Friday, January 23, 2009

Talk Tweet To Me - In Words I Can Understand?

In the first part of this post, I covered a lot of the basics that you hear on Twitter - Follow, the mysterious @ thing, DMs, and why you see TinyURL and so often.

But what about those other things that pop up all the time? Especially the weird abbreviations? Lets talk about a few of them!

1. RT
RT, which stands for Retweet, is usually used in two different ways. The first is when people ask you to retweet what they have just posted, and the second is to announce that what they are posting came from someone else.

Examples? We had a chat the other night on Twitter, and we wanted to get the word out to everyone possible. When I wrote a post about it, at the end I included "please RT." On the other hand, when I see something someone else writes that I want to share, I'll post "RT @username ..." That way, everyone knows where it originated from. Since the @username part is after the RT, it will not display in that users Replies timeline.

2. OH
Nope, that doesn't mean "Oh" like the exclamation, and they aren't talking about Ohio. OH stands for overheard. Lets say you're at a party. (Yeah, I like the party example.) Someone says something really goofy that you think is funny. You don't want people to think that YOU would ever say anything that goofy when you put it on Twitter. So instead, you start your tweet off with OH and then write whatever the goofy thing was.

Maybe the party example comes to mind for this one because that is when I see it happening the most. I've also seen people claim that something was overheard when they actually said it themselves. Did I mention that you shouldn't post things you wouldn't want your clients or your mom to see?

OH is also good to use whenever you hear anything random. You don't need to explain that you overheard it when you stick the OH in there. The general protocol is to *not* reveal who said the OH - if you were doing that, you would put an @username in the tweet instead and leave the OH out.

3. FTW
Ah, the always confusing FTW. Many people have made up guesses about what it means, but it actually means "For the Win" and is usually used to reference the awesomeness of something.

@ModernPhotogs is sponsoring the WPPI Giveaway Gala FTW!!!

It come from the gamers online, but even after extensive research (read: 37 seconds with Google), I can't find a specific origin. I promise you though, that is what it means.

4. #this and #that, the #thing
Sometimes, you'll see tweets that either start or end with the pound symbol - # - followed by a word. These are called hashtags, and they actually serve a purpose. You can use them to quickly and easily search for something relating to an event using these tags. This could be a conference, a workshop, or really any newsworthy (and therefore tweetworthy) thing.

Sometimes, Twitter even uses hashtags to display what is popular on Twitter at the moment. During the elections in the USA last year (wow, we can say it was last year now...) there was a banner across the top with things like #elections #obama #mccain and #tinafey and all were links to quickly display tweets relating to those topics.

I'll be using it this year when I go to WPPI, so if you watch my stream you'll see #WPPI there at the end of things. We're also putting together PhotoCampHouston, and we use the tag #photocamphou for that.

Cool bonus feature? You can use things like to set up a chat that uses a chatroom created on the fly - solely based on the chosen #hashtag for the event. Pretty sweet!


  1. FTW got it start on Hollywood Squares according to the internet, which makes sense. It was adopted most enthusiastically by WoW players though other gamers use it as well. :)

  2. Nice try, FTW is "Fuck the World" in any language.

  3. nncoco, yes that is what it used to commonly be used for, but not on Twitter...and last time I checked we are talking about Twitter.


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