Twitter Vocab and Tips

By Ann Chen

Getting started on Twitter can be intimidating given all its nuanced vocabulary and culture. Yet, after this short introduction, you‘ll be ready to tweet away with confidence.

Mentions (@): If you want to call out someone on Twitter by mentioning or replying to them, use the “@” symbol. The symbol automatically creates a link to the Twitter handle that follows it, which creates exposure for the person.


Search for Twitter handles in the Twitter search box; usually, the organization/company shows up near the top of your search results. You can also go to the organization’s official website and look for a Twitter logo that links to its official Twitter profile.

Retweets (RT): Twitter retweets are forwarded messages that basically mimic word of mouth. Follow interesting news sources or influential people in your community and retweet content your followers would like. As a general rule, also tweet fresh content to encourage people to follow you.

Hashtag (#): While scanning Twitter, you may have noticed that some tweets contain a hashtag. Hashtags link together relevant conversations about a certain topic for several reasons: 1) to make it easy to find specific topics you’re interested in; 2) to link the whole conversation together and help people find discussions; and 3) to give tweets more exposure to those on Twitter using similar key words.

To find relevant hashtags, use the search box and see what kinds of conversations come up (i.e., #smallbiz, #economy). Click here for hashtags on ICBA programs and events.

Link Shortening: To fit long links into 140-character tweets, special functions are available to automatically shorten them. For example, bit.ly shortens links, tracks clicks and allows links to be copied into tweets.

These Twitter vocabulary terms are just a start. For a glossary of more terms and helpful articles, click here.


Ann Chen is ICBA’s communications coordinator.

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