Twitter for LawyersOur Twitter for Lawyers series has explained the reasons you should be on the social network, walked you though setting up your Twitter profile, given you suggestions of who to follow and set out guidelines on tweeting. Today, we will help the Twitter newbies out there understand the lingo and abbreviations often used on Twitter.

Because of Twitter’s 140 character limit on tweets, you will often see symbols or strings of letters used to represent something else. These abbreviations are not only useful, but also necessary, to enable Twitter users to fit their tweets within the 140 character limit.

Here are some of the most widely used Twitter abbreviations and what they mean in tweets:

@: The @ symbol is used to identify another Twitter user. You can use it to mention someone else in a tweet or to alert someone specific to the content of your tweet. Additional note: when the @ symbol stands alone, Twitter will only send that tweet to people who follow both you and the person you are mentioning. If you want everyone who follows the person you are mentioning to see your tweet, put a period immediately before the @ symbol.

Ex: “Thanks for the great depo support @diamondreporting!”

#: The hashtag symbol helps to identify what subject your tweet is about. Using # plus a word or phrase (with no spaces) helps your tweet to be easily searched and shared. By clicking on a hashtag a twitter user can see all recent tweets referencing the subject.Trending hashtags can be found on the left side of your Twitter homepage and are often associated with current events or news items.

Ex: “I really loved the latest Twitter article on @diamondreporting! #twittertips”

RT or R/T: RT (sometimes written as R/T) is an abbreviation for “retweet”. This is when someone quotes another’s tweet. To let your followers know that your tweet is actually a retweet, you can start the tweet with “RT @twitterhandle”, followed by the original tweet.

Ex: “RT @diamondreporting: Stop by Diamond Brooklyn today 10am-11am to buy some treats and support the Arthritis Foundation #arthritisfundraiser

DM: A direct message (DM) is the way for two Twitter users to privately communicate. Tweets including the abbreviation DM does not make the tweet into a private direct message. Most people use the term to ask for another user to send them a direct message. Remember your tweet requesting a direct message will be public to everyone who follows you. Note: Only a person following you can send you a direct message.

Ex:.@diamondreporting, can you DM me, Re: # arthritisfundraiser?

In our next Twitter for Lawyers article, we will look at more Twitter abbreviations that are a little more advanced. In the meantime, leave a comment and let us know what abbreviations you use or see others use most. And remember to follow @diamondreporting on Twitter!