9 Strange Things About Tweets, Retweets And DMs Every Twitter User Must Know

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9 Strange Things About Tweets, Retweets And DMs Every Twitter User Must Know
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Guest post by Dave Larson

Oh Twitter, how can you be so simple and yet so complicated at the same time? When I joined Twitter in 2007, I thought it was an amazing way to connect with cool people around the world. And it was! In fact, I ended up spending so much time on Twitter, that it wasn’t long before I realized I had become an expert—an expert in making Twitter mistakes. This thing was more complicated than I expected!

I soon created a new account, to help people learn from some of the mistakes I had made. And today, over four years later, I can tell you that I’m still making mistakes on Twitter, learning from them, and helping others avoid making them too. So to help you avoid some of my mistakes, here are some of the strangest things I know about Tweets, Retweets and DMs that you should probably know too:

1. Twitter Didn’t Invent Retweets (But Some People Think They Ruined Them) – On Twitter.com if you click the “retweet” link underneath the tweet, you get the “official” version of a retweet, which can’t be edited. However, Twitter users invented what is now sometimes called an “old-style retweet.” It IS editable, meaning you can add your own comments to it. And while the “official” retweet is convenient, it has some problems: They disappear under some circumstances (see #5 below)…and they can’t be edited. So what’s so great about being able to edit a retweet, anyway?

Well, you can add a comment to tell people WHY it’s great, or add an opinion, or thank the person who posted the original tweet. In other words, you can use the retweet to actually connect with people! And isn’t that one of the greatest things about twitter? But now here’s the good news: you can add an old-style “retweet with comment” link right into Twitter.com! (If you don’t want to have to copy, past and write your tweets by hand to add comments to them.) Simply sign up for the free BufferApp service, and . Buffer also gives you the option to automatically schedule your tweet at a time when more people are likely to see it. If you use Firefox, use this plug-in instead (sorry, does not include any scheduling option).


TweetSmarter article on PodJamTV


2. Why Don’t Some Links In Tweets Work Anymore? – A few weeks ago, Twitter changed the way it displays links in tweets by removing the “http://” but keeping the link clickable. This meant that, for example, http://Google.com would display as (and when clicked will take you to Google’s website). However, if you copy the link and paste it into a new tweet, losing the http:// portion makes the link unclickable. You should also know that two other things Twitter turns into links are #hashtags and …and they can accidentally NOT become links too. The #hashtag or MUST have a space or punctuation after it (or be the last thing in your tweet) AND have no space after the @ or #—or it will NOT be turned into a link in a tweet.
Tweetsmarter article on PodJamTV
3. Twitter Actually HIDES Some Tweets From You – Every user MUST learn this tip. (Don’t worry, it’s nothing insidious.) If two people are having a conversation, twitter won’t show you their tweets unless you follow both of them. And when I say “conversation tweets,” I mean tweets that start with “@”—for example, if @Sue is talking to @Joe:

@Joe How are you? @Sue Just fine! How are you?

So if you want to write a tweet to let me know about somebody that I DON’T follow do NOT say something like “ is great—everyone should follow them!” Because only the people that ALREADY follow will see it. Instead, use the “.” trick, and say “. is great—everyone should follow them!” Then and only then will the people who don’t follow see your tweet.
Tweetsmarter article on PodJamTV
4. People Might Not See Your Tweets – Twitter has a kind of “quality score” that they use to decide . But also, Twitter often has problems showing all tweets in search. You should check or as well if you’re not seeing all your tweets. But, there is a “hidden” problem you CAN do something about: making sure your tweets go out when people are online to see them. To do this, use a service such as Tweriod or to find the best time to tweet, and then set up a free BufferApp account to make sure your tweets reach people at the best times.


5. DMs and Retweets Can Actually Disappear Sometimes – For one possibility is that it was removed by the person you sent it to. That’s right, people can remove DMs that you have sent from your outbox by deleting them from their inbox! Also, if someone deletes their Twitter account (or if it is permanently suspended) all the DMs they sent to you will disappear as well. So make sure to save important DM information somewhere outside of Twitter. Another thing people don’t like about the “official-style” Twitter retweet is that they do NOT show up on Twitter lists. So, if you follow someone ONLY by placing them on a list, you won’t see ANY of their “official-style” retweets. Even worse, once anyone has retweeted a tweet using the Twitter.com “official” retweet link, it won’t ever be shown in your timeline again! So if you missed the first retweet of it, even if EVERYONE retweets it, you won’t see it, because it won’t be shown in your timeline ever again.


6. Some Tweets Just Can’t Be Retweeted – If you’re following anyone who has they don’t want their tweets to be shown publicly, so using the official retweet from Twitter.com. It can be confusing, because once a protected account follows you back, it looks to you just like all other Twitter accounts—you might not realize they have protected their account.


