Join the conversation in Twitter - get social with "social media"

I'm thrilled with the increase in Twitter usage I'm seeing! More and more people are checking it out.

Here's a tip: feel free to reply to other people's tweets.

If people are using Twitter, they know their comments are public. If they wanted to be private, they would've sent a direct message or an email. Or given the person a phone call.

But publically tweeting is implicitly giving people permission to reply. And replying is putting the "social" in social media!

I recently counted forty-two tweets before I saw an "@reply," a reply to someone else's tweet. They were all broadcasts and retweets. That's great. Twitter is a fun space to put out things you're thinking and to retweet other people's wit and wisdom. But the power of Twitter really multiplies when you reply to those tweets.

How to reply to messages in Twitter

If you're using the site:

  • you hover over the right hand of the message until you see an arrow
  • click on the arrow
  • right a message in the box (you'll see the Twitter name of the person you're replying too)

What's cool about this is that your message both gets seen in the sender's "mentions" section and is linked to her original message.

Ever see a tweet that is in reply to someone but seems totally odd?

Did you know you can find out what the first tweet was? Just click on the "in reply to" link:

How to find the previous message in Twitter

In this case, it goes to here:
A previous message in Twitter

If you use a tool like Dabr, it tries to mash together mutiple tweets that may relate to this conversation.
Twitter reply in Dabr

The point is, if someone is tweeting, they know it's public. So jump in and reply!

Here's a few replying tips:

  • Include enough of a reference to the previous message for the sender to understand what you are referring to
  • If you don't know the person, be personal but not overly familiar
  • If you're joking, many find it helpful to use a : ) to let people know you're being funny. It's pretty easy to mistake the tone of a tweet. And 140 characters doesn't allow for much explanation. But this 2 character smiley face can prevent a lot of misunderstanding.
  • If you're tweeting from an account for your nonprofit, decide how chatty you want to be. It may be better to reply from your personal Twitter account rather than your organizational/corporate one.
  • Please don't waste people's time telling them how to get 400 followers a day. None of us have time for spam. Just be interesting and engaging. You will get followers.

Here ends the "Replying to tweets 101" lesson. 🙂 I hope that helps you get even more out of Twitter!

What tips would you add to the list?

Other posts on using Twitter for nonprofits and fundraising:

About Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman is the CEO of The Concord Leadership Group, the author of Ask Without Fear! and director of The Nonprofit Academy. A coach to leaders around the world, Marc's expertise and enthusiasm engages audiences and has caught the attention of media organizations as diverse as Al Jazeera and Fox News. Marc’s experience also includes pastoring a Vineyard church, managing a gubernatorial campaign, and teaching internet marketing and fundraising at colleges and universities. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook.
To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to


  1. Makayla says:

    This was a great post - I think it's always good to be reminded that using social media is like being part of a conversation. It really is amazing how much easier the internet has made it to be effective in communication. I've been really impressed with the quality of video conferencing we've been using (we use and it's always up to a very high standard.

  2. Great comments and suggestions for Twitter.

  3. Thanks! I'm glad the suggestions are helpful!

What would you add?