The Twitter Glossary
The Twitter Glossary contains lingo and vocabulary used frequently to talk about features and aspects of our service. Following each definition are links to related articles in our help center for further exploration of each term.
See "Hashtags" Read "What are Hashtags?"
The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: Hello @Twitter! When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile. See also Replies and Mentions. Read more about replies and mentions.
A computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Used frequently on Twitter to determine most popular Tweets and trending topics. Read more about trending topics.
An Application Programming Interface. Contains all Twitter data and is used to build applications that access Twitter much like our website does. Read more about API security.
A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter and used to access Tweets and other Twitter data. Read about how to get help with a third-party application.
The personal image uploaded to your Twitter profile in the Settings tab of your account. Read about how to change your profile picture or avatar.
A short personal description used to define who you are on Twitter. Read about how to change your bio.
To block someone on Twitter means they will be unable to follow you or add you to their lists, and we will not deliver their mentions to your mentions tab. Find out how to block others.
A bug is an internal error in our site code and functionality. We find and fix them all the time. (Nobody's perfect.) If you see one, point it out to @support by sending us a message. See also Known Issue.
Twitter buttons are available in the Goodies tab of your account, and are used to link to Twitter from other webpages. See also Widgets. Read about to your Twitter profile from another site.
A collection of stored data on your computer containing information that may be required in the future and can be accessed rapidly. Learn how to clear your cache here.
Twitter's annual official developer conference. First held in 2010 in San Francisco. http://chirp.twitter.com
The Applications tab in your Twitter settings shows all third party websites and applications to which you've granted access your public Twitter profile. Revoke access at any time. Learn how to connect to third party apps and websites.
A way to remove your profile from Twitter. Information on removed profiles remains tied in our system for 30 days. Learn how to deactivate your account.
Engineers who don't work for Twitter, but who use Twitter's open-source API to build third-party applications.
Also called a DM and most recently called simply a "message," these Tweets are private between only the sender and recipient. Tweets become DMs when they begin with "d username" to specify who the message is for. Learn more about direct messages.
See Direct Message.
Preferences set by Twitter users to regulate notifications via email about events on your account, such as new followers and new direct messages. Read about how to change your email preferences.
To favorite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favorites by clicking the yellow star next to the message. You can also favorite via SMS. Read more about favorites.
#FF stands for "Follow Friday." Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.
The numbers that reflect how many people you follow, and how many people follow you. Found on your Twitter Profile. Read more about following.
Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site. Find out more about following.
Geolocation / Geotagging
The use of location data in Tweets to tell us where you are in real time. Is also called "Tweet With Your Location." Learn how to safely Tweet with your location.
GFF (Get Followers Fast)
Sites that promise to get you more followers if you provide your username and password. After signing up, these sites send spam from your account. Don't use them.
A tab at the bottom of your Twitter homepage containing links to widgets, buttons, and other nifty third-party website integration tools. http://twitter.com/goodies
Gaining unauthorized access to an account via phishing, password guessing, or session stealing. Usually this is followed by unauthorized posts from the account. Users often use the word "hacking" for many things that are not hacking. Click here if you've been hacked. Read more about how to keep your account safe.
The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. Was created organically by Twitter users. Read more about hashtags.
A real-time list of Tweets from those you follow. Appears on your Twitter home page. Find out more about your timeline.
Floating messages about other Twitter users. They appear when hovering over a username on Twitter, or on other sites on the web. Read more about hovercards.
To pretend to be someone on the internet that you are not. Impersonation that is intended to deceive is prohibited under the Twitter Rules. Parody accounts are allowed. Read about impersonation policies and procedures.
An error within our site that our engineers know about and are currently working to fix. Visit our Known Issues forum.
To be included in another Twitter user's list. Listed numbers and details appear in the statistics at the top of your profile. Learn more about lists.
Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account. Displayed on the right side menu of your homepage. Learn more about lists.
Mentioning another user in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a "mention". Also refers to Tweets in which your username was included. Read more about replies and mentions.
A method to allow a user to grant a 3rd party access to their account without giving up their password. Find out how to safely connect to third party applications.
"OH" most often means "Overheard" in Tweets. Used as a way to quote funny things people overhear.
