Twitter Glossary

Twitter lingo can get a little confusing to the new user and even the Tweeting veteran. Here is a compilation of common words, symbols and the like used while using the Twitter platform. We will continually add to this list to include new terms or words phrases that are created as Twitter grows.



The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users as a way to categorize messages.


The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: Hello @TweetBrander! When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile. See also Replies and Mentions.


Lives in the “Connect” tab. Activity is a real-time dashboard to view what the people you’re following are up to on Twitter. You can view Tweets they’ve favorited and discover other good content on Twitter.


A computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Used frequently on Twitter to determine most popular Tweets and trends.


An Application Programming Interface. Contains all Twitter data and is used to build applications that access Twitter much like our website does.

Application (Third-Party)

A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter that’s used to access Tweets and other Twitter data.


See Profile Picture.


A short personal description of 160 characters or fewer used to define who you are on Twitter.


To block someone on Twitter means they will be unable to follow you or add you to their lists, and we will not deliver their mentions to your mentions tab.


A bug is an internal error in our site code and functionality. We find and fix them all the time (nobody’s perfect). If you see one, point it out to @support by sending us a message. See also Known Issue.


Twitter buttons are available in the Resources tab of your account, and are used to link to Twitter from other webpages.


A collection of stored data on your computer containing information that may be required in the future and can be accessed rapidly.


The Connect tab lets you view interactions, mentions, recent follows and Retweets. Using the Connect tab you’re able to view who has favorited or retweeted your Tweets, who has recently followed you, and all of your @replies and @mentions.


The Applications tab in your Twitter settings shows all third-party websites and applications to which you’ve granted access your public Twitter profile. Revoke access at any time.


A way to remove your profile from Twitter. Information from deactivated profiles remains in our system for 30 days.


Engineers who don’t work for Twitter, but who use Twitter’s open-source API to build third-party applications.

Direct Message

Also called a DM and most recently called simply a “message,” these Tweets are private between the sender and recipient. Tweets sent over SMS become DMs when they begin with “d username” to specify who the message is for.


The Discover tab is where you’d find top Tweets, Who to Follow, Activity, Find Friends, and Browse Categories. The Discover tab is all about, you guessed it, discovering new and engaging things to do on Twitter!


See Direct Message.

Email Notifications

Preferences set by Twitter users to regulate notifications via email about events on your account, such as new followers and new direct messages.


To favorite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favorites by clicking the yellow star next to the message. You can also favorite via SMS.


#FF stands for “Follow Friday.” Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.


To follow someone on Twitter is to subscribe to their Tweets or updates on the site.

Follow Count

The numbers that reflect how many people you follow, and how many people follow you. Found on your Twitter Profile


A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you.


Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site.

Geolocation / Geotagging

The use of location data in Tweets to tell us where you are in real time. Is also called “Tweet With Your Location.”

GFF (Get Followers Fast)

Sites that promise to get you more followers if you provide your username and password. After signing up, these sites send spam from your account. Don’t use them.


See Hacking.


Gaining unauthorized access to an account via phishing, password guessing, or session stealing. Usually this is followed by unauthorized posts from the account. Users often use the word “hacking” for many things that are not hacking.


A user’s “Twitter handle” is the username they have selected and the accompanying URL.


The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users.

Help Ticket

A request for help filed to our Support team via links in relevant articles on Also called simply a “ticket” or a “support ticket.”


A real-time list of Tweets from those you follow. It appears on your Twitter home page.

HT or h/t

 Usually means “hat tip.” A way of acknowledging the person who originally shared the content being tweeted, such as a link to an article or video.


To pretend to be someone on the internet that you are not. Impersonation that is intended to deceive is prohibited under the Twitter Rules. Parody accounts are allowed.


A timeline in the Connect tab displaying all ways other users have interacted with your account, like adding you to a list, sending you a @reply, marking one of your Tweets as a Favorite, retweeting one of your Tweets.

Known Issue

An error within our site that our engineers know about and are currently working to fix.


To be included in another Twitter user’s list. Listed numbers and details appear in the statistics section of your profile.


Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account.

Log In

The act of signing in to one’s Twitter account on or any third party application.


Mentioning another user in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a “mention”. Also refers to Tweets in which your username was included.


 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), often called picture messaging, allows you to send media like audio or photos from your phone.

