Twitter Basics Explained

Being late to join Twitter should not be an embarrassment. Just because everybody has been talking about the ‘phenomenon’ for a long time does not mean you should be scared to admit you don’t know what you’re doing!

Twitter presents a very new way of communicating, with conversations limited to 140 characters and seemingly endless amounts of Twitter-specific language nuances. It cannot be expected that you should know exactly what to do without having the basics explained. Here is our very brief rundown of what you need to know to get going on Twitter:


This refers to the people who have ‘followed’ your account. It is the equivalent of a Facebook ‘friend’ or a LinkedIn ‘connection’.


These are the people you have chosen to follow. It is good etiquette to follow the people back who have followed you.


A hashtag is a way of opening your conversation up to other people besides your followers.  By putting ‘#’ before a word you create a link that anyone following or searching for that hashtag can read.


To direct a message to someone or to mention them you need to put the ‘@’ symbol before their Twitter username.

140 characters

As mentioned, you only have 140 characters to get your point across, so expect to see/use lots of acronyms and short-hand!


This stands for ‘Follow Friday’ and is done to show your users who you think they should follow.


An ‘RT’ is a retweet, which is the Twitter equivilant of a copy and paste allowing you to repost someone else’s tweet to your followers.

There is much more to learn and understand about Twitter, but you have the basics now so get tweeting!

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