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Personal Technology Resource Center


Twitter Terms: Learn How to Communicate Quickly and Concisely

En español | Editor’s Note: AARP TEK stands for technology, education, and knowledge. TEK helps people 50-plus who want plain language and user-friendly information on how to best use personal technology. The free program provides comprehensive online and in-person technology tips, trends, tools and hands-on lessons.

Tweet. Tweeting. Direct message. Mentions and Follows. Those are just a couple of terms you might catch yourself using when you jump into Twitter. But before you do, it may not make a lot of sense.

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Ian Cunningham

Jen Lee Reeves is AARP's social media trainer.

I asked many people online why they use Twitter, and most tell me they use it because it is a quick way to connect and keep up to date with information. But many tell me it took a while to really “get” Twitter.

See also: Guide to Twitter terms (PDF)

What is so interesting about Twitter is you do not have to interact with other people to get a lot out of it. According to Twitter, most people use the site to follow accounts and do not post anything from their own accounts.

In my experience, the best way to learn how to tweet (that’s the noun for posting something on Twitter) is by watching posts from others. Watch how accounts talk to each other by putting a “@” in front of usernames. Watch how accounts reshare posts. Notice how Twitter automatically shortens links so it fits the 140 characters of a post.

The magic of Twitter is it’s easily used on Web browsers and phone/tablet apps. But it is important to know there are many more functionalities on the Web when compared to the apps. Online you can build lists or change many more account settings.

Learn more details about Twitter by downloading a guide to Twitter terms. There are also many other lessons you can learn about Twitter and other social media tools by visiting the AARP TEK social media training page.