Twitter Tuesday: Communication on Twitter

May 01, 2012 · 3 min read

That thing you do!

Communication is a big part of any social media platform or service. Well, it's basically what the whole social media is about. Communication on Twitter is pretty simple and there are several different ways to interact with others.

Part of the function of Twitter handles (usernames) is to help with interaction. They are used to address a Tweet to certain person or to mention them in the conversation.

The reason why most people suggest to have a as short as possible Twitter handle is because of this: A Tweet is 140 characters long. Including the handle in the Tweet takes it's length of characters (+ the @ sign) out of it.

Replies and mentions

You can send a public message to another Twitter user by including @theirusername in the message. For instance you could try tweeting the following: "Hi @merviemilia! I love your blog." While your followers would see this Tweet on their Twitter "home", I would also be notified about it and see it in my list of interactions. I would also see it even if I didn't follow you. This is commonly called as @mention.

If you didn't want all of your followers to see your communication with me on their Twitter home, you could start the Tweet with @merviemilia. The Tweet would still be available on your profile (for public, if it's a public profile or for your followers, if it's private), but only me and those who follow us both would see it on their home.

Tweets with @ sign and handle in the beginning of them are commonly called as @replies. Especially when they are actual replies for a certain Tweet.

On Twitter home page and the various apps you can also click the "reply button" on a Tweet. Doing so your reply will be shown as part of the conversation around the Tweet you replied at.


I wasn't going to include Retweets in this communication centered entry, but changed my mind. Of course Retweets are another way of communication on Twitter.

Retweet is when you take a Tweet by another user and Tweet it again for your followers to see. What makes it Retweeting rather than stealing is giving the credit, telling where the Tweet originated from.

Formerly Retweets where only made by manually copying the Tweet and starting it with RT (for ReTweet) and @mentioning who it was copied from. This sort of Retweets are today called (on Twitter apps) as Quote Tweets.

The actual Retweets these days are straight copies of the original Tweet. They show on your profile as Tweeted by the other person. The good thing about this sort of Retweeting is that you don't need to include the "RT @handle" on the top of the Tweet and "lose" the characters they take.

Direct Messages

Direct Messages (DM also called as Messages) are a private way to contact another Twitter user. The user must follow you in order you to be able to DM them. As well other users must be followed by you in order to be able to DM you.

Direct Messages are used similarly as emailing or sending messages on Facebook. DMs are shown only to the sender and the receiver of them.

By the way, if you remove a DM you sent from your Messages "inbox", it will also be deleted from the receiver's "inbox" as well. It's a strange feature, I know.

In order to get really into all of this I recommend again to give it a try yourself. Don't be shy. You might get into many interesting conversations.

See also the Twitter Tuesday from last week: Getting started with Twitter. Next week I'll get into finding other users to follow on Twitter. Till then, lets interact!

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Suomeksi (In Finnish): 

Kommunikaatio on iso osa sosiaalista mediaa ja siis myös Twitteriä. Twitterissä voi kommunikoida muutamalla hyvin simppelillä tavalla. Näitä tapoja ovat toisten käyttäjien mainitseminen (@mention), vastaaminen (@reply), viestin uudelleenlähettäminen (Retweet) ja suorien viestien lähettäminen (Message/Direct Message, DM). Mainitsemiseen ja vastaamiseen käytetään @-merkkiä ja käyttäjänimiä (handle). Esimerkiksi minut voi mainita lisäämällä viestiin @tasselflower.

Thank you for reading Twitter Tuesday: Communication on Twitter. I have closed the comments for now, but I welcome you to write your response to your own blog, or to voice them at Twitter or Facebook. In case you wrote your response on your blog, do let me know so that I can read it and possibly link to it from this post.

I will gloriously ignore (and, where possible, report) any responses which contain personal attacks, or seek to promote unrelated business or scams.

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Hei, I'm Mervi!

An artist, geek girl, marketer, and business coach, devoted to help you to be undeniable.

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