How to Contact Twitter Users Who Are NOT Already Following You

The difference between message types at Twitter is not immediately obvious. I am certain I am not the first new Twitter user to think only those who follow you can receive messages from you – especially when they receive a direct message they can’t answer because the sender is not following you.

Debbie had the same confusion: “It’s true that lots of people are confused about @replies. It hasn’t always been clear to me who can see what and why sometimes people don’t seem to see my replies to them if they aren’t following me. I personally really like seeing all of them, kind of like eavesdropping and finding interesting conversationalists, i.e. good people to follow, that are friends of my friends. ”

I tracked down the answer in the Twitter Blog and here it is: you CAN send a message to someone who is NOT following you by using an @ sign in front of their user name. There is a setting that determines which @ messages anyone can normally see. The options are no @ messages, only their followers @ messages, and all @ messages.

Here is the key though:

@Replies To You – If someone @replies you—note, this means they start a tweet with @yourusername—you will see that in your main timeline if you follow the person. But you’ll see it in your replies tab, whether you follow them or not (unless you’ve blocked them)”

The Twitter Settings Help file confirms that:

“…you’ll still see replies in your replies tab if you have your settings set to “no @replies.” These settings allow you to control the replies that appear in your timeline that are posted by others, to someone other than you.”

So, anyone can send you a message at Twitter and that message will at least appear in your Replies Tab. If there is a particular Twitter user you would really like to “meet” now you have a way to contact them. You may want to give some thought to what you’ll say so you make a good impression.

Remember that while they CAN see your message they may not ever look at the Replies Tab – or they may be too busy or not interested in answering. Try not to take it personally.


The following two tabs change content below.

Gail Gardner

Small Businsss Strategist at GrowMap
Creator and owner of, Gail is primarily known for mentoring small businesses and encouraging bloggers to join collaborations to share skills and support small business.