Jun 30, 2021

Twitter Key Terms

by Digital Marketing Institute

Here is a guide to the key terms used on Twitter.

# (hashtag)

See "hashtag".


The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets: "Hello @twitter!" People will use your @username to mention you in Tweets, send you a message or link to your profile.

activity dashboard

Our easy-to-use analytics tool to learn more about your Tweets and how they resonate with your audience.


Twitter Alerts enable public safety agencies to inform people during emergencies by highlighting critical time-sensitive content with notifications and a unique look.


If you block a Twitter account, that account will be unable to follow you or add you to their Twitter lists, and you will not receive a notification if they mention you in a Tweet.


Your bio is a short (up to 160 characters) personal description that appears in your profile that serves to characterize your persona on Twitter.


A feature that allows you to save Tweets in a timeline for easy, quick access at any time.


A cashtag is a company ticker symbol preceded by the U.S. dollar sign, e.g. $TWTR. When you click on a cashtag, you'll see other Tweets mentioning that same ticker symbol.


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dark mode

Dark mode for Twitter features a dark-colored palette that is optimized for experiencing Twitter comfortably in low-light situations. The dark mode feature is available on twitter.com, Twitter for iOS, and Twitter for Android.

Direct Messages

Direct Messages (or DMs) are private messages sent from one Twitter account to another account(s). You can use Direct Messages for one-on-one private conversations, or between groups. 


If you deactivate your account, it goes into a queue for permanent deletion from Twitter in 30 days. You may reactivate your account within the 30 day grace period.


On Twitter for web, use the Display option from your menu to customize your view by font size, color, and background.

Explore tab

The Explore tab on Twitter is where you can find what's trending, Moments, live events, your Topics, and more.

DM dock

On Twitter for web, your messages will conviniently be available in a small window in the lower right-hand side of your screen so you can scroll and DM without having to toggle.


Subscribing to a Twitter account is called “following.” To start following, click or tap the Follow icon next to the account name on their profile to see their Tweets as soon as they post something new. Anyone on Twitter can follow or unfollow anyone else at any time, with the exception of blocked accounts.


A follow is the result of someone following your Twitter account. You can see how many follows (or followers) you have from your Twitter profile.

follow count

This count reflects how many people you follow and how many follow you; these numbers are found on your Twitter profile.


Gaining unauthorized access to an account via phishing, password guessing, or session stealing. Usually this is followed by unauthorized posts from the account. Hacked accounts are sometimes referred to as "compromised." Learn more about what to do if your account has been hacked or compromised. Read more about how to keep your account safe.

geolocation, geotagging

Adding a location to your Tweet (a geolocation or geotag) tells those who see your Tweet where you were when you posted that Tweet.


A hashtag is any word or phrase immediately preceded by the # symbol. When you click or tap on a hashtag, you'll see other Tweets containing the same keyword or topic.

hidden reply

Tweet authors can choose to place any reply to their Tweet behind an icon. A hidden reply is still accessible for anyone to view, however it won't be directly viewable within the main Tweet conversation.


Online impersonation (pretending to be someone you're not) that is intended to deceive is prohibited under the Twitter Rules. Parody accounts are allowed.


Your Home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter.

like (v.)

Tap the heart icon to like a Tweet and the author will see that you appreciate it.


From your own account, you can create a List of other Twitter accounts by topic or interest (e.g., a list of friends, coworkers, celebrities, athletes). Lists create a timeline of Tweets, which you can also pin to the top of your Home timeline. We also make it easy to discover new public Lists to follow!


Mentioning other accounts 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.

mobile web

Twitter's website tailored to fit your mobile device. Visit it at mobile.twitter.com. When you visit mobile.twitter.com from a smartphone or tablet, you’ll experience the data-friendly Twitter Lite.


You can mute accounts; mute words, phrases, usernames and hashtags from your notifications; and mute Direct Message notifications.


Your (display or account) name is a personal identifier (sometimes a business name or real name) displayed in your profile page and used to identify you to friends, especially if your username is something other than your name or business name.

Notifications, notifications

The Notifications timeline displays your interactions with other Twitter accounts, like mentions, likes, Retweets and who has recently followed you. If you request it, we send notifications to you via email, SMS, or through the Twitter for iOS or Twitter for Android apps.


Tricking someone to give up their username and password. This can happen by sending someone to a fake sign-in page, a page promising to get more followers, or just simply asking for the username and password through Direct Message or email.


