Top 15 Twitter Acronyms

Most of the acronyms you’ll find on Twitter are borrowed directly from decades of net culture, developed as easy Internet shorthand on electronic bulletin boards (BBSes), IRC, IM, and email. Twitter’s integration with SMS naturally means that texting lingo is inherently part of the argot.

Twitter, like each online platforms before it, quickly evolved its own lingo. The 140 character limit necessarily forces concision. Unfortunately, that shortening can also hide meaning, especially if you’re at all new to Twitter. Below are the acronyms that I’ve encountered most frequently on Twitter over the years, along with appropriately short explanations.

RT = Retweet. See @danzarrella‘s RT research, @jowyang‘s RT post on WoM marketing & RT is the FWD of 2008. Dan recently created Tweetbacks; expect a ‘TB’ in the future.

PRT = Partial Retweet / Please Retweet
. In the first sense, PRT means the RT’ed tweet has been edited, usually to fit a username within the character limit.

OH = Overheard. ‘OH’ is commonly used at conferences or while traveling. OH indicates a quotation of someone else’s remarks. @overheard is all about the OH, like the way Overheard in the Blogosphere covers IT.

DM = Direct Message. DMs are Twitter’s email. “DM me” means take the discussion private. Twettiquette suggests long conversations should go into DMs. Note: Adding “DM” to the front of a tweet does NOT = a DM, at least yet. d username does. @techcrunch posted on the danger of DMFails.

@ = Reply to [username]
. @ can also be used expressing ‘at,’ as in location.

BTW = By The Way. BTW is an easy way to add an aside. It’s Twitter’s version of a segue.

FTW  = For The Win. Whatever the action or product FTW modifies is *good*. @RWW explained the origin of FTW, BTW.

FTL = For The Loss (or For The Lose). FTL is generally an expression of disappointment, disapproval or dismay. It’s the opposite of FTW.

IRL = In Real Life. What’s true on Twitter may not be true IRL. After all,on
the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog

FTF = Face to Face. FTF or F2F refers to an actual meeting in person, IRL. That can mean at a tweetup or other occasion where you might encounter other Twitterers.

IMHO = In My Honest Opinion. IMHO usually indicates that ‘This is an op-ed tweet, not a factual assertion.’ UPDATE: It can be argued that “Humble” is the more common meaning, but both are valid for IMHO. At least, IMHO, anyways. Thanks Richard Walker -ed.

YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary. In other words (IOW), what’s true in my experience (IMX) may differ from yours if you try ____ product/service/technique.

BR = Best Regards
. BR is a useful way of being cordial, particularly when making a
difficult request, submitting a complaint, or when introducing yourself.

b/c  = because. b/c is not the same as the blind carbon copy (BCC) used in email.

JV = Joint Venture
. A JV refers to a collaborative enterprise between Twitterers on a project.

LMK = Let Me Know. Tweet me back (TMB) when you have more information about a question or a decision on a request.

There you go. The top 15 Twitter acronyms, along with a few extra ones in the explanations. If you have others that you think should be included, add ‘em to the comments.

@verso & @ahockley maintain a whimsical wiki called the ‘Twictionary‘ where you can find more coinages.

NB (nota bene): You’ll find many other common text or chat acronyms on Twitter, like LOL, OMG or WTF. I’m guessing you’ve long since figured out what those mean. If not, check the long list of IM & chat abbreviations I helped compile for

Twitter Presentations

This is a guest post from esteemed presentations and speaking expert Olivia Mitchell.

People used to whisper to each other or pass hand-scribbled notes during presentations. Now these notes are going digital on Twitter or via conference-provided chat rooms.

Up until now, this back-channel has been mainly confined to the Internet industry and technology conferences. However, a survey of leadership conferences from Weber Shandwick shows that there is a significant increase in blogging and twittering at conferences.

So the next time you present at a conference, instead of being confronted by a sea of faces looking at you, you may be phased by a sea of heads looking down at their laptops. The challenge is how to adapt to presenting with the back-channel.

