How to Send a Direct Message on Twitter

Another way to have a conversation on Twitter is by direct messaging. Direct messaging is a way to privately message another Twitter user – just like email – to speak without having the rest of your followers see what you two are talking about. These messages are just as short as tweets, which are limited to 140 characters.
To send a direct message on Twitter

Unlike email, where you can send an email to anyone if you have his or her email address, a direct message on Twitter can only be sent to someone who is following you.

Go to and log in (if you haven’t already). When you get to your home page, click Messages on the left-hand side of the header.

A window will pop up that will show you any previous direct message conversations, if you’ve had any. Click New Message in the top right corner of this window.

Click inside the search bar at the top of the screen and type in the name of the person you want to send a message to, then click their name to select them. Repeat for any other users you want to send the same message to. When you’re done, click Next.

After that, sending a direct message is pretty similar to tweeting. Just click in the empty box at the bottom, type in your message (making sure to watch your character count), and then click Send Message.

How to Delete a Direct Message

Go back to your direct messages window by clicking Messages on the left-hand side of the header, and then click on the conversation that contains the message that you’d like to delete.

Move your mouse cursor over the text of the message that you want to delete, and you will see a trash can icon () appear. Click it.

At the bottom of the screen, you’ll have to confirm you want to delete the message (in case you accidentally clicked the trash can). Click Delete Message to delete the message.

Note: deleting a direct message only deletes it from your account; the other person in the conversation will still be able to see the message unless they also delete it.

And that’s how you send and delete direct messages on Twitter!

How to Retweet on Twitter

Ever hear something that you think is too good not to be repeated? Retweeting works just like that. When someone tweets something, you can retweet it, which means that you tweet the exact same thing with the push of a button.  This way, all of your followers can see it, too.

Why Retweet?

If you’re following a major news outlet or a community centre in your neighbourhood, you might want to let your followers know what’s going on in your area if something important crops up. For example, if a local school is holding a fundraiser for charity, you can help spread the word by retweeting their tweet.

How to Retweet

There are two ways to retweet someone’s tweet. The first is to directly retweet it with the push of a button, and the second is to create a new tweet and copy and paste their tweet into yours.

 Direct Retweeting

  1. Find the tweet that you want to share. Once you find it, click the Retweet button.

  2. A window will pop up that shows the original tweet. Click Retweet in the bottom right corner to retweet it.

  3. Once you’ve retweeted it, two things will happen. Where it once said “Retweet”, it will now say “Retweeted”, to let you know you’ve already sent it out to your followers.

    Also, when you go to your home page and look at your tweets, it will show the original tweet with a small “Retweeted by [Your Name]” above.

Copy and Paste Retweet

If you want to add in your own comment to the tweet, you won’t be able to do that by directly retweeting. In this case, here’s what to do:

Compose a new tweet (see our How to Tweet tutorial for help on how to do this) and paste the original tweet into the composition box.  At the beginning of the tweet, add any comments you wish to include in your tweet, and then mention who you are retweeting from by saying “Retweet” (or “RT”) and their Twitter handle (“@HuffingtonPost”, in this example).

Click Tweet to finish and post it so that your followers can see it, too.


And those are two different methods you can use to retweet something on Twitter!

How to Start a Conversation on Twitter

Twitter is a great way to have short conversations with your followers. You can start a conversation or reply to an mention. It’s like sending a short email – that’s public, keep in mind – to one of your friends. Comment on someone’s post, make plans, and so much more by having a Twitter conversation.

Starting a Conversation

Starting a conversation on Twitter is easy. Simply compose a new tweet (see our How to Tweet tutorial if you need help) and mention someone in your Twitter post. This way, they’ll receive a notification of your mention and will be able to respond.

Replying in Conversations

If someone has already mentioned you in a tweet, or if someone posted a tweet that you’d like to respond to, you have the option to reply to that tweet.  Here’s how to do it.

  1. Find the tweet you’d like to respond to. Once you’ve found it, select Reply at the bottom.

  2. Twitter will take the guesswork out of finding their Twitter handle and will include the mention automatically.  From there, just click inside the composition box, type your response, and click Tweet.

  3. Your home page, also known as your Twitter feed or timeline, will show your response. You can click View Conversation to see the previous messages in the conversation.

  4. To close up the conversation and only see the most recent tweet in the conversation, click Hide Conversation.

And that’s how you have a conversation on Twitter!

