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Updated 8 Jan 2020

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How to Direct Message Anyone on Twitter

Do you ever feel like you will just never “get” social media? Does lingo like “tweets”, “IM”s and “DM”s make your head spin? And when did we start short-forming everything, like “Insta”, “app”, and “LOL”? In 2019 there certainly is an app for literally everything you could imagine, and social media has become our primary method of communicating, getting informed, and being entertained.

Twitter has come a long way since it’s beginnings in 2006 and is now one of the top social media platforms with over 330 million active monthly users sending 500 million tweets per day!

If you want to move beyond the basic tweet and understand what Lizzo means when she raps about someone being in her DMs, it’s time to dust off the ‘ole smartphone and get your fingers ready, because this article’s for you!

Here you will learn just how easy direct messaging on Twitter can be while gaining some practical tips for using Twitter DM and finish up the pros and cons that come with direct messaging.

How Direct Messages Work on Twitter

What is the purpose of the DM feature on Twitter? Direct messaging allows you to send information in a private, rather than public, forum - in other words, a private conversation- and offers all kinds of benefits for users. Simply, it is like text messaging for Twitter.

In addition to providing a flexible method of contacting someone, DMing on Twitter allows you to reach out to anyone who follows you, provided you follow them back. There is also a new feature accessible under your account settings (privacy and safety) called “receive Direct Messages from anyone” that allows ANY Twitter users to DM you, regardless of whether you follow them or not.

Twitter’s DM feature is super helpful if you are trying to reach someone but you don’t know any of their contact information, or if you want to send a group message to multiple users.

All you need to do to use Twitter’s DM tool is:

  1. Log in to your Twitter account
  2. Click “Messages” from the menu bar the bottom (the envelope icon)
  3. Click “New Message” at the bottom of the page (the envelope with the “plus” symbol)
  4. Enter the user name of the person(s) you want to direct message and select it from the menu that appears.
  5. Type your message in the text box that says “start a message.”
  6. Click “Send”

How to Receive Direct Message Requests

How can you tell if someone is trying to DM you? As with other social networks, you will get notifications in Twitter when you have received a new DM.

To see these alerts and how many new DMs you have, look for a bubble with a number in it next to the Messages link in the left rail of your home screen. You can also enable text and email alerts for new Twitter DMs, which can be really handy if you don’t want to have the Twitter app open all the time.

If you have enabled the “Receive messages from anyone” option, you will receive a request in your message inbox for any incoming messages from people you don’t follow – including group conversations that you’ve been added to. To see these requests, simply access your inbox, and from there you can either Delete or Accept the message. You will be able to connect with the person only if you accept the message, and they will not know you’ve seen their message until it is accepted.

On occasion direct messaging won’t work, like if you use a third-party or outside application to send or receive DMs. The issue has to do with permissions, so to check if the app you are using has permission from Twitter to access your DMs, simply log into your Twitter account, click the gear icon, and then click "Settings."

Additionally, you may be over the 1,000 DM daily limit Twitter has set for its users, so cool your jets for the day and try again tomorrow.

For more tips about troubleshooting, click here.

How to Manage Your Direct Message Inbox

Whether you’ve decided to communicate directly with more followers or just want to stay in touch with your friends or family, it will be important to manage and stay on top of your direct message inbox.

Here are some of the most common questions that pop up around managing your inbox:

How do you know if your direct message has been received?

Twitter has a great little feature called “Read receipts” that works the same way as it does in Facebook messenger or iMessage. This feature allows you to see when the person you’ve sent a DM to has read your message.

Just go to your Twitter Messages Inbox and tap once on the message bubble in the conversation. The word "Seen" will appear just below and to the left of the checkmark (✓), if the recipient has indeed seen the message.

How do you get back deleted Twitter direct messages?

A deleted Direct Message or conversation (sent or received), is only deleted from your account, so others in the conversation will still be able to see the DM or conversations.

Deleting a group conversation means that you will leave that group and will no longer be able to participate.

But, if you didn’t actually mean to delete that whole conversation, don’t worry, nothing is ever really gone! To retrieve your deleted message you can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Ask the recipient of those DMs to send you a screenshot
  2. Find the email notification Twitter sent you and read the message attached in the email

How do you know if someone disabled your Twitter direct message?

Blocking a user prevents that user from being able to follow or send DMs to that account. So you will know if someone has blocked you if you cannot send a DM to them any longer. You will also receive a message that you have been blocked from a user account if you try to visit that account.

Remember, unless an account has enabled the receive Direct Messages from anyone option, you will not be able to direct message them unless they follow you.

How do you see your direct message history on Twitter?

Your account history is accessible through viewing your Twitter account data when logged in to the app.

Once you are logged in, click on your profile icon, then click on Settings and Privacy from the drop-down menu that appears. Finally, click on Your Twitter Data to see information like your downloaded contacts, your entire tweet history, the apps you’ve given permission to access your Twitter account, and users you’ve blocked or muted. You can even download your Twitter data in a convenient zip file for a rainy day’s worth of viewing if you choose.

Pros and Cons of Messaging Someone on Twitter

Pros:

Free is always good, so the biggest 'pro' for Twitter DMing is that it still costs you nothing to send direct messages to your followers, and to receive messages from the users you follow.

You can also send up to 1000 DMs per day, which is especially helpful for businesses involved in customer service. Let’s not forget that possibly one of the reasons why people follow you is because they love hearing from you!

Twitter DMing is also both a public and private platform, which provides a unique advantage over, say, Facebook Messenger.

Cons:

Twitter users enjoy the freedom to follow businesses to hear about sales and deals and they would typically prefer to connect with a business themselves by starting the conversation. But, unless that business follows the customer, the customer will not be able to reach out.

For people who want to send announcements to their followers via DM, it could take a while. Group messages are limited to 50 people per message so you’ll have repeat the process often depending on the numbers you want to reach.

The final word

“Sliding into the DMs” to chat with a friend, send your fave celebrity a cheeky private message, or connect with potential clients has never been easier thanks to Twitter DM.

While you certainly can start a conversation with someone you follow by @-ing their Twitter user name in a post, Twitter DM is more private, more immediate, and ensures the message will be seen.

The feature is similar in function to other popular direct messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or iMessage, and it is super easy to use. Give it a try and you’ll be tweeting and DMing with the best in the social media universe in no time flat.

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