Not only is Twitter one of the most popular social media platforms, but it’s also one of the most active websites in cyberspace and this isn’t likely to change anytime soon. This micro-blogging social network employs ‘tweets’ that are 260 characters max to interact with other users, and these tweets make heavy use of symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms. Twitter lingo can be confusing for those new to Twitter. So to help you master the vernacular and be “down with the yoof“, take a look at this guide.
Home – This where you can click if you want to return to the default twitter page (the one when you first logged in). From here you can see the most recent tweets from people you follow on your feed as well as interact with them.
Explore – From explore you can find tweets and accounts from users who you perhaps don’t follow but may be interested in. Twitter will try to compile lists and categories of what it feels you would be interested in but if you want to find something more specific you can search for keywords in the search bar once on the explore page.
Notifications – Whenever someone interacts with your tweets (like, retweet or comment) you will receive a notification. They can be viewed here under this menu. You can also set up alerts so you will be notified whenever a particular account of your choosing tweets. they too will show up here.
Timeline View – This icon allows a user to change between viewing the timeline in chronological order or in an order of relevance curated by Twitter’s algorithms – its highlighted tweets. Clicking this icon will bring up a small menu where you can then decide which tweets you’d like to see first.
Messages – Twitter isn’t just a platform for casting out short statements out into the digital world. You can also send messages or direct mail/messages (DM’s) to other accounts. They will show up under this menu and they are private to both you and the other user in the message. Consider it like an email or text conversation.
Bookmarks – If you come across a tweet that you particularly enjoyed or would like to return to at a future time you can bookmark them. The nature of Twitter is that most tweets are short-lived and disappear into the abyss of millions of tweets posted daily. Bookmarking is your way of keeping those tweets without having to dig around for it.
Lists – A great tool for keeping up with tweets from certain accounts without the need to set up notifications. A list is simply a group you can create either publicly or privately (depending on if you want the account to know you have listed them) where you can track and see everything that accounts tweets. It is particularly useful for watching and/or keeping up with everybody, such as clients or competitors.
Profile – This will take you to our own profile. From here you won’t see tweets from the feed of people you follow but rather only your own content. It’s a great way to get an insight to how others view your own profile. You can edit the design, colour scheme and bio from this page as well as get an overview of your own tweets easier.
More – As its name suggests you will have more options available from this menu. You can navigate to places such as, analytics, moments, logging out and even Twitter Ads should you need to set any up.
Add Image – Although twitter is marketed as a hub for short-form micro-blogging and news updates you can still incorporate Photos to your tweets where needed. You’ll find that feature here.
Add A Gif – A Graphics Interchange Format, or more commonly referred to as a Gif, is a way of emoting a post or tweet. Usually consisting of a “video like” series of images designed to only last a few seconds and with the aim of emoting a message. Due to its stop-start format, the quality is lesser than a video but the message is none the less as efficient.
Create a Poll – Handy for when you need to ask your followers to vote or contribute to a decisive argument. Like in the real world polls are great at establishing where people’s opinions lie.
Schedule – Twitter allows you to schedule tweets with its ‘scheduling’ button. Sometimes you’ve thought of a truly awesome tweet but perhaps ‘right now’ isn’t the time to send it. Schedule it for the optimum peak time for the best results.
Add An Emoji – They’ve been around for a while, they have even got their own Pixar blockbuster movie. Emojis are simple ways to express emotion or symbolism when you don’t want/need to use a word. As the old saying goes a picture speaks a thousand words. You can easily copy the emojis from an Emoji Translator.
Character Counter – With only 280 characters allowed within a tweet finding the right way to say something in the limit isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Well, Twitter takes out the need to count your own characters with an inbuilt counter. When the little blue line fully encircles the circle you have reached the limit. As long as it hasn’t turned red you are within the limit to post.
