Twitter: Decoder ring and twitterquette

March 11 , 2009 1 comment

Once upon a time…

My friend Silvia asked what OH meant and this started us on the topic of Twitter-etiquette or should it be Twitterquette?  Silvia wants to call it tweetiquette. Anyway, below is a list of helpful tips and a dictionary for some terms that are being used on the Twittersphere and may have been just too embarrassed to ask. I’m still on the fence. :P
Silvia this post is for you and various friends that are asking me what things mean. She’s up and running and wonders NOW what? ;)


  • If you Twitter a lot you might loose followers so don’t be offended if you loose followers because you do that. Solution: You could create another account one that is public and one that is private. That way you don’t have to share every thought to the twitterverse.Some people I know have many accounts.
  • The flip side:when you Twitter you may just gain users too.It just depends on what you want to do with Twitter.
  • If you know someone tweets a lot then you may not want them to be sent to your phone. Turn off the notifications on the website so you don’t end up paying for more content then you bargained for. If you are having a conversation between another person that requires many tweets (just DM=Direct message them so you aren’t blasting it to everyone that follows you unless you want to be annoying). :P
  • When you OH someone don’t attach their name (wait what does OH mean? Check the dictionary of terms below)
  • Avatars: try and keep the same one so people following you can find you easily. If you want to be found. ;)
  • Use emoticons to help notate tone (if you care to), some people take your Twitters out of context which will happen from time to time.
  • If you have a long url and want to save characters then use a url compressor like tinyurl or powertwitter (firefox add-on)

Dictionary of terms

Some are just geeky terms some are specific to twitter.

  • OH: Definition: Overheard When do you use it: When there’s a quote you want to say and you don’t want to attribute it to the person or you don’t know who to attribute it to. When the person doesn’t want the entire world to know they said that statement.
  • RT: Definition:Re-Tweet When to use it: When someone tweets a link or statement you find interesting/amusing or not and you republish it on your twitter feed
  • Twitterverse or Twittersphere: What does it mean: The twitter universe
  • Tweet: Definition:A twitter statement
  • # Definition:This is used as a tag for trends, events, statement, phrase, or whatever someone wants to have it not just as a word. When to use it:: #followfriday, #watchman (movie), #haiku, #nerdjoke, #sxswi09 (event)
  • DM Definition:Direct message me on twitter When you see it: “Hey DM me and let me know if you are interested in the tickets.” If you type D infront of a user’s name into the text field then it will get sent directly to them Example: D craigcook Hi DM to people in Europe: Note: they don’t get them to their phones. Twitter couldn’t keep up the fees so if you send one to Europe the recipient will only get it via email or their twitter software.
  • @ username it directs the twitter message you have for the username. They have it in their reply tab and will see it when they search if someone messages them Example: @marianne_m Let’s go find some pirates! Ok so what’s the difference between D username and @username? @cindyli how are you (this is like yelling it out in the street for everyone to hear and your recipient ) d cindyli how are you (this is the equivalent to passing a note to someone that no one else sees)
  • Private twitter accounts Why: Not everyone wants their tweets to be out in the internet searchable. They want to control who sees their published content
  • Public Everyone can see you tweets. Everyone even you mother if she chooses and your boss.
  • Block You can block someone from following you if you are private or public. Although they can just go to your profile page and see it if you are public.

Mobile Help codes while you are on the go

Twitter’s help tips.
Totally snagged these from the twitter help site.

  • Mobile texting feature Warning: lately texting your tweets disappears into the ether, so its better to use one of the fancy applications that you can download onto your iPhone to avoid texting or use the site instead.
  • WHOIS username What does this do? gets the profile on your phone from any public user on twitter Example: Whois themattharris
  • GET username What it does: Grabs the lastest twitter update by the person Example: Get adactio
  • NUDGE What does this do? reminds someone to update I have never used this and don’t see the point.Most people tweet enough. ;) Example: nudge gleyseele
  • FAV What does this do? marks a person’s last tweet as a favorite. Why? When you think they say something funny, or send a link that you might find interesting. Example: fav zeldman
  • Stats What does this do?  sends you the number of followers, how many people your following and what words your tracking Why? Twitter vanity check for you and to see how many people you are following

Geek speak

Terms that have been around for a while but are being used on twitter.

  • 1337 l337 is leet or elite speak. When do you see it: It’s a positive term, it came from gaming. How to use it? Checking out out Apple’s new 1337 ipod shuffle
  • FTW Definition: For the win Example: My car started FTW!
  • FAIL Definition:When something fails, or used as EPIC FAIL when something really screws up Example: Photoshop crashed on me and I didn’t save the file I was working on. EPIC FAIL!
  • n00b n00b Definition: newbie, someone new to whatever. Example: Silvia is such a n00b to twitter. ;)

I’m sure I’ve left some out but this should get you started! Hope this helps those of you in cube land (you know who you are. ;)).


Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 03.48 pm


Thanks so much for this. Really helpful information. More people really need to know about proper twittering rules. I’m going to pass this on to a few of my friends. :)


Constantly, trying to learn new things, and on the way I get to meet some amazing people with my camera by my side. XOXO!

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