Benefits of the back channel to the audience

As a presenter, the idea of presenting while people are talking about you is disconcerting. But to balance that, there are huge benefits to the individual members of the audience and to the overall output of a conference or meeting.

1. It helps audience members focus

As a presenter, you might be worried that the back-channel will be distracting. The opposite seems to be true. Dean Shareski says:

The more I’m allowed to interact and play with the content the more engaged and ultimately the more learning happens. The more the presentation relies on the back channel, the more I focus. Knowing that my comments are going to be seen by the presenter or live participants, seems to make me pay more attention.

Rachel Happe adds:

Twitter allows me to add my perspective to what is being presented and that keeps me more engaged than just sitting and listening – even if no one reads it.

2. The audience gets more content

People tweeting during your presentation add explanations, elaborations, and useful links related to your content. Liz Lawley comments:

My “take-away content” from the backchannel equalled or surpassed what I got from presentations directly.

3. Audience members can get questions answered on the fly

In the past, you might have lent over to you neigbor and said “What did she mean by that?” or you remained confused. Now, audience members don’t have to wait to clarify things they don’t understand. They can tweet their question and another audience member will tweet back with the answer. Audience members who tuned out because they didn’t understand now stay engaged.

4. The audience can participate

The back-channel blurs the line between the presenter and the audience. Now everyone can be an active participant. Here’s an account from Gary Koelling of a twitter-fueled participative meeting:

And what struck me was the dynamic of this meeting. It was participatory. No one was talking out loud except the guy presenting the ppt. But the conversation was roaring through the room via twitter. It was exploding. People were asking questions. Pointing out problems. Replying to each other all while the ppt was progressing along it’s unwaveringly linear path.

5. The audience can innovate

As your presentation sparks ideas, audience members can tweet them and build on each others’ thoughts.

6. You don’t have to be physically present to participate

Not only can you watch a live videostream of the presentation, but you can also tweet or chat with the physically-present participants.

7. You can connect with people

Being at a conference where you know no-one or only a few people can be intimidating. People who know each other cluster together and you can feel out of the action. But if you participate in the back channel, you’ll get to know people virtually, and can then introduce yourself physically at the next break. Liz Lawley states:

But the backchannel doesn’t have a limited number of chairs. Anyone can join—and as the two-day event wore on, more and more people did. It allowed conversations to occur between people who wouldn’t have known to seek each other out otherwise.

8. You can do something else

And lastly, if the speaker is tedious, you can get on and do something productive and no one will know.

What about the speaker?

Yes, presenting with the back-channel is challenging. Prepare yourself for what it will be like. We’re used to having eye contact with our audience and using that eye contact and audience reaction to measure how well we’re engaging the audience. Now when you say something brilliant, instead of nods of appreciation, there will be a flurry of tapping. Here’s the positive spin:

The typing means you’re provoking interest

Martin Weller: I want people to be backchanneling during a talk I give because it shows what I am saying is provoking some interest.

Your colleagues can answer questions for you

David Harrison: I knew some of my colleagues who’d helped with the presentation were following the event but what I couldn’t imagine was how powerful a force having your co-workers liveblogging whilst you were talking could be.

You’ll get immediate feedback

Paul Gillin: Having recently waited six months to get audience evaluations from one presentation, I can tell you that the immediacy of the tweeted feedback was wonderful. I was able to use it to get a read quickly on the tech-savviness of the audience and adjust accordingly for the rest of the day.

They won’t fall asleep

Martin Weller: And, if by some freak chance what I’m saying isn’t interesting, then I’d rather people were doing their email or reading blogs than sitting in my session feeling resentful because they are trapped. Hey, I’ve had people sleeping during a talk before – I’d rather they were tapping away on their keyboards.

Managing the back channel

We used to suffer in silence through bad presentations. Today, the audience is now connected. They get to know that others are suffering too – and that changes the way they react.

The most notorious impact of the back channel was at the SXSW ’08 conference during the Keynote Interview. Sarah Lacy was interviewing Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook. Audience unhappiness with the direction of the interview spread through the back channel and ended up with the audience taking over the interview. Check out Jeremiah Owyang’s account at A groundswell at SXSW 08: How the audience revolted and asserted control.

