How to get more into your 140 character Tweet

The 140 characters allowance when tweeting can sometimes seem just not enough, so the use of text abbreviations on Twitter is something that’s accepted as part of the norm.

Understanding text abbreviations on Twitter is another matter, leaving some users struggling to make sense of what’s actually being said.

Do Twitter text abbreviations help or hinder exchanges?

I had a Twitter abbreviation sent to me the other day @SusanCollini which I didn’t understand. Not to be ‘put down’ by my apparent incomprehension, I replied and asked for clarification, minus the abbreviation WII (what is it).

When I received a reply I still didn’t understand it, in the context of the tweet. However the exchange counted as an ‘engagement’ and in these days of needing to create ‘social signals‘, any ‘engagement’ helps.

I sometimes think those who relish the use of text abbreviations on Twitter are trying to look superior to the rest of us, rather than saving valuable character real estate communicating a point (140 characters is quite a lot actually)

Do you remember the early days of mobile phones where texting with successive combinations of indecipherable text was considered the height of being ‘cool’? I was even given a book to assist me in mastering the Art. I never did.

People new to Twitter can find the learning curve required to get to grips with the basics is enough. I don’t feel it’s necessary to master a whole new lingo before starting to tweet; you can just ‘speak’ quite normally on Twitter.

If you’re like me and text abbreviations on Twitter sometimes cause you a mixture of confusion and irritation, here’s a translation of some you’ll see used more frequently than others.

Read, remember, smile or wince at them, yes! But, please resist the temptation to season your tweets at every available opportunity. Think of the poor ‘peeps’ who have to read your tweets – we’re  talking ‘accessibility‘ here.

Let’s start with 4 of the most used abbreviations. One used immediately after a #(hash tag) to make the abbreviation ‘searchable’ by category on Twitter. Then to follow, three  text abbreviations on Twitter used  without #tags.

4 of the most used Twitter text abbreviations + one more

#FF – Follow Friday. This is supposed to be used to endorse people worth following, a kind of pat on the back to other Tweeters who’ve shared good information, made you smile, challenged your opinions, etc. #FF are often retweeted by all of the people in the #FF, even though they might not know each other!

RT – Retweet. This is what appears in front of a tweet, often including a useful link, if you decide to share the tweet with all your followers by selecting the tweet and then pressing the retweet button.

DM – Direct Message. This is when you want to send a message to someone privately, but you the person you wish to direct message needs to be following you. NB (not a Twitter abbreviation) The letter D is the only one that appears before a DM message. e.g.” d @MyTwitterContact Did you find the blogging link I tweeted earlier useful?”

LOL – Laugh Out Loud. This is text abbreviation on Twitter you see more than you ought! LOL is often used in a context where laughing out loud is not really appropriate. I’ve grown to dislike much of the use of LOL, but I’m not expecting you to share my opinion.

MT – Modified Tweet. This is quite a useful abbreviation which is becoming more widely used. It’s often used when modifying a tweet someone has sent you, often because it’s over the 140 character limit by the time you’ve added your bit.

Polite examples of Twitter text abbreviations

Next, I’m going to list a selection you may encounter, but I’m leaving out any that include the ‘F’ word. It’s not that I’m being prudish, just 1. mindful of readers who wouldn’t want to use the ‘F’ word anyway and 2. I don’t want to make this blog post about Twitter text abbreviations too long and there are just SMOT (So Many Of Them).

FYI – For Your Information

IDK – I Don’t Know

QOTD – Quote Of The Day

SMH – Shaking My Head

BFN – Bye For Now

FWIW – For What It’s Worth

ICYMI – In Case You Missed It

TTYL – Talk To You Later

Having read and digested that lot, I leave you with the following –

FYI, FWIW, ICYMI I’m @SusanCollini. Please RT, DM or #FF on Twitter. TTYL, BFN

Here’s a much longer list of Twitter text abbreviations you might find an interesting read.

Here’s some other blog posts about Twitter you may find interesting. Please share this post with your social networks. You help creating social signals will be much appreciated.

Can Twitter benefit my business?

3 ways to improve engagement on Twitter

Free tool to review Twitter followers

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