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The ABCs of Twitter, Part II

The second in our two-part series offers an insider's guide to the most common Twitter terms so you’ll understand the basics when you start Tweeting.
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In his book The Ultimate Guide to Twitter for Business, online marketing expert Ted Prodromou offers an easy-to-understand guide to using Twitter that will help small-business owners generate leads and connect with customers. In this edited excerpt, the author explains the most common Twitter terms so users can get up to speed right away. Part II of a two-part series. Read Part I.

In the first of our two-part series, we introduced you to the very specific language of Twitter. Let’s finish up our review of the most common Twitter terms so you’ll understand and recognize the words when you see them.

A Reply is a Tweet that is posted in reply to another user’s message. A Reply is usually posted by clicking the “reply” button next to their Tweet in your timeline. A Reply always begins with @username. If the @username is not the first word in the Tweet, it is considered a Mention.

RT or ReTweet
When you like someone’s Tweet, you can forward it to your Twitter followers by ReTweeting it. I like to add comments to my ReTweets to let people know why I’m Tweeting it. This can get tricky if the original Tweet is very long because of the 140-character limit. Sometimes you just have to ReTweet it without a comment. ReTweeting is like forwarding a funny joke someone emailed to you, or sharing a Facebook post you like.

Search or Twitter Search
The box in the top right corner of your Twitter homepage is the Twitter Search box. Twitter Search lets you search all public Tweets for keywords, usernames, hashtags, or subjects. Searches can also be performed at Twitter Search works just like any other search engine, but the results are limited to Twitter content.

Related: The ABCs of Twitter, Part I

Short Code
A short code is the five-digit phone number used to send and receive Tweets via text message.

Stories on Twitter are found in the Discover tab. Think of Stories as expanded Trends. Stories are the Trends plus the links to the video, images, blogs, and web content mentioned in the Tweet.

Your Timeline is a real time list of Tweets from users you’re following on Twitter.

Every Tweet is time stamped, which can be found in gray text directly below any Tweet. The timestamp is also a link to that Tweet’s own URL.

Top Tweets
Top Tweets are determined by a Twitter algorithm to be the most popular or resonant on Twitter at any given time. They are usually Tweets by people with the most followers or by people who Tweet often.

With over 150 million Twitter users Tweeting over 500 million Tweets a day, some topics become more popular than others. When a major earthquake hits Japan or a terrorist bomb explodes in the Middle East, thousands if not millions of people start Tweeting about the event. Usually they will add a hashtag to their Tweets so people can easily follow that topic. The Trends list on Twitter is a real-time summary of the most popular topics being Tweeted about at that moment.

Related: The 5 Biggest Twitter Marketing Fails of 2012

A Tweet refers to a single Twitter post or text message. Your Twitter homepage consists of your timeline, which is a history of all your Tweets and the Tweets of all the people you’re following.

An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets is a Tweeter; also known as a Twitterer.

An in-person networking event that's promoted almost exclusively via Twitter is called a Tweetup. Tweetups have become very popular because you can quickly bring together a group of like-minded people who are following each other on Twitter. When you publicize the Tweetup on Twitter, the general public sees the invitation so you can attract new people to your networking groups with little effort.

When you want to stop following another Twitter user, you unfollow them. Their Tweets no longer show up in your home timeline.

URL Shortener
URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs. Shortening your URLs is important because you only have 140 characters available for your Tweets. Some URL shorteners include, www/, and

Your username is also known as your Twitter handle. Your username must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. It is also 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 is a verification. It is sometimes used for accounts that have experienced identity confusion or to verify a celebrity’s real identity for their Twitter account.

Who to Follow
You’ll find Who to Follow in the Discover tab. You'll see a few recommendations of accounts the Twitter algorithm thinks you’ll find interesting. The recommendations are based on the types of accounts you’re already following and who those people follow.

A widget is a bit of code that can be placed anywhere on the web. Widgets are very common in content management websites like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. A widget placed on your website or blog can automatically display your Twitter updates in real time.

Related: 10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Tweeting About