But if you monitor the back channel, the results can be very different. This is an account by Jeffrey Veen of moderating a panel at a conference. He monitored the back channel through his phone:

As the conversation on stage continued, the stream of questions and comments from the audience intensified. I changed my tactics based on what I saw. I asked questions the audience was asking, and I immediately felt the tenor of the room shift towards my favor. It felt a bit like cheating on an exam.

What this means is that when you’re presenting with the back channel – you need to monitor that channel and be prepared to change course and adapt.Robert Scoble says:

I hate being captive in an audience when the people on stage don’t have a feedback loop going with the audience. We’re used to living a two-way life online and expect it when in an audience too. Our expectations of speakers and people on stage have changed, for better or for worse.

How to monitor the presentation back channel

Set up a system to enable you to keep in touch with your audience through the back channel.

1. Ask a friend or colleague, or a volunteer from the audience to monitor the back channel and interrupt you if there are any questions or comments that need to be addressed. Jeffrey Veen calls this person an ombudsman for the audience.

2. If you can’t find someone to take on this role take breaks – say every 10 mins – to check Twitter. Robert Scoble calls this taking a twitter break. You can combine this with asking the audience for “out-loud” questions as well. It’s good practice to stop for questions throughout your presentation – rather than leaving questions till the end.

3. If you’re courageous and know your content backwards, display the back channel on a screen that everyone (including you) can see. This is potentially distracting for you and has the downside in that the visibility it provides can provoke silly tweets from some (eg: “Hi Mom”). But it does mean that you can react immediately to any issues. Spend some time at the beginning of your presentation explaining to your audience how you will respond to the twitter stream and audience members are more likely to use it responsibly.

Presenting while people are twittering is challenging. But isn’t it better to get that feedback in real-time when you can do something to retrieve the situation – than wait till you read the evaluation sheets a few days after the conference – and find that you bombed?

How have you monitored the presentation back channel? Do you have any other advice?

Twitter To Go

Moving the Ball Forward

That’s all a quarterback is paid for.  Figuratively, each of us is also paid to move the ball forward, so we may as well learn how to think like a quarterback.

Every time we don’t engage because “it’s not our job” we’re dropping the ball.  Every time we start a promising project but don’t follow through we’re throwing an incomplete.  Every time we decide to play it too safe we’re just throwing the ball sideways without gaining an inch.

Every day we’re confronted with hundreds of situations where we can add value: make somebody else’s life easier, make a process a little better, teach somebody something new, finish a project that will greatly benefit our organization and our customers.

The ball is in our hands and all the eyes are on us: are we going to gain a few yards, or are we going to drop the ball?  Are we going to get a first down, or are we going to throw an incomplete?  Are we going to go deep for the touchdown or are we going to throw yet another sideways pass?  Our call…

A Birthday Wish

6 Things that Could Make Investors Tell You No

You keep making pitch after pitch to venture capitalists but nobody is offering your investment dollars. You are confident and you believe in your business concept but you just aren’t sure why others aren’t as excited as you are.

The competition for venture capital dollars is stiff and the number of investor dollars that are available for startup is smaller each year than it was the year before. Aaron Levie, cofounder and CEO of Box, has raised more than $160 million in funding and he recommends that “You should have a fully refined, bulletproof story.”

So, what are you doing wrong? These are the most common mistakes most entrepreneurs make when pitching potential investors.


  1. Don’t Go Overboard with Power Point

If you have an hour presentation, you should have no more than 10-15 slides in a presentation. Furthermore, every slide should be graphically appealing and interesting. Nobody wants to see a slide that does nothing more than list data or text and please do not make a slide just to show that you can. If not done well, Power Point presentations can be boring and counterproductive.

  1. Don’t Throw Spaghetti at a Wall

Don’t contact every VC in the country and hope someone responds with a cash infusion into your company. This will waste a great deal of time and yield no results. Research venture capital firms and find those that are most likely to fund a company like yours. Once you have identified your target venture capital organizations, develop and targeted and compelling pitch presentation.

