What the Top 20 words people use on Twitter tell us

E.B. White said, “Use the smallest word that does the job.”  In looking at the Top 20 words people use on Twitter, it appears we listen to E.B.’s advice.  Because the Top 20 words, as reported by Hubspot, are usually no more than 3 to 4 letters.
Is it the 140 character limit?  Perhaps, but I don’t think so.  Because, in looking closer, what they share is more than a similar number of letters.  It’s a human desire in all of us to establish community and build strong relationships.
Here are the Top 20 words people use and what they tell me.  See for yourself if this is what they tell you.

  1. YOU: The #1 word reflects our desire to reach someone.
  2. TWITTER: It’s part of our DNA to talk about the brands we use with others.  And Twitter is a brand.  We like to share our brand experiences.
  3. PLEASE:  To make something happen, as we all know, it helps to start with a respect for one another.
  4. RETWEET: A primary use for Twitter is to amplify conversations.
  5. POST:  This word has a number of definitions, but here it means to announce something we”ve published or something someone else has and we think it’s worth passing along.
  6. BLOG:  Twitter is a micro-blogging service, which is how Wikepedia describes it.  It’s a short form bulletin board that serves as an invitation for longer form conversations.
  7. SOCIAL:  Many of the words in the Top 20 reflect participation, including this one.  It also describes the category Twitter is in.
  8. FREE: According to comScore, 28% of people on Twitter right now are searching for deals and another 25% have something to offer.  Twitter is a community, but we also use it as a marketplace.
  9. MEDIA:  People use Twitter as their media channel to connect with those who share similar interests.
  10. HELP:  On Twitter, we: 1)  Show our vulnerability and 2) reach out to support one another.  Glad this word is here and in the Top 10.
  11. GREAT:  For the most part, this word is used to acknowledge someone else’s tweet which is also gratifying to see.
  12. PLEASE RETWEET: See #3 and #4 and combine.
  13. SOCIAL MEDIA: See #7 and #9 and combine.
  14. 10:  We frequently give tips, advice or reasons to support what we hope will help others.  The number we give most often is 10.
  15. FOLLOW: Another key reason for being is to point people in the direction of those who share similar goals and passions.
  16. HOW TO: We use Twitter to teach others something new.
  17. TOP:  We like to know what others rank highly.  It helps to see if we’re like-minded.
  18. BLOG POST: Like I said earlier, Twitter is a micro-blogging service.
  19. CHECK OUT: We point out where there is something of others worth reading or looking at.
  20. NEW BLOG POST: As you know by now, Twitter is a micro-blogging service and, to many, a personal newspaper about topics that are highly relevant to us.

You can learn a lot by the words people use.  Since these are the words used most often, in addition to what we say, they indicate how we act.  I was encouraged to see these words as the Top 20.  They are the compilation of a huge amount of activity.  They show a desire to bond, guide, help one another and to find others with similar pursuits.
What do the Top 20 words tell you?


  1. evernewpi

    YOU. Check out new blog post. Not twitter, not a retweet, not free, not social, but great blog with media and help.
    Nearly all words used. And now what does that tell you?

    1. Rob Petersen

      Thanks for your comments. Glad you were able to put these words together for the greater good. Liked your post.

  2. Michele Price

    Rob learning from my radio guests each week, one in particular sticks out-Don Cooper is always helping us understand the motivations and emotional triggers behind WHY customers buy.
    It is silly for us to get upset to learn that people are human and will always think about themselves first, hence #1 word being You.
    We can either understand and tap into that core behavior or we can be naive and say I will “be better” than others-which is just us activating our own egos.
    What are your thoughts?

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