According to Twitter, their website has 284,000,000 active users in a month. Accurate or not, even a fraction of that is quite the number. For a community of that size, a natural rhythm occurs where a language slowly develops, one made of codes and acronyms and inside jokes. For a person new to Twitter, first logging into the site and seeing a feed filled with #FFs and DMs and periods before mentions and Twitterverses and—well, there’s a lot and it can be overwhelming. For a person new to Twitter, all that insider lingo by the well-Twittered can have someone feeling like a third wheel pretty quickly. But don’t be intimidated! Twitter is as user-friendly a social media site there is, one that’s pretty spartan compared to other sites out there.
One of the first misunderstandings people come to on Twitter is in interacting with other Tweeters. There are a number of ways to respond to someone else’s Tweet and each one will affect how your and that person’s followers see your conversation.
When you click the reply icon to respond to someone’s Tweet, the default method looks like this:
@BurgerTime1936 I like what you said about sauteed onions
In such instances, the reply is posted to your feed, @BurgerTime1936’s feed, and visible only to your mutual followers. If you’re hoping more people see your insight about sauteed onions, you’ll want to reply manually. To do so, compose a new Tweet and add a period before typing out your friend’s username by hand, like so:
.@BurgerTime1936 I like what you said about sauteed onions
By adding the period before a username, you open up your conversation to all of your and @BurgerTime1936’s followers, mutual or not. Throw a hashtag in there and who knows how many people you can influence.
Now, if you want to keep a conversation between yourselves, you’ll want to DM that person, or “direct message” them. Click on the DM icon and type away. You can rest assured that your message will only be between you and your hamburger-loving friend.