What Is a Tweetstorm?

All about serial Tweets and when to use them

Thunderstorm
What Is a Twitterstorm?. Tim Martin / Getty Images

The term "Tweetstorm" (not Tweet Storm) was coined and made famous by Marc Andreessen, the noted Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur.

You’ve seen them before—the series of tweets from one person that starts with a number and a slash. Those numbers mean that this is the first in a line of tweets covering a single topic; they're always followed by a number of tweets from the same author. This is a Tweetstorm; it's a way to share thoughts and comments that are too long for the 280 character limit for single Tweets.

A Tweetstorm lets readers know how many tweets to expect. On the surface, this seems like a great idea, but it is not without some controversy.

The primary argument against the Tweetstorm is that Twitter is designed for short bursts of sharing information or opinion. A series of tweets from one person, especially a lengthy series, may be viewed as spammy. No one likes spam, and this could be an easy way to lose followers. This is not to say that the occasional Tweetstorm does not have a place. One case in point might be a newscaster tweeting about a tornado warning, or a broadcaster live-tweeting the Puppy Bowl.

Twitter is known for conveying small nuggets of information and short conversations. It's easy to see why the Tweetstorm used to be viewed as controversial and spammy. But recent Twitter redesigns have made room for Tweetsorms or serial so that they do not spam or hog up space on users' timeline.

Why Should I Tweetstorm?

This question is not so easily answered. Do you find that you rarely run out of your allotted 280 characters when tweeting? Then you may never find the need to do a Tweetstorm. Do you find yourself editing most of your tweets so they can fit into Twitter’s format? Maybe this is for you. As with most things, this is not necessarily an all-or-nothing approach.

How to Post a Tweetstorm

Twitter now facilitates Tweetstorms or serial Tweets. When composing a new Tweet, select the + icon. (It can be found in the lower-right corner of the Twitter app or next to the Tweet button on the Twitter desktop site.

You can compose an entire series of Tweets and publish them all at once by selecting Tweet All. If you'd prefer to post one at a time, simply post your first tweet, then add subsequent Tweets by replying to the first one.