Twitter 101: The Beginner’s Guide


One of the reasons that Twitter can be a bit intimidating to HR professionals is that Twitter has its own lingo unlike anything Facebook or LinkedIn uses. However, Twitter can be a great source of talent that you may not find on other platforms due to Twitter’s hyper-sharability and vast network of users.

Before you write Twitter off as too confusing, take a look at these commonly used Twitter terms and what they mean. Although this platform takes a bit of practice, you’ll find that within a few weeks you’ll be tweeting like a pro–and drawing in more job applicants than ever!



A Tweet is a message posted on Twitter, consisting of 140 characters or less. It can contain text, photos, links and videos. It’s important to note that whenever you include any of these things they will be counted as a link and automatically take up to 22 characters.

If you intend to post a link to a website, you should first use a URL shortener so you have enough character space for the rest of your post. Popular URL shorteners are and tinyurl, which can reduce the link’s character count to under 20 characters. Twitter also has its own URL shortener,



A reply is in direct reply to another user and it appears on your and the other person’s public timeline. It will only be seen by the person you replied to and the people following both of you.

Replying to a Tweet is a nice way to build relationships with your followers and join in conversations. Reply by starting a message with @username and then following with the post itself.


Retweet (RT)

A retweet is a re-posting of a tweet by another user to your own timeline because you found it interesting or informative enough to share with your own set of followers. To retweet, simply hit the ‘retweet’ button that appears when you hover your mouse over someone else’s post. Clicking this will immediately place the post on your timeline for your followers to see. The original tweeter’s profile photo will appear with the note to show that you retweeted it. You can also use the Quote Tweet button to add your own message to the original Tweet, or copy and paste the text into a new tweet preceded by “RT” and the @username.



Favoriting something is a great way of acknowledging or showing your appreciation for a Tweet. It can also be useful to use as a bookmarking tool if you want to easily find a Tweet again.



A hashtag is any word, or phrase without spaces, beginning with the # symbol. People use hashtags to organize conversations and make it easier to find all content related to a given topic. Click on a hashtag to go directly to the search results for that term. Keywords that start with a pound (#) sign are called hashtags i.e. #LocalJobs or #Hiring.

Clicking on the hashtag will lead you to a thread of 100 most recent users that have applied that hashtag to their posts. A hashtag that is the most popularly used at a particular time will be called a trending topic. You can also start your own #hashtag community!



A follower is a Twitter user who has subscribed to your account so he or she can see all your posts and updates on your own page. Generally, if you ‘follow’ another user, that user follows you back. This is not symmetrical, however, as that user may also choose not to follow back.

The more followers you have, the wider audience your tweets will get and the greater influence you will likely have in the micro-blogging community.



Bring a Tweet to another person’s attention by including their @username in your message. You could use it to ask someone a question, to thank them, or simply to highlight a piece of content. A mention is not necessarily a direct response to another user and is mostly applied as an FYI. It is placed anywhere in the body of the tweet, not at the beginning, i.e. It’s a great day today @username.


Direct Message (DM)

A Direct Message is a Tweet-like message that is sent privately and can only be seen by the sender and the receiver. You can only send a DM to somebody who is following you. The limit for DMs is still under 140 characters.

A DM is different from a Mention in that it is private; only you and your recipient can see it. A Mention is posted in the public domain and may be accessed by anybody from both your and your recipient’s network.


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