An A-Z of journalism Twitter etiquette

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 9 November 2011

There are a limited number of letters in the alphabet, and so, with the suggestion that journalists should be using “NT” to demonstrate a neutral point of view when retweeting, I thought we should just go ahead and define the entire alphabet of inept journalistic use of Twitter etiquette all in one go.

  • AT - Use in place of @ replies in order to protect sources e.g. AT currybet not @currybet. Nobody will ever suspect.
  • BT - Original tweet is complaining about internet or telco related customer service.
  • C**T - Retweet strongly not endorsing the original tweeter.
  • DTs - You suspect the original tweeter may be hungover.
  • ET - Retweet of a known UFO conspiracy theorist.
  • FT - Tweet contains link to content behind a paywall.
  • G&T - You suspect the original tweeter may be drunk.
  • HT - Tweet giving a ‘hat-tip’ to whoever’s website content you’ve just ripped off for an amusingly link free gallery or story
  • IT - Tweet contains link to technology the journalist probably doesn’t understand.
  • JT - You need to try and lip-read this tweet on YouTube to decide if it is racist or not.
  • KT - Retweet of messages sent by female Scottish singer-songwriters.
  • LaTe - Tweet that is the 600th to announce the verdict of a trial being closely followed by 99.9% the world’s media.
  • MT - A retweet which has been modified by the retweeter.
  • NT - A retweet with a neutral tone and positively no opinion.
  • OTT - Tweet is a hysterical over-reaction to a piece by Liz Jones/Laurie Penny (depending on if you work for a left-wing/right-wing news org).
  • PMT - A retweet of something said by a woman which you are condescendingly dismissing on account of her gender.
  • QT - For if you think, judging by the avatar, you might fancy the original tweeter.
  • RT - A retweet.
  • ST - Retweet of something said by a sainted national treasure e.g Stephen Fry or @glinner.
  • TiTs - Contents of image linked to in tweet may be NSFW.
  • UT - Unsubstantiated tweet, for when you’ve got no idea whether a claim in a tweet is true, but feel you must let people know that the London Eye may be on fire anyway just in case.
  • VT - Retweet including a link to some video footage.
  • WTF - Retweet where you find yourself unexpectedly siding with your usual enemies, e.g. siding with FIFA against the EDL, or Louise Mensch praising the Guardian.
  • XTC - Tweet may contain drug reference. Or 80s pop reference.
  • YT - Expression of surprise that someone has tweeted something inconsequential and trivial - “Why tweet?”
  • ZzzzzT - Rewteeting praise of oneself

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