A field guide to Twitter

For a tech nerd, I joined Twitter relatively late. It’s been less than three years since my first tweet. And it’s just within the past year or so that Twitter has become a central part of my online workflow.

Because I am unapologetically meta, this is my contribution toward identifying, labeling, and celebrating some of Twitter’s more interesting usage patterns.1 If only it could all fit in a single tweet.

  • Conversation-ending favorite: Favoriting a tweet as a way to acknowledge that you’ve run out of clever responses.

  • Passive-aggressive mention: Mentioning someone to express disdain for that person’s app, blog, tweets, etc.

  • Profile photo fatigue: Mental tiredness caused by another person changing their profile photo.

  • Retweet fishing: Mentioning someone in the hope that they’ll retweet you.

  • Retweet nibble: A failed attempt at retweet fishing that only gets your tweet favorited.

  • Self-deprecating retweet: Retweeting a passive-aggressive mention.

  • Timeline leveling: The game-like improvement of your timeline as you follow more people, partly by revealing conversations that had been hidden.

  • Triple crown: A tweet so good that it prompts someone to retweet it, favorite it, and reply to it.

  • Typographic shibboleth: Using smart quotes or em-dashes to signal that you’re tweeting from an app like Instapaper or Tweetbot, whether or not you really are.