Twitter 101: Direct Messaging


direct mes·sage – a private message sent via Twitter to one of your followers (aka. DM and Message)

Sometimes on Twitter you may find yourself wanting to communicate privately with other tweeters. Twitter provides a feature called direct messaging for this type of communication. Direct messaging is also known as DM, and messaging. There are several restrictions on direct messaging that you should know about. The main restriction to direct messaging is that you can only direct message a follower. If you need more information on what a follower is, check out our earlier post titled “Twitter 101: Following & Leading” . Another restriction is that Twitter will only display up to 100 direct messages in your conversation. Twitter has plans to expand this, but nothing has been implemented yet. Direct messages are also restricted to 140 characters, similar to a tweet. So you will need to be brief in your message. Lastly, if the tweeter that you are direct messaging deletes the message, it will be deleted in your message box as well. If you delete a direct message, it will be deleted from the message box of the tweeter you sent it to.  Here is a breakdown of the restrictions:

  • You can only direct message followers
  • Only the most recent 100 messages in a conversation will be displayed
  • A message is limited to 140 characters
  • Deleting a message will remove it from the tweeters messages and yours

Despite these restrictions, direct messaging is a great way to communicate privately in the Twittersphere. So let’s send out a direct message to one of our followers.

Being Direct: The Direct Message

First, you will want to log into Twitter, and visit your home timeline. We will need to select a follower to send the message to, so let me walk you through the steps to find a list of all your followers. In the right pane of your home timeline, near the top, you will see a link titled “Followers”. Here is a screenshot of it:

Example of the Followers Link

Click that link. You will now see a list of all the tweeters that are following you. Choose one you wish to send a message to, and remember their name. I will send a direct message to PauleLuebbers.

MissioDigio Followers

We now need to visit our messages page to send a new direct message. Click the “Messages” link in the top navigation to get to the page.

Example of Messages Link

Click the “New Message” button in the left pane to begin creating your direct message.

New Message Button

A dialog will pop up that looks like this:

Messaging Dialog

In the first input, begin typing the username of the tweeter that you wish to message. You will notice that Twitter will automatically display a list of matching tweeters as you type.

Messaging Auto Complete

Click on the tweeter that you want to send a message to, and Twitter will add the username to the input box. In the second box, type in the message that you want to send to the tweeter. Remember, you can only type 140 characters, so be brief. Once you are done, hit the “Send” button. The dialog will disappear, and a message will display to let you know the message was sent. Now refresh the page.  On the left,  you see a list of tweeters that you have sent a direct message to, or received a direct message from.  The most recent tweeter that you direct messaged should be on the top.  If you click on a tweeter on the left,  you will see the conversation between you and the tweeter display on the right.

Conversation with Paul

The number 1 next to PauleLuebbers displays the number of messages in that conversation. The conversation is a list of messages between you and the tweeter you sent the message to. Here is an example of a direct message I sent to JPulos, and he replied.

Conversation with JPulos

You should notice that the number in the left pane is 2, because we have 2 messages in this conversation.  If you want to add another message to the conversation, just use the message box on the top of the right pane.

Message Box to Continue Conversation

Just click in the box, and type your message. When you are done, click the “Send” button.

Direct messaging is a great way to engage your followers on Twitter. It gives you the ability to find out more about the tweeters that are following you, and provides a platform to interact in the with people who share your vision. Direct messaging opens the door to possible relationships that can encourage your spirit, strengthen your faith, and/or spread the word about the work of your ministry. So take the time to get to know those who are following you by using the direct messaging feature on Twitter.

Welcome to Missio Digio's Twitter 101 series. This is our first series of posts developed by Missio Digio. This series is designed to help you discover new ways to use Social Media in your day to day operations, and strengthen your communication with your congregants and/or supporter base. If you have any questions, please submit them under "Got a question?" or, just add a comment below.

Other Articles in the Series

  1. Twitter 101: A New Form of Communication
  2. Twitter 101: The Power of Social Media
  3. Twitter 101: Signing Up & Guided Tour [video]
  4. Twitter 101: Following & Leading
  5. Twitter 101: Tweeting
  6. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 1
  7. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 2
  8. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 3 (Multimedia)
  9. Twitter 101: Anatomy of a Tweet Part 4 (Location-Based Tweeting)
  10. Twitter 101: Direct Messaging
  11. Twitter 101: Organizing with Lists
  12. Twitter 101: Searching the Twittersphere
  13. Twitter 101: Fresh Coat of Paint
  14. Twitter 101: Text to Tweet
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