What Is a Tweet on Twitter?

If you're new to Twitter, here's what 'Tweeting' really means

Twitter Tweet Button on Keyboard

 Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

A tweet is simply a post on Twitter, which is a very popular social network and microblogging platform. Since Twitter only allows messages of 280 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.

New to Twitter? Check out these top 10 tips for getting started with Twitter and posting your first tweet.

Like Facebook status updates, you can share media-rich links, images, and videos in a tweet as long as you keep it at 280 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.

The Different Types of Tweets

Anything you post on Twitter, either from the web or using a mobile app, 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 the 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.

You might also be interested in finding out what a manual retweet and a modified tweet are, which are somewhat less commonly used than the tweets above, but still found across Twitter today.

Article updated by: Elise Moreau