How to Get Started on Twitter

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

Twitter is a social networking platform where users interact through messages of up to 280 characters. Create posts, along with photos or videos, and 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 way to keep up with friends, track breaking news, participate in discussions, and share experiences at live events. Once you learn the basics, it's easy to post and interact just like the pros. If you've been curious about how Twitter works and are interested in jumping in, follow 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.

After signing up for the service, create your first tweet.

  1. Select Tweet.

    Tweet button on the twitter dashboard
  2. In the Compose new Tweet window, type your message in the text field. A circle in the lower-right corner of the text field tracks how close you are to reaching the 280-character limit.

    Twitter with new tweet window displayed

    There are also options to add a photo or video, insert a GIF, share your location, or add a poll.

  3. To reference another Twitter user, type the @ symbol and add their Twitter handle (that is, their Twitter profile name). As you type, Twitter offers options for you to select.

    @ mentions on Twitter
  4. Include an established keyword (known as a hashtag) or create one of your own. For example, on a comment about Game of Thrones, use the #GameofThrones hashtag.

    Hashtags start with a # mark. Brands and events often publicize their official hashtags. There are also lists that publish existing hashtags.

  5. To publish your post, select Tweet. Your followers and visitors to your profile page will see your tweet.

Follow Other Accounts

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

  1. If a Twitter user mentions another in a tweet, select their handle name to go to their profile. On their profile, select Follow.

    Follow button on Twitter
  2. To find a specific person or entity, go to the Search box and enter their name. A list of matching names displays. Choose the one you want to go to their profile, then select Follow.

    Search field on Twitter

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

  3. On the right side of the home screen, there's a Who to follow list. To follow one, select Follow next to 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 lower-left corner of a tweet, select the dialog balloon icon.

    Reply button on Twitter
  2. In the Reply to dialog box, type your response in the text field. The handle of the person you are replying to appears at the top of the field.

  3. Select Reply. Your reply is visible to anyone who views the original tweet as well as the people you replied to.

    Reply button on Twitter

Delete a Tweet

If you tweeted something and change your mind, delete your tweet.

Deleted tweets may still exist in some places, such as if another user retweeted a tweet before it was deleted. To avoid embarrassing tweets, think before tweeting.

  1. From any Twitter page, go to the upper-right corner and select your profile photo (or the person icon if you didn't upload a photo), then choose Profile.

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

    Delete Tweet button on Twitter
  3. Confirm that you want to delete the tweet. The tweet is 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 appears with the original post and a text field. To retweet with no comment, select Retweet.

    Retweet button on Twitter
  3. To include a comment, type it in the text field, then select Tweet.

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