Do You Speak Twittinese?

I speak one language.  I did learn a few words of Latin in my freshman year of college.  And growing up in New Orleans and spending time in Lafayette, LA I learned a few choice words in Cajun French.  But for the record I claim just the one.

I don’t know a single shortened word of Text (as in to txt).  No desire to learn the first.  But Twitter is simple enough that even I can figure it out.  For those of you still working on speaking the native language of Twitinese, I offer this basic primer course.

A tweet is simply a statement, message, or string of words composed of a 140 or less characters.  It’s a slightly elongated headline, but like a headline, the more interesting the tweet the more likely someone will react and take action with it.

This is your handle on LinkedIn.  I’m old enough to remember when CB radio’s were the hot thing (Think Smokey and the Bandit) and every trucker and some other interesting people had creative handles.  “That’s a big 10-4 Big Momma, I’ll catch you on the flip flop”.   CB’s were the Texting of the 70’s.

Want to send a tweet to someone, use their handle.  Respond to a tweet and it adds the @ of the person you are replying to.

Unfortunately there’s a downside too.  @’s done solely for the purpose of spamming your marketing message are @ssinine.  They’re enough to make me unfollow someone.  If your message can’t gain traction in a regular tweet what makes anyone think it will do better by adding my @seanenelson.

Direct Message or DM
A good idea, that isn’t much use if you have a couple of hundred followers.  When I first started on Twitter I tried to look at and reply to direct messages.  Now the only time I do is when I’m waiting for an oil change and have nothing better to do with my iPhone.

Automated replies when you follow someone pretty much killed DM.  If you want to send someone a message you’ll have better luck putting a message in a bottle than sending a DM on Twitter.

This is Twitter’s bookmark function.  If you want to save a tweet to reference at a later time simply highlight the tweet and click on the star to the right.  Now you can reference a past tweet.  It’s also a great way to quickly find a profile.

Retweet or RT
Gold.  Money.  Bullseye.  Retweets are one of my favorite parts of Twitter.  When I write a new blog post I can somewhat judge it’s effectiveness by the number of Retweets.  This is a great way to share information and recognize someone for putting good tweets out there. The viral nature of Twitter rewards interesting tweeters

Hashtag (#)
This is the Dewey Decimal system on LinkedIn.  When you tweet there isn’t a category that you assign to your tweet.  So if you want your tweets to be viewable based on specific searches use a hashtag.

I try to keep up with tweets about LinkedIn.  At least once a day I search the term LinkedIn.  I also add the #LinkedIn hashtag when I release a new LinkedIn related blog post.

An excuse to hit the bar on the way home from work.  A TweetUp is simply a meeting of folks that see an announcement and show up at the designated location to network and share a beer .

Tiny URL
This is simply a service that allows you to shorten a URL so that you have more characters to convey your message.  I’ve seen URL’s out there that wouldn’t fit on Twitter without a trim.  There are several different services that will create these shortened URL’s.

The universal word for garbage.  It means the same thing here as elsewhere.  Another good definition of spam is “an ineffective marketing message that actually decreases your brand value and results in being unfollowed”.

That’s the basics.  Learning to speak Twitinese is easier than learning Pig Latin. Now that you can speak the language fluently get busy building your community, communicating your message, and interacting in 140 characters or less.

I’m sure I’ve missed a word or two so feel free to share.

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Published by

Sean Nelson

Sean has been a Keynote speaker at Norvax University, conducts social media workshops and webinars, and has released three books on LinkedIn and written several social media guides. Sean currently runs Social Media Sonar, which in addition to providing free resources, manages social media strategies and tactics for companies. He is also a partner in Surge Labs, a conversion rate optimization company, helping companies improve conversions and profitability through scientific testing of Landing Pages, Websites, Email communications, and Shopping Carts.