Oh, that 140-character limit on Twitter! It allows you to do so much with so little… but it helps if you understand how to use it to your advantage. On the one hand, your brief communications with your customers and friends get straight to the point, or become tiny testaments to your creativity and wit. But then we get to the other hand: what happens when you want to say so much more than what that little block of text allows? Or how do we let other users know the true intention behind a tweet?
The answer lies in the surprisingly complex world of Twitter abbreviations. You’ve seen them before: RT, CX, CC, and let’s not forget the ubiquitous LOL, OMG, and ROFL. But if you don’t know the difference between an MT and a PT, don’t worry – you’re not alone. There are so many abbreviations in use today that it can be hard to keep track of them all, which is why we compiled this simple list of the basics. Use them to help you take your tweets to another level, and give you a new understanding of what’s been going on in your Twitter feed.
These abbreviations are a key part of regular conversation on Twitter, and once you understand them, you’ll find yourself using them every day.
CC – This one might look familiar; it’s the carbon copy. Use it the same way you do in email, and add it before any user you’d like to join in your conversation.
CX – Correction; because occasionally we need to amend something that we previously tweeted. Of course, you can always delete the offending tweet, but sometimes it’s just better to leave it up, with a correction.
DM – Direct message; for those times when you want something to be just between yourself and another user. Use the ‘Direct Message’ function on the user’s front page, or just start off your tweet with this abbreviation.
HT – Hat tip; did you find a great article you want to share with your users, or did a conversation with a colleague inspire an idea? Sometimes there’s no room to type a thank you, or send out a ‘kudos’, so adding ‘HT’ so-and-so helps attribute the tweet to those who deserve recognition.
MT – Modified tweet; when you want to retweet someone, but perhaps they use language that you don’t feel is appropriate, or maybe you don’t want to include a reference to another user, paraphrase them and state that it’s an MT. All the credit, without all of the tweet.
PRT – Partial retweet; people can be wordy. Sometimes those limitations come into play and you just can’t retweet something in its entirety, so don’t forget to let your users know that they’re not reading the whole original by clarifying with this abbreviation.
PRT – Please retweet; which is not to be confused with the ‘partial retweet’. The difference lies in the placement, as the request for retweets should come at the end of your tweet, whereas the ‘partial retweet’ designation should be at the beginning.
RT – Retweet; one of the most commonly used abbreviations on Twitter, the RT just signifies that the tweet you’re seeing it from another user, not the person that you follow. You can retweet directly using the button provided to you in Twitter; or copy, paste and add RT at the beginning of your text before you tweet – a great way to add your own thoughts or observations as well!
Social Media Tweeting
Don’t use up precious characters referencing your social sources; just stick to these abbreviations and users will know where you found your content.
EM – Email Marketing
EZine – Electronic Magazine
FB – Facebook
LI – LinkedIn
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
SM – Social Media
SMM – Social Media Marketing
SMO – Social Media Optimization
SN – Social Network
SROI – Social Return on Investment
UGC – User Generated Content
YT – YouTube
While this list is by no means conclusive, we have purposely left out ‘emotional’ abbreviations, like ‘LOL’ (laugh out loud) and ‘SMH’ (so much hate). Building a complete list of these would be long, incredibly complex, and, as new ones enter the lexicon every day, it would always be changing. It’s important, however, to bring attention to them and mention something that you should keep in mind when you’re considering adding these to your tweets. Just like emoticons, they should probably be kept to personal, as opposed to professional, communications. The messages that you send out to your clients and customers should be clear in their intent, and therefore shouldn’t require the additional clarification.
By incorporating some of these into your everyday communications, you’ll be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and more efficiently with your users. If you want to know more about Twitter abbreviations, there are lots of resources online that will help you gain an even greater understanding of one of the quirkier aspects of this social media giant, and get you started on expanding your Twitter vocabulary today.
*Additional abbreviations and acronyms used in this article: ‘You know you’re addicted’, ‘Are you kidding me with this?’, ‘Shake your head’, ‘Oh really?’, ‘In real life’, ‘Oh my god!’, and ‘I don’t know what that means’.