When it comes to fast interaction, Twitter has it all. With everyone from celebrities to your own children having an account, it gives you an insight into everything, from modern family life to the goings on in government.

Those new to Twitter can easily get lost in the terminology, interaction options and simple etiquette rules though, so here is the low down on all things Twitter!

It’s about you, but not!

One of the basic unspoken etiquette rules of Twitter is this: people want to know about other people. They want to know about you, your hobbies and past-times, your pets and family life, what you do on a daily basis, as well as what you think, do and feel about your work life.

They just don’t want to be bombarded with spammy, salesy ‘buy me’ types of tweet. You CAN share about your business, newest products and program etc., but keep it to a 1/3 or under of all your combined tweets.

Tweets, Retweets and TwitterStreams

This brings me onto the basics of Twitter terminology. A tweet is the name for the 140 character statuses you post on Twitter. When you forward someone else’s tweet and share it with your followers, it’s called a retweet (or RT). A TwitterStream is the collective name for a group of tweets, so your homepage shows a TwitterStream of tweets sent by everyone you follow.

Followers and following

The people who follow you are called ‘followers‘ and they can see your tweets. Unless you decide to follow them, you cannot see their tweets. The people you follow will be listed in your ‘following section of your profile.


Hashtags are indicated with the hashtag symbol (#). They are like keywords, so people can search specific things that interest them (such as #admin or #amwriting). Hashtags are predominantly used to help keep those tweets relating to a particular event or group together – for example, #BerksHour and #smallbiz making them ideal for Twitter chats and Twitter Hours.

Favourites, Replies and DMs

If you particularly like a tweet you can bookmark it by using the ‘star’ symbol underneath the tweet. This will then mark it as a ‘favourite‘.

When you reply to a tweet it will add the username for the person you are replying to, so will show ‘@username’ before your typed reply. You can also send a tweet direct to a person by using ‘@username’ too – but remember, this WILL show in the public feed for everyone to see.

If you want to send a private tweet to someone, you will use the ‘DM‘ or direct message option. This will be like sending them a private email but, unlike an email, you will only have 140 characters to type in your message!

Hopefully I’ve helped to clarify Twitter terminology, etiquette and interaction for you. However, if there’s something you’d like to share regarding Twitter, why not do so by leaving a comment in the comments section below?