How to Use Twitter Shorthand Codes

The more you use Twitter, the more you're going to want to find quicker ways to tweet. Conveniently, Twitter has included a number of shorthand codes that you can use to perform almost any action directly from the What's Happening? box.

Twitter shorthand codes are particularly useful when you're working from a mobile phone by sending your tweets to 40404 using the Twitter SMS (Short Message Service) gateway.

For a recent list of Twitter commands, browse to Twitter's Help forums. You can access the forums by clicking the help link in your username drop-down menu at the top of every Twitter page. Here are some useful codes to get you started:

  • D direct message: You can send a direct message right from the Update box by typing D username message. In this message, username is the username of the person whom you want to direct message, and message is any message that you want to send.

  • F — follow: No matter what application or interface you use to tweet, you can quickly add a twitterer to your feed just by sending an update to Twitter. Say that you decide to follow the updates of Evan Williams (@ev), Twitter's cofounder and CEO. Just send this message to Twitter: F ev. Or you can type the word follow to do the exact same thing: follow ev.

  • @ — reply: The @ symbol is really a shorthand for referencing another Twitter user. The difference between this command and all other commands is that there is no space between it and the username of the person you want to reach, as in @username hiya!

  • Fav — favorite a tweet: If something someone just tweeted made you laugh, you can favorite that tweet by sending an update to Twitter: fav username. If you're receiving updates on your cellphone, sending fav by itself adds the last update you received to your Favorites tab on your Home screen.

  • Stats: If you ever want to know how many followers you have and how many users you're following, send the update stats. If you're online, Twitter displays a message at the top of the screen letting you know. If you sent stats from your cellphone, Twitter sends you a text message with your stats in it.

  • Get: The Get command allows you to quickly view the last update from a user. Want to see someone's latest tweet? Send to Twitter get username.

  • Whois: If you want to get someone's profile information quickly, use the Whois command: whois username. Twitter sends you a message that contains the user's proper name, how long she's been on Twitter, and her current bio from her Profile page.

  • Leave: Leave seems like it would be the opposite of follow but it's not, at least, not quite. Leave username simply turns off the individual's device updates; it does not unfollow that person on Twitter.

  • On/Off username: Not to be confused with On/Off, On/Off username turns device updates on and off for individual users. Like follow, On will also connect you to people on Twitter so that you're following their updates. Like leave, the Off username command stops device updates, but it doesn't unfollow the username account.

  • Quit and Stop: Quit and Stop discontinue all service between Twitter and your cellphone. They opt your cellphone number out of Twitter altogether. If used, you'll literally have to log into your Twitter account and redo the steps to add your cellphone to your account.

These commands are probably not the best options to quiet your phone. They're handy though, if you accidentally lock your phone into a separate account by sending join to 40404, after you already have an account.

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