Over Capacity Page
Users sometimes refer to this page as the "Fail Whale" page. The "Twitter is over capacity" message and a whale image shows up when our site is having trouble keeping up with traffic. Find out more about Twitter's error messages.
To spoof or to make fun of something in jest. Twitter users are allowed to create parody Twitter accounts, as well as commentary and fan accounts. Read our parody guidelines.
Tricking a user to give up their username and password. This can happen by sending the user to fake login page, a page promising to get you more followers, or just simply asking for the username and password via a DM or email. Click here if your account has been phished.
A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account. Learn how to change your profile information.
Tweets that selected businesses have paid to promote at the top of search results on Twitter. Read more about Promoted Tweets.
Twitter accounts are public by default. Choosing to protect your account means that your Tweets will only be seen by approved followers and will not appear in search. Read more about the difference between public and protected accounts.
A search performed to retrieve information from a database.
A name that can be different from your username and is used to locate you on Twitter. Must be 20-characters or fewer. Learn how to change your name.
A Tweet posted in reply to another user's message, usually posted by clicking the "reply" button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username. Read more about replies and mentions.
Restoration / Reactivation
The act of bringing a deactivated account back to life on Twitter. It's alive!! Find out more about restoration.
A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter. Find out more about retweets.
Robot (Something's Not Working Error)
An error message when something on our site is not working. (Hint: try refreshing the page to make him go away.) Find out more about Twitter's error messages.
Most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication. A family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries or news headlines—in a standardized format.
Abbreviated version of "retweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message. See also Retweet. Find out more about retweets.
A digital recording (video) of a computer screen's output.
An image captured on your computer or phone displaying your screen's output. Often used to share information with Twitter support agents while troubleshooting. Learn how to take a screen shot.
Search (Integrated Search)
A box on your Twitter homepage that allows you to search all public Tweets for keywords, usernames, hashtags, or subject. Searches can also be performed at search.twitter.com.
A five-digit phone number used to send and receive Tweets via text message. Find your short code.
Hours in which all mobile Twitter updates will cease to be delivered to your phone. Can be set up through your Settings tab. Learn how to use Sleep Settings.
Short Message Service (SMS) is most commonly known as text messaging. Most messages are a maximum of 140 characters. Learn how to send a Tweet via SMS.
Unwanted messaging or following on Twitter. We work hard to eliminate it. Read about reporting spam on Twitter.
The act of being prevented from using Twitter due to breach of our Terms of Service. Find out how to contest suspension.
When using Twitter via SMS, these commands allow you to access most Twitter features with simple text keywords. Learn the Twitter text commands.
Third Party Application
A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter and used to access Tweets and other Twitter data. Find out how to get help with an application.
A real-time list of Tweets on Twitter. See also Home Timeline. Find out more about your timeline.
A note displaying when a Tweet was posted to Twitter. Can be found in grey text directly below any Tweet. Is also a link to that Tweet's own URL. Learn how to link directly to a Tweet.
Tweets determined by a Twitter algorithm to be the most popular or resonant on Twitter at any given time. Find out more about Top Tweets.
A subject algorithmically determined to be one of the most popular on Twitter at the moment. Find out more about trending topics.
Tweet, Tweeting, Tweeted. The act of posting a message, often called a "Tweet", on Twitter. Find out how to post a Tweet.
A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer. Find out how to post a Tweet.
Tweet Button (noun)
A button anyone can add to their website. Clicking this button allows Twitter users to post a Tweet with a link to that site. Find out more!
An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as Twitterers. Sign up to twitter.
An account holder on Twitter who posts and reads Tweets. Also known as Tweeters. Join us.
To cease following another Twitter user. Their Tweets no longer show up in your home timeline. Learn how to unfollow.
A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a web address that points to a unique page on the internet. Find out how to shorten links.
Also known as a Twitter handle. Must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. Is used to identify you on Twitter for replies and mentions. Find out how to change your username.
A process whereby a user's Twitter account is stamped to show that a legitimate source is authoring the account's Tweets. Sometimes used for accounts who experience identity confusion on Twitter.
A type of account that is allowed to go beyond the restrictions imposed by Twitter. This could be follower limits, posts, API access, etc. Learn more about white-listing.
A bit of code that can be placed anywhere on the web. Updates regularly with one's Twitter updates in real time. Read more about badges and widgets.
Check out our Troubleshooting section for solutions to common problems.