How to Embed a Video in a Tweet

Along with words, photos and links, you can also add a video to share on Twitter. One way to do this is by sharing a link to the video from a popular media-streaming site like YouTube.  Another is by uploading your own video through the Twitter app on your smart phone.

How to tweet a YouTube video

  1. Go to Click in the search bar at the top of the screen, type in something you’re looking for, and either click a suggested search term or press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.

    Find the video you’re looking for and click on it to go to its page – as if you are going to watch it.

  2.  Underneath the video, there is a Share tab that lists all of the social media websites that you can share the video to.  Click it, and then click the Twitter logo.

  3. A new window will pop up with a link to the video and a title.  (Twitter may also ask you to log in, so go ahead and do that.)  You can click inside the composition window and type in anything else you’d like to say (given it’s within the 140 character limit), and then click Tweet to tweet it to your followers.

Tweet Your Own Videos

You used to be able to upload videos to Twitter by using third-party websites such as Twitpic.  While most of these websites don’t work anymore, Twitter has now built video-tweeting functions right into their mobile applications.

Just download the Twitter app for your smart phone (either your iPhone or your Android-powered phone), record a video that you want to share, edit it as you’d like, and then write the rest of your tweet.  If you’re using an iPhone, you can also edit and tweet a video that’s already on your phone (without having to record it yourself).

Note that videos tweeted this way cannot be more than 30 seconds long.

For further instructions on how to tweet videos from your smart phone, see this help article on Twitter.

How to Tweet on Twitter

“Tweeting” is also known as micro-blogging. This means you send out daily – sometimes multiple times a day – short posts about what’s on your mind, what you’ve seen or heard, or something you find interesting. What you decide to do with your 140-character limit is up to you.

The Basics of How to Tweet

Sending out a tweet is easy. There are multiple shortcuts all over Twitter where you’re able to compose a new tweet, the easiest being the compose button () in the top-right corner of the header that’s at the top of every page on Twitter.

  1. Click the compose button () to start composing a new tweet. A small window should pop up, like the one below.

  2. Click in the white space, and then type in whatever is on your mind. In the bottom right, to the left of the Tweet button, is a character count. It always starts at 140 and counts down so that you’ll always know when you’re running out of space for a tweet. Once you’re done writing, click Tweet to send it into the Twitterverse.

  3. You can also add photos to a tweet by clicking the Add Photo button in the bottom left. Browse through your computer’s files to find a photo, click it to select it, and then click Open to add it.

    Note: Even though a photo doesn’t take up any words, it does take up space, so your character count will still go down.

  4. If you want to tag someone in the photo, select Who’s In This Photo? To tag up to 10 friends. Tagging someone means that they are either in or somehow related to the photo; their name is attached to the photo and they will be notified if they’ve been tagged. Click in the search bar and then type in a friend’s name or Twitter handle, and then click them when they appear to select them.

  5. Once you’re done, click Tweet to post your message. Your tweet will look similar to this:

Adding Mentions and Hashtags to Tweets

You can add mentions and hashtags to tweets. To mention someone in a tweet, type the @ symbol, followed by their user name (e.g. “@BarackObama”).

When you’re mentioning someone in a tweet, it means they were involved in what you were tweeting or you want them to be notified of your tweet.  When you mention someone, Twitter considers it to be conversational, and your tweet will only show up in your feed, the mentioned person’s feed, and the feeds of followers you both have in common. When you add a period before (e.g. “.@BritneySpears”) your tweet will show up in all of your follower’s feeds.

Using a hashtag (“#”) highlights keywords or topics in your tweet, and makes it easy to search for. This means if you tweet “#tired”, it will be a part of the results for anyone who searches for “tired” in the search box. You can hashtag anything from a word to an event to a phrase (but don’t use spaces for anything you intend to hashtag).

Adding Links to Tweets

You can add links for web pages to tweets if you find an interesting article that you want to share. However, many links are long and don’t leave any room for you to say much else. One way to get around this is to shorten the link using an alternate site.

  1. Bitly is a good example of a service that can shorten links, so go to in your web browser.

  2. Now, all you have to do is copy and paste the web address you want to use for Twitter, then click Shorten.

  3. Once you’ve shortened it, select Copy to the right to quickly copy your short link.

  4. Take the link and paste it into your tweet. To paste something you’ve copied, press “Crtl + V” on your keyboard, or right-click your mouse and then left-click Paste.