7. Uh-Oh: Private Tweets CAN Be Posted Publicly  – The most common reason this happens sometimes is that you were using “d” or “dm” to create a direct message and you had a typo. (Starting a tweet with “d ” or “dm ” turns it into a direct message if that user already follows you.) Most important, you have to be extra careful about replying to DMs that you receive by text/SMS. See Twitter’s explanations for


8. I’m Getting DMs That I Can’t Reply To! – If you follow someone, that is the same as giving them permission to DM you. But only if they follow you can you send them direct messages back. Sometimes people intend to follow you but forgot or had an error. If you’re pretty sure they meant to be following you, just send them a tweet something like this: “Hey will you follow me so I can reply to your DM?”


9. I Received A Repulsive Tweet—Why Can’t I Delete It? – With DMs, you can delete them (and unfollow the person). But if someone sends you a public tweet, you can’t delete it. You can only delete tweets that you created. But you can hide tweets you don’t want to see on some interfaces by creating a search that filters out what you don’t want to see. The best example of this is TweetDeck’s global filter.


Tweetsmarter article on PodJamTV

10. Bonus! How Do Tweets Become Pictures, Videos or Documents? – Some interfaces make it appear that a Tweet has become a picture or video. But what you need to know is that you can only put a link IN a tweet to a picture, video or document (or anything else that can be linked to). But first, the picture, video or document has to be posted somewhere on the web. See this . What did we miss? Do you have retweet questions, or info to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! Just add your question, advice or comment in the box below.


About the Author:

Dave Larson on Twitter    “As Dave Larson have answered thousands of questions for Twitter users worldwide over the past 4+ years. His goal   is to assist and empower everyone he comes into contact with.”


© 2011, PodJamTV. All rights reserved.

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  • http://www.modernlifeblogs.com Amit

    Great Post! Thnx so much sharing the valuable information. Always reading the tweets of twitter tips expert Mr. Dave. So awesome to get his tips on this blog.

    Have a great day. Keep Rocking and Keep Spreading Smiles :-)


    • http://twitter.com/mistygirlph Misty Belardo

      Thank you Amit.. We are very fortunate to have Mr. Dave Larson contribute and give awesome advise to us and our wonderful readers!! =))

  • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

    Thank you so much Amit. I echo what Misty said in that we are fortunate to have David Larson on contribute great advice to us and our entire community. :-) )

  • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

    Hey, cut it out! My wife says my head is big enough already :-) )

    And thanks so much, Misty, for the chance to do this guest post.

    • http://twitter.com/mistygirlph Misty Belardo

      LOL You are too funny Dave, but seriously, we are so grateful for your insights!! That is what I love about Twitter, you learn together.

  • kenoboss

    great story. I do have 1 question. when i tweet as part of a # trending topic why can’t i see my tweet in the TT timeline , could it be that my acct. is set to Private?

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      That is likely the case. Great question!

  • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

    Marty nailed it. You’ve made your tweets invisible by choice, so they won’t be seen.

  • http://benjaminlang.com Ben Lang

    Great post!

    • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

      Thanks, Ben!

  • Anonymous

    I always wondered why some people had the . before the @ in their tweets. I thought it was a typo! Now, I know… Great stuff! Thanks :)

    • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

      Yeah, it’s amazing the first time you learn about that, isn’t it? Spread the word!

  • http://twitter.com/BeaJohnston Beatrice Johnston

    awesome! Thanks for sharing. Useful info is hard to find.

    • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

      Thanks for the compliment, Beatrice. Tweet us anytime :-)

  • http://twitter.com/Z4chAnner Z4chAnner

    Re: Item 1: w/ unofficial RTs, you can misrepresent the original poster. Some1 reads your RT & doesnt check against the original tweet.

    • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

      Yes, there is nothing to stop folks from simply making up tweets, attributing them to others, etc. Fortunately, Twitter takes a hard line on accounts that do things like that and suspends many of them.

  • http://twitter.com/Z4chAnner Z4chAnner

    E.g.: RT 9 Useless Things About Twitter Every User Must Know http://bit.ly/tRBeLl (Think this but more nefarious. Not a prob using Official RT)

  • http://www.evergreensearch.com Eric Siu

    +1 on the BufferApp recommendation. BufferApp is my go-to app for curating content. I don’t think I’ve seen anything as simple or as smooth.

    • http://davidglarson.com Dave Larson

      Yeah, Joel and Tom have done a great job developing BufferApp, and Leo has been awesome in getting the word out. A truly great app.

  • TheAntiM

    Under number 6 – On my computer, I just go straight through Twitter (no client or Buffer or anything) and I can easily tell whose accounts are protected. There’s a tiny padlock by the Tweet time.

  • Frances

    Great post. I’m fairly new to Twitter and this post has helped me tremendously!

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      Thank you Frances!

  • Anonymous

    Great tips … now, if only would improve this post’s tweet button so they give credit to the site’s and your presence ~ ie. “9 Strange Things About Tweets, Retweets And DMs Every Twitter User Must Know | PodJam.tv by via ” ~ I mentioned that in one of my Social Media Pet Peeves Posts… http://dwaynekilbourne.com/2011/11/10/social-media-pet-peeve-not-optimizing-tweet-button/ ~~ back to the topic at hand, it is amazing just how many people start tweets off with a mention and still think that everybody will see it, especially on Follow Friday situations! Keep up the great content, Dave!

