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Top 50 Twitter Acronyms, Abbreviations and Initialisms

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This past January,  I wrote up the “Top 15 Twitter acronyms” for @pistachio‘s Touchbase blog. As readers rightly pointed out, many were abbreviations or initialisms — hence the title for this post. I followed that up with a “Top 10 NSFW Twitter Abbreviations.” This list combines the two and includes some key additions, like HT, RE and FML. If you have others you think I missed, add ’em in the comments.

@
Reply to [username]

AFAIK
As Far as I Know

b/c
Because

BFN
Bye For now

BR
Best Regards

BTW
By the Way

DM
Direct Message. d username sends one.

EM
Email

FB
Facebook

FF
Usually #FF for Follow Friday. #FollowFriday is supposed to work better than it does. If you #FF someone, take the characters to explain why.

FFS
For F–k’s Sake

FML
F–k My Life

FTF
Face To Face. Also, F2F. Or the Fair Trade Federation. Many other options.

FTL
For The Loss

FTW
For The Win

FWD
Forward

FWIW
For What It’s Worth

HT
Hat tip

HTH
Hope That Helps

IMHO
In My Humble Opinion

IMO
In My Opinion

IRL
In Real Life

JV
Joint Venture

J/K
Just Kidding

LI
LinkedIn

LMAO
Laughing My Ass Off

LMK
Let Me Know

LOL
Laughing Out Loud

MT
Modified Tweet

NSFW
Not Safe For Work

OH
Overheard

OMFG
Oh My F–king God

OMG
Oh My God

PRT
Partial Retweet (at the start of a tweet). Sometimes “Please Retweet” Old School: Party

RE
In reply to. As in, use RE for @replies on Twitter. Used in front of the @ to ensure all followers can see the conversation. Further ontext: “Community, @replies, #fixreplies and Change

RR
Re-Run

RT
Retweet

RTF
Read The FAQ. RTFF shows up too. RTF also stands for Rich Text File.

RTFM
Read The F-ing Manual

RTHX
Thanks For The ReTweet

SNAFU
Situation Normal All F–ked Up

SOB
Son Of a Bitch

STFU
Shut The F–k Up

TMB
Tweet Me Back

TMI
Too Much Information

via
My one cheat: “via” is not an abbreviation or acronym. It simply means that a tweet is from @username, though in some cases it may mean that it’s also an exact retweet. Tricky, this online user-defined lingo and twitribution is.

WTF
What The F–k

WTH
What The Hell

YMMV
Your Mileage May Vary

YW
You’re Welcome

BONUS:

Since this list was first published, some of these have become more popular and others have emerged. RT is still – by far – the most frequent acronym. New additions are added below, along with many suggestions in the comments.

TIL
Today I learned.

NB
Nota Bene. Make sure to read the comments, where there are many great additions.

ICYMI
In Case You Missed IT [HT @BrianStelter]

Update: Justin Kownacki thinks we should stop saying “in case you missed it” on Twitter. (That includes ICYMI, too.) I agree.

CX
Correction

RTQ
Read The Question or Retweet Question

STFW
Search The F —ing Web

TL
Timeline

TL;DR
Too long; Didn’t Read.

TT
Translated Tweet.

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RLRT: Real Life Retweet. To repeat on Twitter what someone said in person.

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When shouldn’t an organization use social media?

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Facebook broke 200 million users this month. Wikipedia is one of the most well-known websites in the world. Blogs affect stock prices. NPR is all over podcasting. Celebrities talk about Twitter on late night TV. The POTUS even used Twitter to announce he’d be taking questions for his livestreamed townhall at the White House with Google Moderator and blogged about it. Heck, President Barack Obama’s Open Government Directive will encourage Federal agencies to tweet and use other social media tools to achieve greater transparency.

Paul Gillin made some excellent points in a recent BtoB Magazine article, “When to avoid social media,” that I think Sarah Peres undersells in her recent post on ReadWriteWeb, When NOT to use Social Media, without perhaps giving full weight to his experiences talking to large enterprises about how they use technology.

I find Gillin’s last point most compelling, given that privacy and regulatory concerns that pertain to social media are an area I’m paying close attention to right now — and not just because I work at a public company myself:

Privacy and regulatory concerns. While a few health care companies have started blogs and social networks, most are proceeding with justifiable caution. If you’re in an industry where people can go to jail for what they say in public, you should be careful. Much as I hate to say it, you should probably get the lawyers closely involved.

Most large enterprises and governmental agencies have protected, proprietary or personally identifiable information that they can face considerable liability for disclosing or failing to protect against a data breach.

In those environments — and let’s be clear here, we’re not talking about a “handful of examples,” given the proportion of the economy constituted by big business, government, law and healthcare — jumping in to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other public-facing social media tools may hold much more risk than reward if it’s not done carefully. For attorneys, for instance, individual features like “Recommendations” on LinkedIn may pose ethical issues. Paul’s right; if such an organization doesn’t have a strategic vision or buy-in from upper management, they’re likely better off staying out of actively — and be clear with staff that that is the expectation for them as well. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be doing active brand management; just that posting publicly may not be optimal.

All of this pertains to social media as it exists on the public Internet. Once the various tools, including blogs, wikis and microblogging platforms, move behind the firewall, however, many of the issues posed by corporate communications and data leaks are addressed. That is, if the software is secured like rest of the enterprise’s systems. Adoption of social media tools in the form of collaborative social software at enterprises, or “Enterprise 2.0,” provides an entirely different value proposition and list of considerations that I’ll leave to folks like Professor McAfee to pose. I would note that if the CIA could create, extend and maintain an Intellipedia, there’s hope for even the most hidebound, hierarchical organizations to follow suit.

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