Dave, is a retweet where you redo a message or retweet someone else’s message in Twitter? Also, how do you do that…?
Like any social media service, Twitter has created an entire language of specialized words to represent different concepts. You’re asking about something called “retweeting” or sometimes just “RT” as an abbreviation, but there are a number of different words that are commonly used in the Twitterverse ( <– there’s another one, “twitterverse” for twitter + universe), so let’s define ‘em all, then I’ll show you how to do them.
Let’s start with “retweet”: an individual message in Twitter is called a “tweet”, so a “retweet”, or, more properly written, “re-tweet”, is when you resend a message that someone else sent. This is an echo-chamber effect and is a fast and effective way of disseminating information far beyond the initial list of followers.
Think of it this way: let’s say my friend Mark (aka @TheMantisOfDoom) sends out an important message about a local highway being closed due to an accident. I could retype the message so that the people who follow me, but don’t follow him, would see it, but it’s much easier to just “retweet” it by using copy and paste to gab his entire message and prepending “RT”.
So if his original message looks like
I could simply copy and paste it, sending out a message like this:
See how that works? You can do it by hand by adding the “RT” and the “@”(which tells Twitter and its many clients that the following word is a Twitter name and makes it easily clickable for followup) but most of the slick Twitter utilities have one-button retweet capabilities.
For example, I use Twhirl and with this app, I merely need to move the mouse over the profile pic associated with a tweet to see the four one-click options, one of which is – as you can see – retweeting:
If you’re using the Web-based Twitter interface, you don’t have a retweet option and will have to resort to copy and paste.
Now, on to a few more definitions!
A Tweetup is an informal gathering organized through Twitter. Think of it as twitter + meetup.
The Twitterstream is the collection of all tweets being sent back and forth. Sometimes you’ll see people refer to the public timeline or public twitterstream too: those are all the tweets from people who don’t protect their twitter accounts (see how to protect your twitter updates for more information).
Tweeple are, you guessed it, Twitter + people. You might also see this written as “tweeps” or “peeps”. They’re all the same thing.
The Twitterati are the smartest, coolest people on Twitter, I guess. It’s a variation on cognoscenti and digerati, if you’ve bumped into either of those words. If someone says you’re part of the twitterati, you should be pleased, it’s definitely intended as a compliment.
To “at” someone is to send a tweet that starts with “@” followed by someone’s Twitter ID. For example, if you wanted to send a message to me, you could use “@DaveTaylor” to do so.
The issue with an “at” message is that it’s part of the public timeline so everyone who follows you can see that message too, even if it’s not intended for them. That’s why you might also see people invite you to dm them. A “dm” is a direct message, and it’s accomplished by prefacing the message with “d” + a space + their Twitter name. For example, “d davetaylor this is private” would not be visible by everyone who follows you.
The limitation with direct messages in Twitter is that you can only send them to people who are following you. In fact, that’s an easy way to find out who is and isn’t following you, now that I mention it.
Anyway, I hope that all of this Twitter jargon will help you join the twitterati and tweet with glorious abandon!
If yo’d like to find me on Twitter, I’m @DaveTaylor and if you need more twitter help, well, you’ve found it.