  1. Your Credibility Is Your Biggest Asset

In the startup phase, your credibility is the biggest asset you have. Don’t throw it away by exaggerating or sugar coating your sales figures, the size of your customer base or your experience. You must be completely honest or your pitch is dead on arrival.

  1. Keep Your Value Close to the Vest

Don’t open your presentation with the value of your company. This is a major turn-off to most investors. Sell them on your concept, your experience and your work ethic before you disclose the dollar value you have put on your company.

  1. Business is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Many first-timers make the mistake of asking for investors to help with a short-term cash flow issue. Instead of looking at your business in terms of short-term goals, look for investors that will help you reach long-term customer based milestones. This will help you raise more money and it will show investors that you are planning for the long term.

  1. Don’t Leave Your Product At Home

If your product is something that is small enough to carry, bring it with you. This is especially true if your product is something that is edible or wearable. If you have a new line of energy bars, bring samples for your investors to taste. If you have invented self-warming socks, bring a pair to give to everyone on the panel.

A Personal Branding Strategy to Stand Out From The Crowd

The traditional job-hunting approach advocated by human resources pundits (make a one-page résumé, don’t talk about personal stuff, make your experience look “broad” to appeal to many different industries, etc.) is basically flawed: by making your résumé look “standard”, and by rounding off the edges to try to be all things to all people, you are basically commoditizing yourself and making it more difficult for you to stand out from the crowd.

Posting a standard résumé on a job clearinghouse site such as will only put you on a pile with millions of other people trying to get the same thing using the same ineffective strategy. I suggest that you concentrate instead in building your personal brand online using all the tools at your disposal, the most important of which are a blog and your different social media profiles.

Here’s how I recommend that you start:

  1. Register your name as a URL:

Unless your name is very original, it is most likely taken. If you get lucky and it’s still available, register a combination of your first name and last name with a .com extension: for example, (from now on I will use as a proxy for your name).

If it is already taken, throw in your middle initial (,use a hyphen ( or register the .org version ( You can register your name online for less than $10/year by going to an accredited domain registrar (I use Godaddy for all my domains).

Once you register your name, create a branded email address, like and start using it immediately.

  1. Set up your personal site:

Start by creating a very simple home page (update: or use a service like Nombray to do it for you), perhaps showing a good picture of you and a few links to four or five main sections, like:

  1. Your Blog (this is a must, and the cornerstone of your personal brand online).
  2. About Me (a summary of your background, skills, talents, goals, areas of interest, hobbies, etc. You can post a link to your résumé in this section.)
  3. Contact Me (brief paragraph indicating how to contact you).
  4. My Social Media Profiles (links to your profiles in sites like Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram, Stumbleupon, Flickr, etc.).
  5. Multimedia (videos of presentations you have made, interviews you have given, etc.).

Another popular option is to set your personal blog as your home page, and link to your other sections from a menu or from links on your sidebar (if you chose this option, please follow our suggestions on paragraph 3, below).

  1. Create a special URL for your blog:

Host your blog in its own sub-directory or folder ( or in its own sub-domain( It is generally easier to follow the sub-directory route (less technical details). If you want your blog to pop up automatically when somebody types, to through a 301 redirect.

The reason I’m asking you to go through the trouble of doing this is as opposed to just publishing your blog at is because one day, as your brand grows, you may want to use your home page to showcase the different dimensions of your personal brand (your different products or the different ways your value is “packaged”).

Moving your blog to at this late stage may cause different URL problems, and will confuse users and search engines. It is better to give your blog its own sub-domain or sub-directory from day one. (Matt Cutts, one of Google’s most outspoken authorities, advocates hosting your blog in its own sub-directory, citing some additional search engine benefits).

  1. Make your blog personal:

As you write about your professional areas of interest, don’t be afraid to voice your personal opinions on the topics you cover. Your blog shouldn’t be only factual, but it should reflect your own “editorial review” of the topics that shape your area of expertise.

This is the stuff that will make you truly different to your competitors. Coming across as a real person in this low trust world can be your bestcompetitive advantage.What do you think? Do you have any other tips? Please leave us your comments.