I have been using Twitter for awhile now and have come to understand the vocabulary. If you are new to Twitter and/or may not understand what some of the terms mean this post will hopefully help you out.
Tweet – A message sent on Twitter. Must be 140-characters or less, and can include multimedia links, hashtags, usernames and more.
Timeline – The Twitter timeline is the real-time feed of all of the tweets from those you follow. Each user has a different timeline depending on who they follow.
Followers – Followers are Twitter users who elect to follow your account. They will receive all of your public tweets in their timeline. The number of followers listed on your profile is the number of people who are receiving your tweets.
Following – The people who you are following on Twitter. You will receive all of their public tweets in your timeline. The number of people you are following listed on your Twitter profile is the number of people whose tweets you receive.
Unfollow – To stop following a Twitter user. His or her tweets will no longer show up in your timeline.
Tweeps – Commonly-used slang for Twitter users, usually those who follow you.
Hashtag – A hashtag, or “#”, denotes a keyword or topic on Twitter. It is often the best way to search for and find out what Twitter users are currently talking about. Hashtags can be any string of characters without spaces. The most-talked-about Hashtags at any given time are located in the Trends (see “Trends”) sidebar on the right panel of the Twitter home page.
Retweet (RT) – A retweet is a tweet that has been repeated. If you retweet something, the original tweet will be sent to your followers in its entirety. This is often used to share news or insight with your followers. Retweet is often shortened to “RT”.
Direct Message (DM) – A message sent via Twitter that only you and the recipient can see. The user you want to send a direct message to must be following you. To send, begin your message with “d username” or use the direct message inbox on Twitter.com. The term “direct message” is often shortened to “DM”.
@mention – Contained in the body (not at the beginning) of a tweet, an @mention calls to a specific Twitter user. By typing a Twitter username after the “@” sign in a tweet, you ensure that that user will see that tweet in their timeline and Connect tab. Multiple users can be mentioned in a single tweet, as long as they all have the “@” sign before their username.
@reply – Written at the beginning of a tweet, an @reply indicates a direct correspondence between you and the Twitter user you @reply to. By typing @ and a specific username at the beginning of your tweet, you ensure that the user will see that tweet and know it is directly written to them. This is often used to facilitate a direct, two-way conversation between two Twitter users. Only yourself, that user, and any user who follows both of your accounts will see the @reply.
Lists – Lists are curated groups of Twitter users. They are created by Twitter users to organize their timelines, to group people within a specific industry together, to separate friends and co-workers, to indicate the topic that certain users tend to tweet about the most, or any number of other reasons. Lists that you have created or chosen to follow appear under the dropdown gear menu directly above your timeline on Twitter.com.