Common Twitter abbreviations
With the 140 character limit, you need to get your point across on twitter fast. If you are relatively new to twitter and social media you may start seeing some abbreviations popping up. Some are serious and helpful, some are lighthearted and shortform jokes. To help you work out which are which, here is a quick guide to the abbreviations that you may see on Twitter.
Handy Twitter Abbreviations
RT – Retweet
MRT – Modified Retweet. Something in the original tweet has been changed. Used for space issues.
HT – Hat tip. Will be followed by an @ mention of a fellow twitter user. This is used to say thanks to another twitter user for bringing something on Twitter, to your attention. Used instead of a RT when you want to comment on a link etc.
ICYMI – In case you missed it. Used on a re-post of a link or tweet on your own stream that you think is particularly noteworthy.
NSFW – Not safe for work. The standard “don’t open this at work” notification. Could include nudity, profanity or distressing content.
SMH – Shaking my head. Implies just that, in a “I don’t believe what the world is coming to” scoff. Think of a disappointed Victor Meldrew.
TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read. Guaranteed to raise the hackles of anyone who sees this posted about a particularly hard crafted blog post. Can also be used helpfully as shorthand for a precis of an article.
TIL – Today I Learned. Used before a fact that you didn’t know before – “TIL that Edinburgh is further west than Cardiff”
FF – Follow Friday. Used when Twitter was smaller to recommend fellow users to follow. As Twitter has grown more people are doing this via RTs and day-to-day recommendations so it is a bit less popular, but still considered a nice thing to do – and a nice thing to receive.
Evolution of Twitter
As Twitter evolves, the language used on Twitter changes too. Groups or tribes form and develop their own shorthand. The language is driven by its users. You can use hash tags to search for tweets that are of specific interest to you for instance, and many Tweeters create and use their own hash tags. There’s room for creativity too, it seems, when you want to use Twitter meaningfully, and no hard and fast rules.