Add An Additional Tweet – Sometimes one tweet isn’t enough to say everything you need. You can add a second or third tweet with this icon. Don’t worry either as Twitter will post them and link them together so anybody reading one will have the others right underneath so it is easy and clear to understand.
Create a Twitter Space – Twitter Spaces are places where you and your followers can have live audio conversations. If you create a Twitter Space, you’re the host, and anyone can join as a listener, even if they don’t follow you. You can have up to 13 people (including one host and two co-hosts) speaking at the same time, and you can name your Space and schedule it for later when you set it up.
Hashtag – Also known as an ‘octothorpe’, the hashtag is one of the most prominent symbols to be used on social media. Debuting on Twitter, it eventually evolved to be used on Facebook and Instagram too. They are used to identify key topics and keywords relating to a certain event or subject and connect you to other posts and tweets that have used the same keyword e.g. ‘#Twitter’.
At Sign – The “AT” symbol was first used in electronic messages for email addressing to separate the user’s name from the domain name. For example ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ – the user’s name: ‘tillisonconsulting’ and the domain name: ‘tillison.co.uk’. Twitter uses this symbol to prefix usernames such as ‘@TillisonConsulting’ for example. The symbol allows a user to ‘tag’ another Twitter accounts.
Verified – An account which Twitter determines to be an “account of public interest” will be verified. Typically accounts which are verified include users in sports, music, politics, religion, media or other key interest areas. The blue badge is placed next to the username to show that the account is authentic.
Padlock – This symbol is placed next to the username to indicate that their account’s tweets are protected. This means their tweets and only visible to their followers. To interact and view a protected user’s tweets you’ll have to request to follow the account and wait for their response.
Reply – A fantastic way to engage on the platform, a reply is a response to another person’s Tweet. You can reply by clicking or tapping the reply icon from a Tweet. When you reply to someone else, your Tweet will show the message “Replying to…” when viewed in your profile page timeline. When someone replies to one of your Tweets you will see “Replying to you” above the Tweet and you will receive a notification.
Retweet – This symbol means to share, forward or re-post a tweet sent by another user. Re-tweeting a tweet then posts that tweet to your Twitter account. It indicates support of that user, that it’s good content, that you agree with it or even if you deem it newsworthy to pass on. In order to retweet a tweet – all you have to do is click on that symbol.
Like – Simply clicking on this symbol below a tweet indicates that you ‘like’ the tweet, similar to a Facebook ‘like’. This action was originally a ‘star’ symbol to ‘favourite’ the tweet, but the stars were replaced with hearts in 2015.
More Options – This symbol is located underneath every tweet to the far right. When clicked on you are met with three more options to choose from, either send the tweet as a direct message, add the tweet to your bookmarks or copy the link (URL) of the tweet to your clipboard to share elsewhere.
Analytics – This option is located under the ‘more’ menu to the left of your screen and helps you to understand the statistics of your account month on month. Find out your top mentions, impressions and your top-performing tweets all in one place.
Promote Mode – This option is located under the ‘more’ menu to the left of your screen. Promote mode will give you options on how to amplify your tweets and reach more of an audience for a flat monthly fee.
Topics – There are thousands of good conversations happening all the time on Twitter, it can be difficult to keep up and see what’s relevant to your. This is where topics is handy. In following certain topics, Twitter will personalise your Twitter experience with relevant Tweets, events, and ads. Twitter will also match you with other topics that you may be interested in.
Twitter Ads – This option is located under the ‘more’ menu to the left of your screen. Twitter Ads is a place to see all the adverts you have created. You can measure what is working and what you may want to improve on in the future.
Thank you for this helpful information, Laura I really liked it.
I keep getting messages from someone and their name has a green box with white asterisk in it. What does this mean? Is it who it says it it?