Tweeting from the Web

Being able to share is what social media is all about. Websites recognize this, and they love it when you promote their content, so many websites are linked to Twitter. It also takes all the guesswork out of shortening a link and trying to find something to say – the site will usually do it all for you at the click of a button.

  1. Take this page on the website as an example. At the top of the article is the option to share to social media, including Twitter.  To tweet this article directly, click the Tweet button here.

  2. A new window will pop up with your tweet all ready to go – if you’re not already logged in, Twitter may ask you to do so.

  3. You can also click in the composition box and type in anything else you want to say. Click Tweet when you’re done.

Now you know some of the different ways to tweet, as well as the different types of content that you can tweet!

Who to Follow on Twitter

Finding out who you should follow is easy. There are so many people and brands using Twitter, and with an no limit to the number of people you can follow, you can make sure to keep up-to-date with all you favourite brands, celebrities, athletes, news sources, and friends.

We’ve mentioned the Discover button on your header in our Twitter Homepage article, but now it’s time to show you an in-depth look at how it works and how to use it.

Finding People to Follow

  1. After going to in your web browser and logging in, click the Discover button in the top-right corner.
  2. You’ll be taken to a page that includes a Twitter feed of people you aren’t currently following, but whom Twitter recommends for you. This way, you can see the types of tweets these people and brands are putting out and you can decide whether you like what they have to say.
  3. On the left-hand menu, click Who to Follow to find a more extensive list of people and brands that you can browse through.
  4. These recommendations are based off of websites you’ve visited, along with recommendations based on people whom you already follow. You’ll see their name, their Twitter handle (for example, @BarackObama), their short biography, and which of your friends is following them. If you want to follow them, click the Follow button next to their name.
  5. There’s also a search bar at the top.  Click in it, then type in a friend’s name, a word, or a phrase, and then press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. If you’re already following someone in the search results, the white Follow button will appear as a blue Following button.
  6. Want to add more contacts from your email list? Have another email list you’d like Twitter to search for Twitter users? No problem. You can always click Find Friends to search through all of your email contacts to see which of your friends or co-workers has a Twitter account.

    For more information on finding friends via email, take a look at our Twitter Profiles tutorial.

  7. You can also click Popular Accounts to see the most followed accounts, organized by genre.

Who to Follow Settings

When you’re on the “Who to Follow” page, you may have noticed the settings icon, similar to the one in the top right that was talked about in our Twitter Privacy tutorial previously.  Click it to see some options.

Tweet To – Lets you send a tweet directly to the user. This tweet is not a direct message and will be public.

Add or Remove From Lists – Lists are a way to keep the people you’re following organized to your liking. Select this to add them to a list, or if they’re already in a list of yours, remove them. Check out the Twitter Lists article to learn more about lists.

Mute – If you don’t want to see tweets from this person, you can click here to mute them. You’ll still be able to search for them and follow them, and you can unmute them at any time.

Block or Report – You can choose to block or report someone on Twitter. Reporting someone means that they have done something to you or someone else – cyber-bullying for example – and Twitter will investigate and take appropriate action, such as banning that account. Blocking someone means they won’t be able to follow you, you won’t be able to see their tweets, and they won’t be able to tag you in photos. You can unblock someone at any time.

How to Unfollow

Sometimes your interests change, or you just want to minimize the amount of people you’re following. Whatever the reason, it’s just as easy to unfollow someone as it is to follow him or her.

As said above, when you see someone you’re following, the white Follow button turns into a blue Following button. To unfollow someone, move your mouse cursor over the Following button and it will change to a red Unfollow button. Click it and you’re done!

And that’s a quick rundown of how to find, follow, and unfollow people on Twitter!

How to Make Your Twitter Homepage Captivating

Each time you log into Twitter, you’ll be taken to your own homepage. You’ll be able to quickly compose new tweets, see what’s trending, and keep up-to-date with people you’re following. It’s almost like your computer desktop, where you can see all of your important files and access them with a quick click.

The numbered captions below the screenshot will explain a bit more about everything you see here.

1. Home – Click here to go back to your homepage at any time.

2. Notifications – If someone has mentioned you in a tweet, if your tweet has been retweeted, or if someone is replying to your tweet, it will show up in your notifications.