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      Interesting perspective Dwayne considering Dave’s article is a guest post. If you actually read the article you’d see we noted at the top of the article that Dave Larson from was the author as well as at the bottom of the post complete with his picture. Regardless of how the retweet was formatted, I don’t think anyone else was confused as to who the author was of this post except you.

      I also found it amusing that you wrote your comment like we weren’t even here. This is, after all, PodJam.tv. It’s perfectly okay to direct part of your comment to Dave directly but talk to us directly too if you have an observation or suggestion for us at PodJam.tv. Creative comments are always welcome. Thank you again for your interest and comment.

      • Anonymous

        Sorry if my comment was confusing with respect to what I meant by the term, credit! Dave Larson is the guest blogger for this post, and you did a great job of giving credit to him throughout! If you reference the link (example post on my blog) and my example within, I was referring to making sure that you (PodJam.tv) and any blogger / post author (internal or guest) got mentions via the tweet button on the post! Depending on how you setup the tweet button, you can add the appropriate Twitter profiles within the tweet so you garner an expanding following! If you look at my tweet of this great post, I added those components so both parties (you and Mr. Larson) received the added attention that was so deserved… but not everybody will do that, so I was just looking out and making my recommendations!

        • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

          Thank you Dwayne for the clarification. I appreciate your input and perspective regarding formatting of retweets and how it can expand your follower base. I understand where you’re coming from on this. Thank you again for your interest and taking the time to engage and comment. We truly appreciate it.

          • Anonymous

            No problem… one of my goals as a content sharer is to make sure that I direct people to get that good content… obviously, that starts with the webpage / post link, but I also love to tag (on FB) and mention (on Twitter) the source’s profile (links) are so people will immediately follow them… just try to be as handy as I can!

  • http://ClinicalPosters.com ClinicalPosters

    9. … or block the user to hide their repulsive tweets. ;)

  • http://www.robertbcairns.com/ Rob Cairns

    This is a great list and well put together. Thanks for sharing.

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      You’re welcome and thank you Rob!

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  • Carmen Michele

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I was clueless, as well, about the “.” :)

  • Stephanie

    Great article. I just have a few questions – Do you have to use DM for only that person to see it? If I just use , does that mean that everybody that follows me can see it also?

    Also, I thought #FF sent your tweet out to everybody to follow that person if I put that before the text along with the mention..is that not true?…maybe that’s only for the ppl looking at #FF search?

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  • Danadug

    I’ve been using Buffer for a few weeks and until two days ago was happy with it. But now it claims to have posted the tweets while it hasn’t. The schedule is not backed up three days worth of information. Beware.

  • http://twitter.com/akaCarioca Carlos

    Great post!

  • Guest

    thanks for that! A question though. Can a DM disappear without someone deleting it? As in accidentally? and how common is this? because it happened with one user quite a few times.

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      I suppose anything can happen with Twitter. It can get quite buggy at times so it wouldn’t surprise me that DM can get deleted accidentally.

  • http://twitter.com/rodeenas Rodeena

    Great tips!! Thank you so much for sharing this information.

    • https://podjam.tv Marty McPadden

      Thank you!

  • http://aigendigitalmarketing.com Abel Pardo

    Very interesting, with some unknown facts that people usually don’t know about twitter. Congratulations for the post, Dave!

  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ davinabrewer

    Didn’t know some of these, though I did a test of a ‘private’ DM on Google+ and same thing, it can be shared. The hidden RTs are annoying, and the hidden .. huh. Thanks for the tips.

  • http://twitter.com/billdouglas Bill Douglas

    Can you cover the topic of subtweets? Otherwise, great job and illuminating information.

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  • http://convercinema.tumblr.com Miles Maker

    #3 isn’t right:

    “if you want to write a tweet to let me know about somebody that I DON’T follow do NOT say something like “ is great—everyone should follow them!” Because only the people that ALREADY follow will see it.”

    This isn’t right. The fact is, only the people who follow the person who tweeted it will see it.

    Thanks and Best wishes!

  • that confused chick

    Hey, i’m just wondering, i took the link on DM’s and i know they’re not gone, but, is it possible at all to see older DM messages? I know they haven’t been deleted, they’ve just been pushed back… So is it possible?

  • Karen Bice

    Great post, although I have a question about #9. (Looked for this issue in comments, but didn’t see it.). I’m curious as to why blocking and reporting unwanted tweets as spam wasn’t mentioned in this item. Usually, the unwanted tweets with my name mentioned are spam to me and when I block & report via TweetDeck, the tweet is removed immediately. Thanks.

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  • Antonia V.

    What happens with the DMs? Why do they disappear with the time?

  • Jfelissaint

    Vthat was very useful.thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/wilkravitz billy kravitz

    How does twitter DECIDE whose tweets will appear on TWITTER SEARCH. Sometimes the same tweet appears on one site, but not another. What causes that?

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