How to Get Started on Twitter

Learn to tweet, retweet, use a hashtag, and more

The Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device
Bethany Clarke/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Twitter is a social networking platform that enables users to interact through messages of up to 280 characters. You can create posts, along with photos or videos, and you can interact with others by "favoriting" a post to indicate that you like it, replying, or "retweeting" the post so it gets broadcast to your followers.

Twitter is a great resource for keeping up with friends, tracking breaking news, participating in discussions, and sharing your experiences at live events. Once you learn the basics, you'll find it easy to post and interact just like the pros. If you've been curious about how Twitter works and are interested in jumping in yourself, take a look this quick guide to get started.

Post Your First Tweet

On Twitter, posting an update is called "tweeting." The post itself is called a "tweet."

  1. To create your first tweet, after signing up for the service, in the upper-right part of the screen select Tweet.

    Tweet button
  2. The Compose new Tweet window will appear. Type your message in the text field, keeping in mind the 280-character limit. A circle in the bottom-right corner of the text field tracks how close you are to reaching the limit. On this screen, you have the option to add a photo or video, insert a GIF, share your location, or add a poll.

    Twitter with new tweet window displayed
  3. If you'd like to reference another Twitter user, add their Twitter handle (that is, their Twitter profile name) beginning with the @ symbol. As you type, Twitter will offer options for you to select.

    @ mentions on Twitter
  4. You can also include an established keyword (known as a hashtag), or create one of your own. For example, if you're posting a comment about Game of Thrones, you can use the #GameofThrones hashtag. All hashtags start with the # mark, and various brands and events often publicize their official hashtag so you know which one to use. There are also lists where you can find existing hashtags.

  5. To publish your post, in the bottom-right part of the Compose new Tweet window, select Tweet. Anyone following you and anyone who visits your profile page will be able to see your tweet.

Follow Other Accounts

As part of the signup process, Twitter offers suggestions for other Twitter accounts to follow. Following means their tweets will show up in your feed. There are other ways you can find new users to follow:

  1. If one Twitter user mentions another in a tweet, you can click the handle name of the mentioned user to go to their profile. On their profile, select Follow.

    Follow button on Twitter
  2. If you want to find a specific person or entity, type their name into the search field at the top of your home screen. A list of matching names will come up. Choose the one you want and, when you arrive at their profile, select Follow as described in #1.

    Search field on Twitter

    A blue checkmark next to a Twitter handle means that account has been verified as the actual person or entity named.

  3. On your home screen, in the right rail, you'll see a Who to follow list. To follow one, select Follow under their name.

    Who to Follow list on Twitter

Reply to a Tweet

Replying to a tweet is similar to posting a comment on Facebook in that you're "talking back" to the original poster. Follow these steps if you see a tweet you would like to reply to:

  1. In the bottom-left part of a tweet, select the dialog balloon.

    Reply button on Twitter
  2. In the Reply to dialog box, type your response in the text field. The handle(s) of the person or people you are replying to will appear at the top of the field, ensuring it will be directed to those Twitter users.

  3. Select Reply. Your reply will be visible to anyone viewing the original tweet as well as the people you replied to.

    Reply button on Twitter

Delete a Tweet

Tweeted something you regret? That's okay, you can delete your tweets.

Deleted tweets may still exist in some places, such as if another user retweeted your tweet before you deleted it. The best way to avoid the existence of embarrassing tweets is to think before you tweet!

  1. From any Twitter page, in the upper-right corner, open the main menu by clicking your profile photo (or the person icon if you haven't uploaded a photo). Select Profile.

    Profile button on Twitter
  2. On the tweet you want to delete, select the down-arrow and choose Delete Tweet.

    Delete Tweet button on Twitter
  3. Confirm that you want to delete the tweet, and it will be deleted from your account, and from the timeline of any account that follows you.

Share Someone Else's Post With a Retweet

If you read something funny or noteworthy you want to share with the people who follow you, Twitter makes it easy to do. The process is called "retweeting."

  1. Under the tweet you want to retweet, select the retweet (double-arrow) icon.

    Retweet button on Twitter
  2. A dialog box will appear with the original post and a text field. If you just want to retweet with no comment, select Retweet.

    Retweet button on Twitter
  3. If you want to include a comment, type it in the text field, then select Tweet.

    Twitter with retweet dialog box displayed
  4. The post will appear on your profile page and in the timelines of those who follow you.