You can create parody accounts on Twitter to spoof or make fun of something in jest, as well as commentary and fan accounts. These accounts must disclose that they are parody, fan or commentary accounts in order to comply with our strict policy against impersonation.

pinned Tweets

You can pin one of your Tweets to the top of your profile page to keep it above the flow of time-ordered Tweets.

profile photo

The personal image (avatar) associated with your account. It's also the picture that appears next to each of your Tweets.


Your profile displays information you choose to share publicly, as well as all of the Tweets you've posted. Your profile along with your @username identify you on Twitter.

Promoted Accounts

Promoted Accounts present suggested accounts you might want to follow as promoted by our advertisers. These appear in your Home timeline, and via Who to Follow, search results and elsewhere on the platform.

Promoted Tweets

Promoted Tweets are Tweets that are paid for by our advertisers. These appear in your Home timeline, at the top of search results on Twitter and elsewhere on the platform, and are clearly marked as "Promoted".

Promoted Trends

Promoted Trends display time-, context-, and event-sensitive trends promoted by our advertisers. These appear at the top of the Trending Topics list on Twitter and elsewhere on the platform, and are clearly marked as "Promoted".

Promoted Videos

Promoted Videos are videos within Promoted Tweets that are paid for by our advertisers. These appear in your Home timeline, at the top of search results on Twitter, and elsewhere on the platform, and are clearly marked as "Promoted”.

Quote Tweet

You have the option to add your own comments, photos, or a GIF before Retweeting someone's Tweet to your followers.

protected Tweets

Tweets are public by default. Choosing to protect your Tweets means that your Tweets will only be seen by your followers.


You may reactivate a deactivated account within 30 days of the deactivation date. After 30 days, deactivated accounts are permanently deleted.

Retweet (n.)

A Tweet that you forward to your followers is known as a Retweet. Often used to pass along news or other valuable discoveries on Twitter, Retweets always retain original attribution.


A response to another person’s Tweet. Reply by clicking or tapping the reply icon next to the Tweet you'd like to respond to. A direct reply count is displayed next to the reply icon of a Tweet, and indicates the total number of replies the Tweet has received.

Retweet (v.)

The act of sharing another account's Tweet to all of your followers by clicking or tapping on the Retweet button.


Suspended accounts have been prohibited from using Twitter, generally for breaking Twitter Terms of Service.


Refers to a variety of prohibited behaviors that violate the Twitter Rules. Spam can be generally described as unsolicited, repeated actions that negatively impact other accounts.


A series of connected Tweets from one person. You can provide additional context, an update, or an extended point by connecting multiple Tweets together.


A timeline is a real-time stream of Tweets. Your Home timeline, for instance, is where you see all the Tweets shared by your friends and other people you follow.


The date and time a Tweet was posted to Twitter. A Tweet's timestamp can be found in grey text in the detail view of any Tweet.

top Tweets

Tweets determined by a Twitter algorithm to be the most popular or resonant on Twitter at any given time. Read more about top Tweets.


Topics are a way to see more of your interests on Twitter without having to follow individual accounts. With Topics we can personalize your experience with relevant Tweets, events, and ads.


A Trend is a topic or hashtag determined algorithmically to be one of the most popular on Twitter at that moment. You can choose to tailor Trends based on your location and who you follow.

Tweet (n.)

A Tweet (up to 280 characters) may contain photos, GIFs, videos, and text.

Tweet (v.)

The act of sending a Tweet. Tweets get shown in Twitter timelines or are embedded in websites and blogs..

Tweet button

Anyone can add a Tweet button to their website. Clicking this button lets people on Twitter post a Tweet with a link to that site. Learn how to add the Tweet button to your website.


Available on tweetdeck.com or Mac app store, Tweetdeck offers a more convenient Twitter experience with managing multiple Twitter accounts, scheduling Tweets for posting in the future, building Tweet collections, and more.


An information network made up of short messages (including photos, videos, and links) from all over the world. Sign up for an account.

Twitter emoji

A Twitter emoji is a specific series of letters immediately preceded by the # sign which generates an icon on Twitter such as a national flag or another small image.

Twitter Polls

Twitter Polls allow you to weigh in on questions posed by other people on Twitter. You can also easily create your own poll and see the results instantly.


see "follow"


A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is a web address that points to a unique page on the internet.

verified account

A verified Twitter account receives a blue check icon to indicate that the creator of these Tweets is a legitimate source. Verified accounts include public figures and those who may have experienced identity confusion on Twitter.


A username (or handle) is how you're identified on Twitter, and is always preceded immediately by the @ symbol. For instance, Twitter Support is @TwitterSupport.

who to follow

Who to follow is an automated list of recommended accounts we think you might find interesting, based on the types of accounts you already follow and who those people follow.


Glossary source: Twitter Resources

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