•Block: If you block a Twitter user, that account will be
unable to follow you or add you to their Twitter lists,
and you will not receive a notification if they mention
you in a tweet.
•Direct messaging (DM): You can send and receive private
messages, but only among people whom you follow and
who follow you back.
•Hashtag (#): People use the hashtag or pound symbol #
before a keyword or phrase (no spaces) within a tweet
to categorize those messages and to help them become
more searchable to other users. For example, #IGSJC
is used for all tweets made during the monthly Twitter
A hashtag can be used to live tweet conferences. An
example of this is #ACSCC15, which was the hashtag
used for the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Clinical Congress 2015. When you click on a hashtag, you
can see all other tweets containing the same keyword
•Like ( ): Show your love for tweets by clicking the
small heart at the bottom right corner of the tweet.
Likes are saved to your profile and can be looked at
from your profile page. This function also allows users
to see what other people are liking.
•Lurk: To follow a thread of tweets without tweeting.
•Modify tweet (MT): This function is somewhat outdated
and involves quoting a tweet, but slightly changing the
content. You would use this function to announce you
have corrected a typo, added or removed information,
or clarified information from a previous tweet.
•Reply ( ): This function is found at the bottom left
of all tweets. By clicking reply, a new tweet is gener-
ated with the person who authored the original tweet.
Note that this tweet will show up only on the Twitter
feed of the individual to whom you are replying, as
well as anyone who follows both you and the original
author. For example, the reply, “@RASACS great link,
thanks for sharing!” will be sent to the Twitter feed
of the @RASACS account and anybody who follows
you and the Resident and Associate Society (RAS-
ACS). If instead you include a period or space before
the reply, such as, “. @RASACS great link, thanks
for sharing!” then all of your followers will see the
tweet regardless of whether they also follow the
•Retweet ( ): You can use this feature to share a tweet
posted by another user with all of your followers. Some
users will copy the tweet and insert RT @username
to the beginning of the tweet instead of hitting the RT
button ( ), but this has become a less acceptable way
to share someone else’s tweet.
• Tagging: On Twitter, you have the ability to tag people
in pictures. Since tweets allow only 140 characters, the
number of people whom you can mention is limited.
One way to include more individuals in a tweet is to
tag them in a picture. Pictures generally get more visibility than text-only tweets. The number of people
who can be tagged in a tweet is limited to 10.
• Thread: A series of tweets by multiple users connected
to a general topic, usually by a hashtag.
• Tweetation: A citation or link to a journal article found
within a tweet.
• Username or Twitter handle: The login name users select
Although primarily an online social networking tool,
Twitter is increasingly used to disseminate scientific
information. For example, attendees at scientific
meetings often use Twitter as a means of stimulating
and engaging in further dialogue about presentations
and papers. Not everyone has the interest or opportunity to pose questions at meetings, but it is possible
to foster a virtual discussion on Twitter. While the
speaker presents data at a panel session or meeting,
a full discussion can occur on Twitter related to the