3. Discover – Find a list of recommendations that Twitter has for you. From news outlets to fashion magazines to most-followed people, Twitter will suggest people and things you’d like to hear from most.

4. Profile – Access your profile by clicking here.

5. Trends – See what Twitter is talking about most here. Click one of the trending topics to see the most recent tweets that include the trending hashtag.

6. Feed – This is your Twitter feed. Everyone’s tweets of the people you are following will show up in this feed. If there are more recent tweets, Twitter lets you know at the top by allowing you to click View [X] New Tweets. This lets you update your Twitter feed without having to reload the entire page.

7. Search – Click in this box, type in a word or name, and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard.  You can find tweets that contain a particular word or phrase, or look up another Twitter user.

8. Messages – Click here to see any private messages sent to your direct message inbox.

9. Settings – Access your settings, lists, or help; create keyboard shortcuts, edit your profile, or log out from here.

10. Compose Tweet – Click here to begin composing a new tweet.

11. Who to Follow – Here’s a shortcut to Twitter’s recommendations for people whose tweets you may want to track. You can click Refresh to see a new set of three recommendations, or click View All to see a full list of whom Twitter recommends for you.

And that’s a quick tour of your Twitter homepage!

Twitter Privacy: What You Need to Know

Never assume that anything you do on the Internet is private. Everything you say on Twitter is public and many people can attest to just how public Twitter is.

In August 2014, the Toronto Star, one of Toronto’s largest newspapers, sent out a tweet about Robin Williams’ recent death. They chose a quote from Jumanji that was given a lot of backlash:

The Toronto Star deleted the tweet shortly after, but the tweet had already caught wind with other news sources and can still be found as screenshots online.

There are ways to make your tweets more private – where you’re able to send a tweet to only your followers – but if one of your followers retweets it, it becomes public, so it’s always best to be wary about what you’re posting.

Managing Privacy Settings

  1. In order to get to your privacy settings, click your profile picture in the top-right corner and select Settings.
  2. On the left-hand menu, select Security and Privacy to go to your privacy settings.
  3. Here you are able to change your privacy settings, simply by checking or unchecking certain features.  We’ll explain each of them in order below.

    Photo Tagging – “Tagging” is a way of pointing out a person in a photo, or catching a particular person’s attention with the photo because it’s somehow relevant to them. Here, you can choose who can tag photos with your (user)name: anyone on Twitter, only people whom you are following, or nobody.  (NOTE: If you are tagged in a photo by someone, Twitter will notify you and let you decide whether or not you’re okay with it).

    Tweet Privacy – By default, anyone can follow you, and your tweets are made public. By clicking the check box beside “Protect My Tweets”, people will have to request to follow you, and only those who follow you will see your tweets.

    Tweet Location – If you click the check box beside “Add a Location to My Tweets,” whenever you post a tweet, Twitter will include the general location from where you posted it (but not the exact address, for privacy reasons, of course).  You can also type in a custom location; if you do, Twitter will save the location, so that you can quickly select it again for future tweets. You can toggle this setting on or off before each tweet if you’d like. You can also come here and click Delete All Location Information to remove all location information from all of your tweets, as well as any custom locations that Twitter has saved for you.

    Discoverability – Just like how you found your friends who use Twitter by entering their email addresses, others can find you in the same manner if you click this check box to mark it.

    Address Book – Click here to see and manage whom you’re connected with on Twitter. For more information, see our Twitter Profiles and Who to Follow on Twitter tutorials.

    Personalization – Tailor Twitter based on your recent website visits. For more information about this, take a look at the How to Create a Twitter Account tutorial.

    Promoted Content – Twitter has ads, and it can learn what types of ads you want to see if this option is checked. It’ll look at what websites you’ve viewed to choose what you’d rather see.

You can change your privacy settings at any time to suit your needs.

How to Create and Follow Twitter Profiles

Your Twitter profile is what others will see if they go to your Twitter page. It consists of your Twitter handle (read: user name), your profile picture, and a short paragraph about who you are.

Following Others

Before you create your profile, you’ll need to start by following five people to jumpstart your Home Timeline.

