Say What: Twitter Acronyms


Twitter Acronyms With any ecosystem or community a vocabulary often evolves. Getting lingo down in a new territory can always be a bit of a steep learning curve for outsiders or newbies. Twitter only allows you space of 140 characters to get your point across, so by its very nature it has encouraged a short hand to evolve. Because of this, new users may find what they're looking at to appear a like garbled jumble of letters, hashtags and slashes.

Let's break down some of the most common shorthand and acronyms that you'll most likely see flying by in your stream. To be succinct, and true to Twitter I'm only going to include acronyms here that you don't often see outside of the platform(the exceptions are h/t and cc). I'm not going to include basic acronyms that appear across the web for brevity, ie: LOL, BTW, FWIW

RT - is short for retweet. Technically when you manually type an 'RT' in front of someone's  handle and tweet, it's what's known as an old school retweet or a manual retweet. (I could actually write a whole blog on the politics around retweeting, and most likely in the coming weeks will so hang tight for it.) This is done when an extra info or commentary is added in front of the original tweet. For example:

MT - stands for modified tweet. It is used when you do exactly what it says - modify someone's tweet. Why would you do this? There are a few reasons: there isn't enough room to add your own thoughts, and or another person's username, or you may be responding to the tweet in question. The work around is to remove unnecessary copy and shorten the text of the original tweet and add an MT. This alerts everyone that the tweet has been altered in some way. It's polite and in my opinion, the right way to retweet someone if you're removing anything they say. Essentially you're editing what someone has said, so as you would in print you make a notation. It's Twitter etiquette to make that distinction.

In the example below, I needed to share with my Twitter feed the downward spiral of humanity due to my profession (I KID). I shared my friend Elizabeth's tweet but modified it to fit my horror. MT's should be used sparingly.

H/T - is 'hat tip', a recognition, or a nod if you will to the person or publication who originally led you to the information you are sharing. So perhaps someone shared a story, an article or information and you want to add your own commentary, or frame it differently, at the end of the tweet you add an 'H/T' giving credit to the original source. Again, politeness is the common denominator here.

SMH - this denotes frustration, and means shaking my head. Some use it with a hashtag, others without — totally up to you! I kind of love to use SMH just to be hyperbolic on Twitter. Oh Twitter and your nuance! You may also see SMDH, which has added an emphasis to your frustration with the word damn.

OH - is shorthand for quoting a passerby, or someone you overheard, hence the OH. Normally this is used to share some ridiculous, or irreverent thing you have heard. It's also a great way to quote someone without using their name, especially if what they said is bonkers.

DM - plain and simple this means to direct message someone via Twitter's private messaging system.

ICYMI - In Case You Missed It — this is a great way to share info you may have already shared on Twitter, but do not want to come over as repetitive. By adding this acronym, those who have seen it know you are not just being a total hack sharing your info over and over again.

#FF - Follow Friday. Commonly used to suggest accounts to follow. #FF's were very popular a few years ago, and many still use them — I personally have only done Follow Friday a handful of times. I only use when I think there are accounts that really need to be recognized.

S/O - Shout out. You most likely won't see this acronym a lot, but I thought I would include S/O because I personally use it -- but maybe that's because I grew up with 90's hip hop. Regardless, I like to use it to drive home a point or reference. Again, it's Twitter nuance that you'll pick up if you hang out there enough.


cc -  this is used as it is in email. When you see 'cc' in a Tweet it's normally being used to alert a third party to the Tweet in question, call attention to a conversation, or make an intro, etc. Carbon Copy is probably one of my favorite acronyms considering that its a throwback from before copy machines and has transcended technology. 

That should be a good start to get you familiar with Twitter's acronym lexicon. Did I miss any? Are there other acronyms that you always see but are afraid to ask what they stand for? Ask me below, orrrrr hit me up on Twitter! I love questions about social media, and creating online —come at me!

Meighan O'Toole

Always all in.