Twitter Terms

Retweet and hashtag, MT and FF… social media is just as jargon-filled as agriculture!

Here’s a quick Twitter glossary to help you out.

  • Tweet: a posted message on Twitter
  • Retweet (RT): reposting, word for word, what someone else has posted on Twitter. Be courteous and recognize the original source, prefacing the tweet with “RT”
  • Modified Tweet (MT): sometimes tweets need to be shortened in order to fit into the 140 characters. Taking out words or reworking someone else’s message a bit is a MT. Replace “RT” with “MT” to acknowledge the original source
  • Direct Message (DM): these are private messages between yourself and one of your Twitter followers, or someone who follows you. DMs are only possible between those who follow each other. Excellent way to carry on a brief, private conversation. Still limited to 140 characters
  • Hashtag: The number sign – # – is called a hashtag in the Twitter-verse. It’s a way of tagging a word so that others interested in the same topic can use the search function to find tweets or interest. #farm, #ag, #cdnag, #westernag, #Ontag, #atlntcanag are some common ones you may be interested in. Hashtags can also be used as a subtle way of making a joke. “13-y-o kid wants an iPhone 5 for Xmas #FatChance”
  • Newsfeed: you’ve clicked “follow” to create a group of people on Twitter who you follow. Your newsfeed is their tweets coming in to you.
  • Favourites: in your newsfeed, under someone’s tweet, there is a star, which you can click on to favour someone’s tweet. This is a great way to either indicate that you like what they said. Other times, the tweet may contain a link to a blog post or a news story that you want to read or remember. By clicking the star and favouring the tweet, it bookmarks the tweet and allows you to find it again later.
  • TY: Thank you. Also common: thx. When there are only 140 characters, word frugality is a necessity.
  • YW: You’re welcome.
  • #FF: Follow Friday. This is a great way to find new followers and recognize those you already follow. There are a few ways to make #FollowFriday work for you.

1. Create a short list of about four followers and simply say something like “#FF to …”

2. The first way doesn’t tell me, as one of your readers, about why to follow these people you’re suggestion, so I like to put something like “#FF hi to great Cdn #farmers…”

3. You can also create a blog post and list your #FF picks and add a sentence about why you follow each of them. Not as effective, though, because it’s unlikely readers will read your tweet then click to go someplace else to read your list.

Social Media: Use Your Twitter Lists

I’ve decided to start a new feature on this blog by posting a social media tip that I’ve found particularly helpful in this spinning technology-driven era.

So, here we go:

I’m a huge believer in using the list feature on Twitter. It helps organize the conversations that are coming in to your news feed. I find lists also help me focus the messages that I’m sending out. If I spend a lot of time reading my Atlantic Canada list — most of whom are not farmers — then my tweets tend to be more about more every day events and happenings. If I’m only reading my Canadian Farmer lists, then that’s where my mind is, that’s where I’m gathering my information and that’s what I’m tweeting about.

Keeping up on lists is an important for time management. It’s far easier to organize and sort people as you follow them then it is to go back through several hundred. Also remember that you can only list 500 tweeps under each list heading. One of my farm writer colleagues reorganized his Canadian Farmer list into sector headings: Dairy, Livestock and Crops. So when you’re creating lists, think ahead a bit to who you may follow and organize your lists into specific, yet not constricting, headings.

You can only create lists and sort those you follow on Twitter. You can also select, on creation of the list, whether your lists are public or private. Another Canadian farm writer on Twitter apparently didn’t know that lists could be private, as I was checking out his lists and found myself, as well as other colleagues, on a list he called Writers Who I’ve Blocked. Your Twitter followers can subscribe you your lists, so they will  receive the news feed from this list, even though they may not follow everyone on the list. As well, just as you can list who you follow, you can also be listed by those who follow you. I’m always interested to see which headings I’m classified under and what label I wear for others.

Being on a list helps your Twitter message be heard. One colleague on Twitter appeared to me to only post a few updates a day. Considering that he’s widely known as an expert in social media, I kind of always wondered why he wasn’t doing a better job at getting his message out. Well, it turns out he was doing a great job, but I was just missing all of his posts as he wasn’t included on any of my lists. Now that I have him tagged and sorted, I’m discovering that he has all kinds of things to say. Before, he was just getting lost in the fray.