Mobile Web

Twitter’s website tailored to fit your mobile device. Visit it at


Similar to RT, an abbreviation for “Modified Tweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.


A name that can be different from your username and is used to locate you on Twitter. Must be 20-characters or fewer.


A method to allow a user to grant a 3rd party access to their account without giving up their password.


“OH” most often means “overheard” in Tweets. Used as a way to quote funny things people overhear.

Over Capacity Page

Users sometimes refer to this page as the “Fail Whale” page. The “Twitter is over capacity” message and a whale image shows up when our site is having trouble keeping up with traffic.


To spoof or to make fun of something in jest. Twitter users are allowed to create parody Twitter accounts, as well as commentary and fan accounts.


Tricking a user to give up their username and password. This can happen by sending the user to fake login page, a page promising to get you more followers, or just simply asking for the username and password via a DM or email.


A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account.

Profile Picture

The personal image uploaded to your Twitter profile in the Settings tab of your account.

Promoted Tweets

Tweets that selected businesses have paid to promote at the top of search results on Twitter.

Protected/Private Accounts

Twitter accounts are public by default. Choosing to protect your account means that your Tweets will only be seen by approved followers and will not appear in search.


A search performed to retrieve information from a database.


A Tweet posted in reply to another user’s message, usually posted by clicking the “reply” button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username.


The act of bringing a deactivated account back to life on Twitter. It’s alive!!

Retweet (noun)

A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter.

Retweet (verb)

To retweet, retweeting, retweeted. The act of forwarding another user’s Tweet to all of your followers.


“Real Life Retweet” is another way of saying OH (“overheard”). Used to quote something a person said in “real life.”

Robot (Something’s Not Working Error)

An error message when something on our site is not working. (Hint: try refreshing the page to make him go away.)

RSS Feed

Most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication. A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries or news headlines—in a standardized format.


Abbreviated version of “retweet.” Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message. See also Retweet.


A digital recording (video) of a computer screen’s output.


An image captured on your computer or phone displaying your screen’s output. Often used to share information with Twitter support agents while troubleshooting.

Search (Integrated Search)

A box on your Twitter homepage that allows you to search all public Tweets for keywords, usernames, hashtags, or subject. Searches can also be performed at

Short Code

A five-digit phone number used to send and receive Tweets via text message.

Sleep Time

Hours in which all mobile Twitter updates will cease to be delivered to your phone. Can be set up through your Settings tab.


Short Message Service (SMS) is most commonly known as text messaging. Most messages are a maximum of 140 characters.


Unwanted messaging or following on Twitter. We work hard to eliminate it.


The act of being prevented from using Twitter due to breach of our Terms of Service.

Text Commands

When using Twitter via SMS, these commands allow you to access most Twitter features with simple text keywords.

Third-Party Application

A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter and used to access Tweets and other Twitter data.


A real-time list of Tweets on Twitter. See also Home Timeline.


A note displaying when a Tweet was posted to Twitter. Can be found in grey text directly below any Tweet. Is also a link to that Tweet’s own URL.


 Short for “Timeline.” See also Timeline and Home Timeline.

Top Tweets

Tweets determined by a Twitter algorithm to be the most popular or resonant on Twitter at any given time.


A subject algorithmically determined to be one of the most popular on Twitter at the moment.

Tweet (verb)

Tweet, tweeting, tweeted. The act of posting a message, often called a “Tweet”, on Twitter.

Tweet (noun)

A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer.

Tweet Button

A button anyone can add to their website. Clicking this button allows Twitter users to post a Tweet with a link to that site.


An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as Twitterers.


An information network made up of 140-character messages from all over the world.


An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as “Twitter user”.


To cease following another Twitter user. Their Tweets no longer show up in your home timeline.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a web address that points to a unique page on the internet.

URL Shortener

URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs. Shortening services can be found online.


Also known as a Twitter handle. Must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. Is used to identify you on Twitter for replies and mentions.


A process whereby a user’s Twitter account is stamped to show that a legitimate source is authoring the account’s Tweets. Sometimes used for accounts who experience identity confusion on Twitter.


A type of account that is allowed to go beyond the restrictions imposed by Twitter. This could be follower limits, posts, API access, etc.

Who to Follow

Who to Follow can be found in the Discover tab. Here, you should see a few recommendations of accounts we think you might find interesting. These are based on the types of accounts you’re already following and who those people follow.