Learning the language of twitter

Although it is has only been in existence a short time, Twitter is already the third largest social networking site in the world and promises to expand even further. All messages or ‘tweets’ must be written in less than 140 characters. This brevity of text is reminiscent of mobile phone texts and Twitter has followed the mobile text insofar as experienced Twitter users have come up with their own language. Therefore, anyone who is new to Twitter and sees all the obscure phrases will feel as lost as an American Republican politician at a convention that is all about reasonable policies.

Twitter users are referred to by several names (wags may refer to them as ‘Twits’ or just sad) but in the land of Twitter they are known as Tweeters, Twitterers or Tweeple. If you are following someone, that means you have elected to sign up to follow their tweets. This is a useful tool for companies attempting to network. If you are being followed, it doesn’t mean that you have a anorak-loving stalker on your tail, it just indicates that someone is your friend on Twitter essentially. Like most social networking sites, you can message a follower privately or else you can reply publicly by placing the @ symbol in front of the name of the person whom the message is meant for.

With millions of users comes an extraordinary amount of tweets and if not organised properly, they can resemble a student’s apartment. By placing ‘RT’ in front of a tweet, twitterers are indicating that they’re reposting something or repeating it from another user.

Naturally, a number of strange terms have manifested themselves on the site. Twitter users who just happen to be celebrities whom everyone wants to follow are known as the ‘Twitterati’. You may notice a proliferation of accounts which profess to be of a celebrity like David Hasselhoff but are actually fake. These are called ‘Phweeters’. Those irritating people who tweet too much are known as ‘Tweeterboxes’ or ‘Twitterpated’. Drunken tweets (always amusing or incoherent) are referred to as ‘Dweets’ while a large group of followers are called a ‘Twaggle’ and the mere reading of tweets is known as ‘Tweading’.

While such terms may be seen as juvenile or foolish, it is essential that you learn them well. Otherwise, you could be lost in the Minotaur’s maze with no thread to guide you back out. If you wish your company to be a success on Twitter for example, be sure to check out the ‘Twittonary’ which is a comprehensive guide to all the crazy Twitter words used by its followers.

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