Scanning my Twitter feed this morning, I did a couple of MTs and PRTs, asked a follower about TMB, and left SMH on some trolls I found, so I said BFN to Twitter.
Didn’t you understand what I was just saying? Don’t worry – that was a gobbledy gook for me too.
Twitter has rightly become a social network with a language of its own. When you only have 280 characters to say what you mean, every word counts.
And don’t just take our word for it. For the best engagement results, Twitter recommends keeping tweets short and also chatty.
Therefore, my friends, marketers need to be familiar with the language of Twitter.
When I went to Google every time I checked out my Twitter feed, I knew it was time to write down some definitions so I could learn the language on my own. That’s exactly what I did. And what kind of inbound marketer would I be if I didn’t share this great content with you too?
Here are some of the most popular Twitter slang terms that you should know about. Try to avoid the temptation to use them all at once when you can find a few to incorporate into your next scheduled tweets for your Twitter marketing campaign – a little goes a long way.
Twitter Terms You Should Know
- FF or #FF
- Period before @mention
- trending topic
- Tweeple, Twerson and Twitterverse
- Don’t follow any more
If you want to “tag” someone in a tweet or direct message on Twitter, you can do so by mentioning them by their Twitter username. When you add this mention, you will receive a notification in the “Mentions” section of your account that you have done so. Essentially, this is used to have conversations with people on Twitter.
This symbol is known as the pound button on Twitter and a hashtag on Twitter. It is used before other words in a tweet to provide context or to make it easier for users to find specific topics on Twitter. But be careful not to over-label your Tweets – one or two are likely enough.
Forbes defines bots as “a social networking account powered by artificial intelligence”. Bots are different from trolls because they’re not humans – they’re scripts written by humans waiting to pounce. But every now and then you stumble across bots that are made for pretty cool stuff.
A “DM” or “Direct Message” is a private message between two Twitter users. It’s different from a public @mention in that the recipient must follow you to send a DM.
Your Twitter feed (known to HubSpot customers as the “Timeline”) is a list of Tweets that is constantly updated when you see new Tweets that match the criteria you specify. Your home feed is updated every time you follow tweets.
FF or #FF
#FollowFriday was started to recommend other Twitter users to your followers. It happens on Fridays and you can search for the hashtag on Twitter on Fridays to see the kudos pour in.
A “follower” is someone who follows you on Twitter and sees your updates on their home feed. Just because someone is following you doesn’t mean you have to follow them the way other social networks work. However, if you want to find some insightful marketers to follow, here is a helpful list to get you started.
Period before @mention
This is the only mistake almost everyone makes on Twitter. If you tweet @username without a period, only your mutual followers (in other words, people who follow you and @username) and the person you are tweeting with
will see it in their streams. However, add a period before @username and all of your followers will see your tweet on their streams.
A “partial retweet” is similar to a modified tweet, but lets the reader know that you’ve taken out some of the original ideas of the tweet, either to save space or to add your own dime.
When you reply on Twitter, you are replying to a specific tweet in which someone @ mentioned you. Unless it’s a direct message (DM), anyone can see a reply whether they follow you or not.
A retweet is the basic form of currency on Twitter. If you see “RT” before a tweet, it means that the person found the content valuable enough to share with their followers. If the original tweet is yours, it’s time to go!
Beware! Trolls are people on Twitter who abuse the service by spamming users with off-topic tweets and other unpredictable behaviors. Trolling is a form of harassment on the Internet. So, if you think someone is trolling you on Twitter, here’s how to take action.
Tweeps are Twitter people who follow each other from one social network to another. It’s not uncommon for the people you be friends with on Facebook to also follow you on Twitter – they would be your tweep. It’s a Twitter version of “Peeps”.
Probably the most common Twitter term. Any update that you post to your followers on Twitter is known as a tweet. Each tweet has a limit of 140 characters. Remember: your tweets are public and anyone on Twitter can search them, even if they aren’t following you. Even CEOs may be listening to your tweets.
Trends or trending topic
Any person, place, thing, or idea that many people are tweeting about at the same time is considered a trend. You can find trends on the left side of your Twitter homepage and you can even customize which trends you see based on where you are and who you are following.
Tip: are you a local business? Connecting with users who are in the same geographic location is a great way to get more business value from Twitter.
Tweeple, Twerson and Twitterverse
In the truest sense of the word, the people (or the singular person) who make up the huge Twitterverse (universe!) Of Twitter users.
Don’t follow any more
Just like someone can unfriend you on Facebook, people can choose to unfollow you on Twitter so your tweets no longer appear on their feed. However, be careful if you are aggressively following or not following users – this is a great way to get banned from Twitter.
This term is sometimes used in place of “RT” to let people know where your content came from and to give credit to the original content creator.
Twitter slang you should know
- Crank tweet
- IMO or IMHO
- TBH or TBQH
Twitter terms are helpful for anyone new to the platform or creating a profile for their company. However, Twitter slang is helpful to be aware of so that you can better connect with your audience. Knowing some of the slang terms used in tweets will help you join the conversation with your followers without sounding out of place.
Status updates are a common reason for a lot of the tweets we see on our timelines. As a result, you may have seen the acronym “atm” used to refer to anything other than money. This stands for “in the moment” and should not be confused with an ATM.
