Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows you to publish short updates of up to 140 characters about what you are doing. Users follow other users to subscribe to each other's updates. All the updates from the users you follow will be aggregated in to one timeline that appears when you log in to the site.

Although the question posed by Twitter is "What's happening" in reality few users acutally use the service to send updates about the minutiae of their everyday activities. Instead preferring to use it to ask questions and share ideas or interesting things they have seen around the web.

In addition to the vast number of individual users of Twitter there are many libraries and organisations now using the service to publicise their services and engage with their users and stakeholders.

The Twitter vocabulary

Twitter brings with it a whole new language. Here are some definitions of a few of the key terms:

  • Tweet - a single update of no more than 140 characters
  • Retweet (RT) - a reposting of a tweet originally posted by another user
  • @reply - a reply to another user
  • Direct message (DM) - a private message sent to another user
  • Hashtag - a method of grouping tweets by adding a standard tag, e.g. #bodleian, so that all tweets on a particular event or issue can be easily searched and tracked.
There are many Twitter dictionaries available online where you can find definitions of other words in the Twitter vocabulary. Here are some for you to try:
Let's start this week with thing 15...