’re surprisingly powerful, as real-time (but
virtual) events, and even communities can (and do) form around them. At the
time of writing, #journchat is a community of PR pros and journalists who
discuss their trade every Monday evening.

IMO or IMHO: Abbreviations for In My Opinion or In My Humble Opinion.
metrics: A way to measure what the service means for business and individu-
als as it relates to return on the time invested. Because Twitter has so many
analytical applications built on its API, you can find tons of Twitter metrics
After using Twitter for a little while, check out your Twitter grade at (
microfunding or microgiving: A means of using microblogging to raise char-
ity donations. Several Twitter apps, such as TipJoy (,
specialize in microfunding, and nonprofits, such as charity: water (www., have made Twitter microfunding a priority.
microsharing or microblogging: The niche of social media that encompasses
Twitter. Other services — such as Jaiku, Pownce, and Plurk — have also spe-
cialized in microblogging, but none of them has achieved anywhere close to
the following that Twitter has. Several microsharing services have already
been shut down by their creators.

mistweet: A tweet that you send in error, either because you send it to the
wrong person or you accidentally send a public tweet that you intended as a
DM. Either way, it’s a tweet you regret sending.

noise river: While you add more and more people to your Twitter stream,
or if you turn on Show All @Replies (in your Twitter settings), you’re going
to see more and more tweets. You may have to put forth more effort to sift
through to the good stuff. Twitter users who start to encounter this problem
sometimes start to refer to their Twitter stream as the noise river.

OH: An abbreviation for overheard. Used to anonymously quote something
funny that you heard, usually in real life. OHs look like this: “OH: ‘Did some-
body smell bacon? Because I sure did.’”
To see all tweets that are prefaced with OH, follow @overheard on Twitter.
@replies: Public tweets directed at specific people — anyone can see them
and jump into the conversation.

RT or R/T: Stands for retweet, Twitter’s equivalent of quoting. If you come
across a tweet that you want to quote, giving credit to the original user, type
RT at the start of a new tweet, put the Twitterer’s username in an @reply
format, and copy the contents of the tweet. A retweet looks like this: “RT
@pistachio Boston – outdoor skating party this weekend, Sunday at 1pm. DM
me if interested?” By putting RT at the front of the retweet, your also make
sure that everyone can see your tweet because some members choose to
turn off @replies that are not directed at them.
Keep in mind, however, that retweeting adds characters to a tweet and may
force it over the 140-character limit. If that’s the case, you might just want
to link to it directly, instead. When prolific Twitter users put out a tweet
that they want people in their network to retweet (for example, when they
announce an event or charitable cause), many of them consciously keep it
short to prevent that problem.

spammers: Spammers clutter up your Twitter stream (if you choose to
follow them) and, just like with e-mail and other Internet tools, they send
you useless content, usually trying to sell you something. Luckily, spamming
on Twitter is hard because you don’t have to follow anyone, and because
Twitter works hard to remove accounts that are trying to take advantage of
others and violating their terms of service (TOS).

tweeple or tweeps: Some Twitter users say tweeps to refer to the Twitter
community overall, whereas others use it to refer only to those in their
tweet: Either a noun or a verb. Your 140-character updates on Twitter are
called tweets, and you can also say, “I tweeted.”

tweetaholic or twitterholic: Someone who’s addicted to Twitter. Many avid
users toss this term about in a self-deprecating way if they find themselves
using Twitter more often than seems normal. Also, the term twitterholic can
refer to (, a Twitter metrics
application that measures the relative popularity of Twitter users.

tweetup: A pun on meet-up, tweetup refers to a gathering of Twitter users
organized through Twitter. Tweetups can take many forms: a get-together for
Twitter users who happen to be in the same town for a concert or festival,
locals who want to try out a new restaurant or bar, or even a late-night meet-
ing of karaoke enthusiasts.

twinfluence: Short for twitter influence. Can be based on criteria such as
number of followers, how often they’re retweeted, how many people @reply to
them, or any other variety of metrics. An actual site at http://www.twinfluence.
com that social network analysis to approximate the influence of different
Twitter accounts.

TwitPic: One of the most popular third-party applications built on Twitter’s
API. TwitPic lets you upload a photo, often from the camera on your cell-
phone, to TwitPic (, which automatically sends a tweet
that links to the picture and provides the caption of your choice.
twittcrastination: Using Twitter to procrastinate on a project or an unpleas-
twitter: Can be used as a verb (“I twittered that”) but not a noun. Note: Don’t
say “twit” (“send a twit” is never correct, for example) because of that word’s
negative connotations in some parts of the world.

Twitter squatter: Much like a domain squatter on the rest of the Web,
someone who claims the Twitter username that corresponds to a popular
brand name or the name of a famous person, often in hopes of some kind of
personal gain or monetary profit. Luckily, the guys behind Twitter deal with
these people quickly if the person or brand in question wants that name back
(William Shatner, Steve Wozniak, and others have been victims of squatters).
You’re also not allowed to squat on any account name without using it as an
active account. New users can request (and frequently receive) usernames
abandoned for more than six to nine months.

Twitter stream: The constantly updating and flowing timeline of everyone
that you choose to follow on Twitter; also called a feed.

Twitterati: A pun on literati and glitterati, these are Twitter’s perceived
A-listers whom users want to follow or be followed by. It’s a lot beside the
point of Twitter, which is to connect to the people that interest you the most,
not just the most popular. Fortunately, bona-fide celebrities are starting to
tweet, and with time, this word won’t mean very much.

twitterverse: The universe of people, tools, applications, and services on
Twitter, meaning the entire Twitter community and ecosystem of other
related things.

2 thoughts on “Glossary of Twitter terms from Twitter for Dummies

  1. it was really interesting Dummies books are my favs already.If only posterous provided the feature of "Reposting"anyways i have put this on my blog too!

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