Twitter Lingo and Acronyms

(Interview with CBC Radio in about an hour about the book. * Gulp.*)

Now this is a post that I definitely need to read.

Twitter seems to have developed its own language, and heck if I know what it is. Like Google, the word ‘Twitter’ has entered the lexicon. But other than that, and the ubiquitous ‘tweet’ itself, I have a hard time deciphering what’s going on a lot of the time.

Anne Devereux is going to do a little decoding for us. (Love the fact that there’s an acronym specific to Canadians, eh?) Stay tuned for her last guest post about Twitter tomorrow, when she discusses how to use it to market one’s books.

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Some of the Twitter lingo can be baffling.  RT means ReTweet, and is used when you see a tweet that you think your followers would like to see too.  Twitter has provided a handy ReTweet button just for this purpose – although if you want to add your own comment, you’ll have to cut and paste the tweet, put “RT” and then add your comment.  Remember you only have 140 characters! 

Sometimes you’ll see “Please RT & TT.”  This means the tweeter wants this to become a Trending Topic.  Trending Topics can be found listed on the right hand column in your Twitter screen, and are a list of the top subjects under discussion on Twitter at any given time.  Again, it’s real time, so the list is always changing. 

Say for example, @NoH8Campaign is staging an open call in Atlanta.  They’ll send out a tweet saying “Open call in Atlanta, 9 am Sunday 10th, Pls RT & TT” in the hope that their followers will retweet the message and make it a trending topic.  In that way, the charity uses Twitter as an advertising and promotional tool.

Part of the challenge of Twitter is expressing yourself effectively in 140 characters or less.  In fact, for a writer, it’s quite useful to cultivate the art of succinctness.  Naturally, as this is the Internet, there are many well-known acronyms to assist with this.  Most of them are now fairly ubiquitous, but I’ve provided a (by no means comprehensive) list for those of you starting out.

LOL     Even your granny should know this one.  Laughing Out Loud has made its way into the vernacular, such that people are now actually saying “lol” in speech instead of laughing.  I find that a little disturbing.  It can also be written Lulz (as in “4 the lulz” meaning “I included this because I thought you might find it amusing); or lol? (as in “Ought we to be finding this funny? No, I thought not.”)

ROFL  Rolling On Floor Laughing (variant: add MAO “My Ass Off”)

PMP     P*ssing My Pants (see LOL)

WTF    What The F*ck

IDK      I Don’t Know (variant: IDEK I Don’t Even Know; IDEKWTF)

IKR      I Know Right

IKE      I Know Eh (Canadian)

GTFO  Get The F*ck Out

DNW   Do Not Want

 Twitter has also spawned some acronyms of its own.  Anything with a # in front of it is known as a hashtag, and is meant to be used to identify a general topic of conversation.  You can search hashtags to find a timeline of all tweets specific to that topic.  #FF stands for #FollowFriday, in which every Friday, tweeters suggest other tweeters that they think deserve to be followed.  For writers, there are various literary chats which take place weekly or daily, and they are also identified by hashtags.  #LitChat is a popular one, as is #YALitChat, etc. 

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You can find Anne Devereux’s blog at  http://anne-devereux.tumblr.com/. Her short story, “What If You Slept,” appears in the Legend Press collection, 10 Journeys.  It is available from Amazon.com.

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