Hi Sharon, it’s possible that this user has inserted the Eight-Spoked Asterisk emoji (https://emojipedia.org/eight-spoked-asterisk/) at the end of their display name. If you need further assistance, could you send me a screenshot via email@example.com and I will have a look? Thanks, Danny
As a new subscriber to Twitter why can’t an explanation be displayed when you hoover over it as do other apps? It would help…
Hi Gladys, which element are you hovering over specifically? Also, which device are you using to access Twitter?
It would be IMMENSELY helpful should you decide to take the task to include the symbols and “moving” symbols when you are composing a tweet on the tweet pop up. Thanks for your public service on the subject.
Thank you for the feed back. You’ll find the article has now been updated to include an even more expansive list of what each of the icons within Twitter mean.
We hope this helps with your Twitter ventures.
That’s good. But there’s one missing. It’s the first one you see under the comment or tweet. It’s a round shape with a pointy bit going down. I’m guessing it’s to make a comment but I’m not sure.
Thanks for the others.
I’m a new subscriber. What is the meaning of the three vertical bars to the right of the forward symbol on the bar of actions below the tweet? I’m thinking I don’t have something set up correctly.
Hello Doug, Thank you for your comment and welcome to the world of Twitter!
This blog post has recently been updated with the latest symbols used on the platform. Regarding the one with 3 vertical lines you mentioned, I am thinking you meant the Analytics symbol, as that is the closest to your description. There is now a more detailed explanation of this in this post.
If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask. – Tom
Simple language and very useful for a new twitterers. Thank you.
Simple language and very useful for a new twitterers. Thank you for your useful information. Keep Posting new trends.
Finally the complete list explained in simple language
Thank you somuch for doing Twitter’s job. I spent over an hour looking for some symbols in Twitter help to no avail. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU.
Glad you found it useful, James!
Namaste!!! Mark Tillison Ji,
Kudos to you for posting such an article which is simple, clear, informative, useful and exhaustive and Twitter’s Help Centre is match for the above post.
Thank You so much!
There was a typo mistake. I meant Twitter’s Help Centre is “NO” match for the above post.
I’m wondering why the speech balloon icon (symbol, if you prefer), which is on the left at the bottom of every tweet, is not included in this otherwise comprehensive summary. This absence was also noted by Kay, above, on Aug. 30, where she refers to it as “a round shape with a pointy bit going down.” I too, would like to know exactly what it’s for.
Hi, Paul. Sorry for taking so long to get back to your comment.
We’ve updated this article and it now includes the speech balloon icon. If you click on it, you can reply to tweets.
Hope this helps!
There is no thumbs up or thumbs down. How do I agree or disagree with a tweet?
A very prominent icon not mentioned here is the word bubble icon, a circle with a dangly bit pointing down. It seems like a glaring omission.
Are you referring to the speech bubble icon? If so, that one’s on the list now 🙂
I want to know how to Reply to a tweet – I cannot find an icon indicating “Reply”
Hi, Jann! To reply to tweets, you just need to click the speech bubble underneath them.
Let us know if you have any more questions!
Hi, There is a plus sign on my twitter profile pic and I can’t get rid of it. I have a pic already and don’t want another one. How to delete it?
Hi – thanks for your comment!
Is this plus sign only showing up on your profile picture? And is it clickable?
What does a lock or purse mean on Twitter near my name?
This means that your account is set to private. No one can see your tweets when they view your profile.
Hope that helps!
Thanks for that. I’ve avoided Twitter till now in case I click on something silly and attract the wrong kind of attention. Now I’m there, I’m mostly lurking… I’d sort of guessed most of them, but it’s good to have some clarification aimed at the totally Twitterless
I am only posting this comment because I am forced to tell you how vital this page is to my January 2021 survival!! This data was no where else that I could find and your explanations are PERFECT. Take a bow and hear the applause!
I’m so glad you’ve found this useful – it’s always great to hear!
Can you identify the symbol on Twitter appearing next to a name that is black and resembles a briefcase or handbag
Good spot! What you are seeing is the padlock indicating that the account you are viewing is private.
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