What Is a Tweet on Twitter?

If You're New to Twitter, Here's What 'Tweeting' Really Means

Twitter Tweet Button on Keyboard
Photo © Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

It's hard to go anywhere or talk to anyone in today's modern world without hearing about Twitter, tweets and hashtags. But if you've never once used this mysterious new piece of technology before, you may be wondering: what is a tweet, exactly?

The Simple Definition of a Tweet

A tweet is simply a post on Twitter, which is a very popular social network and microblogging service. Because Twitter only allows messages of 140 characters or less, it's likely called a "tweet" because it sort of resembles the same type of short and sweet chirp you might hear from a bird.

Recommended: 10 Twitter Dos and Don'ts

Like Facebook status updates, you can share media-rich links, images and videos in a tweet as long as you keep it at 140 characters or less. Twitter automatically counts all shared links as 23 characters, no matter how long it actually is -- giving you more room to write a message with longer links.

Twitter has always had the 140-character limit since it first came about in 2006, but only recent;y have there been reports about plans to introduce a new service that will allow users to expand their posts beyond that limit. No additional information has been provided just yet.

The Different Types of Tweets

Anything you post on Twitter is considered a tweet, but the way you tweet can be broken down into different types. Here are the main ways people tweet on Twitter.

Regular tweet: Just plain text and not much else.

Image tweet: You can upload up to four images in one tweet to be displayed alongside a message.

You can also tag other Twitter users in your images, which will show up in their notifications.

Video tweet: You can upload a video, edit it and post it with a message (as long as it's 30 seconds or less).

Media-rich link tweet: When you include a link, Twitter Card integration may pull a small snippet of information displayed on that website page, like an article title, an image thumbnail or a video.

Location tweet: When you compose a tweet, you'll see an option that automatically detects your geographical location, which you can use to include in your tweet. You can edit your location by searching for a specific place too.

@mention tweet: When you're having a conversation with another user, you have to add an "@" sign before their username for it to show up in their notifications. An easier way to generate this is by hitting the arrow button shown beneath any of their tweets or clicking the "Tweet to" button displayed on their profile. @mentions are only public to users who are following you and the user you're mentioning.

Retweet: A retweet is a repost of another user's tweet. To do this, you simply click the double arrow retweet button underneath anyone's tweet to display their tweet, profile image and name to give them full credit. The other way to do it is by manual retweeting, which involves copying and pasting their tweet while adding RT @username at the beginning of it.

Poll tweet: Polls are new to Twitter, and you'll see the option when you click to compose a new tweet. Polls allow you to ask a question and add different choices that followers can choose to answer. You can see the answers in real time as they come in.

They automatically end after 24 hours.

If you want to learn more about Twitter, be sure to check out these resources:

Updated by: Elise Moreau

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