Direct Message (DM) basics
So what exactly is a Direct Message (DM)? Well, sometimes you want to send a fellow Twitter user (Twitterer?) a private message. One that does not get seen by the rest of the world or even your followers. It’s just between you and that other person.
In order to send this person you’re looking to connect with a Direct Message (DM), just go to their profile (@theirtwittername) and click on the little envelope icon. You’ll find it toward the top right just below the header of their Twitter Profile.
Once you click on that icon, you’ll see the Direct messages section all the way to the right. The new DM message box is at the bottom. Now you can message them privately.
How to use Direct Message feature
You still have only 280 characters, just as with a regular tweet. But there’s nothing to stop you from getting a conversation going. Just type in your message, and send by clicking the right-pointing arrow all the way bottom right.
And if you want to send more than one DM to finish your thoughts, you can simply add > at the end of your first message. This way the other person knows more is coming. Or you can simply say more..., but the > sign saves you a few characters.
If you don’t know the person’s Twitter “handle” you can type their name in the upper right “search Twitter” box. Hopefully the person you’re looking for will show up there. I think if you follow them, Twitter will for sure give you their name and Twitter username / handle.
But you need to read on …
One more thing about DMs
RULE CHANGED: This old rule is NOT true anymore:
“Important rule for Direct Messages: You can only send a DM if the person follows you. I’m sorry. If they don’t follow you yet, you can try following them and see if they follow back. But if they don’t or won’t follow you back, you can’t DM them.”
Well, that used to be the way it worked. But as of now, here is what Twitter says:
“When you enable the Receive Direct Messages from anyone setting, anyone can message you, even if you do not follow them. If you previously had a conversation with a person through Direct Message, that person is able to message you regardless of if you follow them or not.”
[Article updated in 2022]