Some Twitter users like to tell stories in their timelines, and a transition phrase used in those narratives is “at this point”. With only a limited number of characters per tweet, users can abbreviate words anywhere they can, so “atp” may take the place of that phrase.
If you’re on a Twitter conversation, you can politely sign out by saying this, which means, bye bye for now. This will let the other person know that you are opting out and that further Tweets will remain unanswered for a period of time.
Just like email, there is something to say about social media etiquette, and “Sincerely,” is another nice, commonly used sign off when you leave a conversation on Twitter.
Breaking culture has been around for nearly half a decade and it’s very popular on Twitter. It’s usually reserved for high profile members of society such as celebrities, politicians, and influencers. If these individuals behave in a way that disrupts expectations (whether reasonable or unreasonable), Culture Twitter may cancel them. There are different opinions about the culture of abandonment.
Do you remember when you used to make prank calls? (Come on, don’t be shy – everyone has at some point.) Well, crank tweets are the new prank calls, except in writing. They are misleading tweets that were intentionally tweeted.
It’s very simple: it’s short for “email me”.
When someone comes in to save the day on Twitter, they may be complimented with tweets directly mentioning them, followed by “FTW!” This stands for “for the win” and is derived from sports games in which the commentator announces the name of a player who has achieved the game win point.
Fub free means “follow, don’t follow, block” free. Some Twitter users add this phrase to their Twitter bio to let followers know that if a follower doesn’t follow their account or blocks it, they won’t be upset or get back the favor. This is often used for Twitter accounts that have a tendency to post spoilers in movies or temporarily post content that their followers may otherwise not want to see. These followers can lock the account for a period of time or stop following and come back later when the unwanted content has stopped.
You should smile when you see this tweeted on you. Why? Because someone on Twitter tells you to “have a nice day!”
A “hat tip” is usually followed by a person’s Twitter username. When using HT, don’t quote or tweet them directly, instead confirm that the user gave you the idea for the content you are tweeting.
This acronym for “in case you missed it” can be used when someone tweets or has already tweeted about big news or a trending topic a few days later. Searching for “ICYMI” on Twitter is a great way to catch up on what you’ve been missing out on if you’ve been off the Twitter radar for a few days.
If you have 280 characters or less, shortening words is a must. As a result, sometimes typing “I don’t know” is too long to include in a tweet, believe it or not.
“If you know, you know” is a term used by people who want to maintain some exclusivity in their tweet. An underground artist, a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, or even some other acronym can be adorned with a tweet that says “IFYKYK”. And if you didn’t know, now you do.
“I’m just saying” may seem redundant, but the acronym gives tone and context to a tweet. Perhaps the user wants to bring a disagreement into the conversation, or they don’t want to be held responsible for the consequences of what they just said. Regardless, an “ijs” from a Twitter user with an opinion will occasionally appear on your timeline.
IMO or IMHO
Typically, “In my opinion” or “In my humble opinion” is displayed when someone wants to agree or disagree with content they’ve shared. This way the reader knows that it is an opinion, not a fact.
This means “modified tweet”. This is a retweet that you had to cut out due to lack of space. However, it should still contain the meaning of the original tweet.
“Note to myself” is a great way to mark tweets that you want to return to later. It is also used when someone is trying to be sarcastic or funny. For example, I could tweet, “NTS: Pizza is much better cold – especially when it’s for breakfast.” (What we all know is true, of course.)
If you don’t want to directly mention one of your followers but want to say something about it, you can use the acronym OOMF, which means “One of My Followers”. This term can be used neutrally or in a passive-aggressive tone when subtweeting your follower.
“Head shaking” usually accompanies a tweet when someone cannot believe or understand the content they are sharing. It is a total imitation of real body language.
If you’re familiar with fans of celebrities, you’ll find Twitter stans to be quick to access. These are overzealous and easily obsessed fans of celebrities or influencers. The term is a combination of “stalker” and “fan”. Opinions are mixed as to whether Stan culture is healthy for Stan or for celebrity.
Occasionally, people will tweet about other Twitter users without mentioning them with the @ symbol. This can be done passively-aggressively or even coquettishly. There are two types of subtweets: overt and covert. An open subtweet can still mention the person by name, but without mentioning their Twitter with the @ symbol so that it is directly connected to them. A covert subtweet doesn’t mention any names at all, but rather provides subtle clues as to who the tweet might be on.
TBH or TBQH
This is short for “to be honest”. A “Q” may be displayed there to “be perfectly honest”. (Imagination, we know.)
You always want to say thank you, so “Thanks for Following” is a great way to tell when someone decided to add you to their Twitter feed.
If you see “Tweet me back” when someone mentions you on Twitter, they want you to literally tweet them back with a reply to or what you think about their tweet.
The “Twitterati” is a group of Twitter A-list users who have a large number of followers and who are famous in (and sometimes outside of) Twitter circles.
Should Your Business Use Twitter Slang?
Twitter slang doesn’t go with every tweet, but almost any business can benefit from shortening a word or phrase to meet the character limit. Before you rule out Twitter terms and slang altogether, check out this list to see how to get your point across. After all, people want to hear from people, not brands. So, talk like your followers and start a real conversation on Twitter asap.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2013 and has been updated for completeness.