  1. In the welcome bubble on the left hand side, click Next.
  2. Select five people to follow. You can use the recommended list, or if you want to find someone specific, click inside the search bar, type in their name, and press the “Enter” key on your keyboard. When you see someone you’d like to keep tabs on, click Follow beside their name.
  3. Once you’ve followed five people, they’ll show up on the right in a preview of what your timeline will look like once you are all set up!
  4. Now, select Next in the top right hand corner.
  5. Now, select five companies and organizations to follow; it works pretty much the same way as step 2 did.  Choose from your local news network, sports team, TV channel, magazine, and more! Once you’ve chosen, select Next.
  6. Twitter now gives you the option to search your email contacts for anyone who’s already on Twitter – you can choose to skip this step if you’d like.If you want to search for your contacts, select Search Contacts next to the type of email you’re using (Outlook, Gmail, etc).

  7. If you have multiple email accounts that you want to use, you can still select those, but they will prompt you to sign in with your email address and password each time. Once you’ve signed into an email account, you’ll be prompted to give Twitter permission to access your contact list. Click Allow Access.
  8. After your address book has been uploaded, your email contacts that use Twitter will show up in the menu on the left.  From there you can click Follow beside anyone’s name to follow whomever you like. If you don’t want to follow anyone in this list, click Skip.
  9. Once you’re finished, go back to the email account that you used to sign up for Twitter.  Twitter has sent you a welcome email and would like for you to confirm your account. Open the email and click Confirm Your Account Now.

Create Your Profile

Now that you’ve confirmed your account, it’s time to add a photo and short biography to complete your profile.

  1. If Twitter doesn’t automatically let you enter your biography or edit other information, select Edit Profile above the “Who to Follow” section.
  2. Select Upload Image to upload a picture of yourself for your profile photo.  (Just navigate through the explorer windows that come up, click on the picture you want to use to select it, and then click Open.)  Underneath, you can click inside the box labelled “Bio” and type in some information about yourself. Keep it short – you’re only allowed 160 characters. List your hobbies, profession, or favourite movie genre – it’s up to you. Once you’re finished, click Done.
  3. This will take you to your profile page that will show you your bio and profile picture. Here you can click the box marked “Location” and type in the city you currently live in. Also, if you have a website – for example, a traditional web blog or a professional website – you can click the box labelled “Website” and type in its web address.
  4. You can personalize your profile page some more by changing the theme colour. Select Theme Color and play around, clicking both the window on the left and the bar on the right to find the colour you like best! Click Done when you’ve finished.
  5. Here you can also add a header photo that will be displayed. Click Add a Header Photo, navigate through the explorer windows that open until you find the picture you want to use, click it to select it, and then click Open.When you’re done making changes, click Save Changes on the right.

  6. Once you’re done, your profile page will look something like this.  The numbered legend below the screenshot will introduce you to some of the elements on the page.

    1. Home – This will take you to your personal homepage, where you’ll see your Home Timeline, with all the tweets of the people you’re following.

    2. Notifications – This takes you to your notifications page. It will show you any new notifications you have – whether someone mentioned you in a tweet or retweeted what you said, it will all show up here.

    3. Messages – Send a direct (and private) message or check to see if you’ve received any! See our Twitter Direct Messaging tutorial to learn more.

    4. Discover -These are tweets tailored to you based on websites you’ve visited that are linked to Twitter, as well as other Twitter pages you’ve visited. This is a good way to explore the Twitterverse and find more interesting things to follow!

    5. Search – Search a word or phrase, or someone you want to follow on Twitter, by clicking on the search bar and typing in what you’re looking for.  Then press the “Enter” key.

    6. Profile Picture – Click here to get help with Twitter, change your settings, or sign out. You can also see what lists you have or compose a new one. A list is a way to organize the people you’re following. Categorize sports into one list, fashion into another, etc. We might have a tutorial on how to use lists on Twitter in the future, so stay tuned!

    7. Compose – Click here to compose a new tweet. See our How to Tweet tutorial for further instructions.

    8. Tweets, Following, Followers, and Favorites – The “Tweets” menu will show you all of the posts you’ve made on Twitter. “Following” shows you all of the people whose activity you’re following on Twitter. “Followers” is a list of Twitter users who are following your activity. And “Favorites” is a list of tweets that you’ve marked as “favorite.”


    9. Who To Follow – Take a quick look here for a few of Twitter’s recommendations on whose tweets you may want to track.

    10. Trends – Trends are the most popular hashtags on Twitter right now.  This is an up-to-date list of what’s trending right now. Click one of the links to be taken to a timeline containing tweets by everyone who’s been mentioning that hashtag.


And that’s a quick overview of how to set up your profile on Twitter!