September 19, 2008

Send twitter DM to non-followers

Filed under: tech — Twilight Fairy @ 12:59 am

A lot of times I have seen twitter users wondering how to send DM’s (direct messages) to ppl who are not following them. Since I have had the pleasure of explaining it so many times on twitter, I thought I would just write it once and for all and share the link from now on. So here goes.

To send a DM to anyone who’s not following you, just “derive” their URL to create a DM message.
The URL would be http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/<username> where you need to replace the <username> with the twitter id. for eg. to send a DM to me, you would use the following link

Hope this makes your twitter communication quick and easy!

UPDATE:

Since twitter has updated its interface since last night, this hack now shows an error message. However it STILL works. Please ignore the error message.

UPDATE 2:

Following this post, twitter.com has suddenly realised some sort of a “loophole”, treated this thing as a “bug” and fixed it as well. Now this hack would not work in any circumstances. You simply can not DM anyone who’s not following you. As a policy or design decision I dont quite agree with it. People can send orkut messages, facebook messages, flickr messages to anyone at all. Why can twitter messages not be enabled? It’s very much required as a feature going by the number of hits this post received in the short time that this hack was working.


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71 Comments »

  1. You’re A Genius :)

    Take care!

    Comment by Ravi — September 19, 2008 @ 1:14 am

  2. Twitter has changed now.. It’s much easier and handy to find in the new layout.

    Comment by Manasa — September 19, 2008 @ 11:58 am

  3. The method you suggested makes it much easier to send DMs. Thanks for sharing :)

    Comment by Manasa — September 19, 2008 @ 11:59 am

  4. Hi,Twilight-thanks for that bit of info..I did join Twitter 2 weeks back, having heard so much about it,but,at present,I’m a bit lost..how do you use it for more communication??Some more tips,pls??

    Comment by AmitLq — September 19, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

  5. So u r officially a hacker now..So, if someone like TOI messes with you again, they need to be sure their websites’ defences are solid :P

    Comment by Shantanu Goel — September 19, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

  6. Thanks Ravi, Manasa, AmitL :)

    Shantanu – no, not a hacker.. only a “life hacker” :P . Have written it from that POV, will share as well.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 19, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  7. I was so excited about this bc I’ve been desperate to contact someone on Twitter who isn’t following me. Sadly, though, it didn’t work for me. I got a message that said “You cannot send messages to users who are not following you.”

    Thanks for trying, though. You gave me hope for a few minutes there! ;)

    Comment by UpsideUp — September 24, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  8. Hey UpsideUp – unfortunately a few days after I published this post, apparently twitter.com “fixed” this hack. So now one cant use it! :( .. but earlier it has served me quite well for a long time.

    BTW u can always write to that person by starting a tweet with a @username and if that person checks @replies, then he/she would be able to see your message

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — September 26, 2008 @ 12:17 am

  9. [...] (via e via) [...]

    Pingback by Inviare Direct Message ai non follower su Twitter : Catepol 3.0 — September 29, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

  10. Hey Twilight Fairy – I totally tried that. Many many times. But this person seems to have set up a Twitterfeed site and left it all to its lonesome. I thought hopefully they have DMs coming to their email or phone. Sigh.

    Any other suggestions for getting someone’s attention?

    Thanks!

    Comment by UpsideUp — September 30, 2008 @ 5:41 am

  11. Hi,

    Though the hack seems nice but its hard to digest that twitter had a huge security/privacy bug like this.

    Comment by Mayank Dhingra — October 1, 2008 @ 1:11 pm

  12. Upside up – rather unfortunate. Let’s lobby to Ev and biz to enable this as a feature in twitter!

    Mayank – right after I published this post, they have now fixed this treating it as a “bug”!! Well privacy issues can be handled in a better way anyway.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 1, 2008 @ 1:48 pm

  13. I’m glad they got rid of it. Do you really want the coming mass of spam Twitterers to be able to DM you even though you were smart enough not to follow them back?

    “People can send orkut messages, facebook messages, flickr messages to anyone at all.”

    But Twitter already HAS an open messaging method that levels the playing field. Everyone can send an @reply to everyone else. When someone elects to do a lot of pitching with @replies, their behavior is transparent.

    If someone pitches via DM, they’re limited to those who have given them permission to do so by following them back.

    But if you combine “message everyone” with “message everyone privately” DMs from anyone in the system would very quickly become exploited and seriously pollute the environment there. Ick.

    PS – as to the traffic this post generated, i came right here to read about the hack because my overwhelming thought was “oh my god, no. i hope not.”

    Comment by Laura "Pistachio" Fitton — October 2, 2008 @ 12:37 am

  14. @Laura Exactly my point. For services where you can have tens of thousands of followers/subscribers etc even if you let them DM anyone things can be really painful.
    Ability for any user to message any other user will lead to spam riots.

    That makes me think that I don’t mind giving an option to kwippy users to choose if they want to get Direct/Private messages from any user :)

    Thanks !!

    Comment by Mayank Dhingra — October 2, 2008 @ 12:46 am

  15. Its not working now..

    Comment by Manasa — October 2, 2008 @ 11:38 pm

  16. Laura – that open method of replies has a lot of bugs itself, not to mention that it’s “open”. One needs the privacy of an inbox at times. There’s no reason why one would be bombarded with just spam in case this feature is activated. The option of blocking is there, isnt it? Orkut, facebook and flickr – all have the scraps, wall and comment space for the same open interaction, however they ALSO have the mail feature. Anyone can mail anyone – you need not even be on their contact list or anything! Do you think the world has crashed for users of orkut, facebook or flickr?

    You say – “If someone pitches via DM, they’re limited to those who have given them permission to do so by following them back.” – and there *exactly* lies the problem :) . Many users do not want to lose out on opportunities galore!

    Regarding the traffic generated, believe me, the people who are shocked is a very small minority compared to the people who actually *want* this as a feature. There will always be both. What I am saying is that the people who want it, is much much more. This post being replicated multifold, users commenting in all the places saying this is what they wanted since ages and users now mailing me to ask me other ways to do this, now that this has been stopped — is a testimony to what users really want. Twitter doesnt even allow one to reply via DM, in response to a DM sent by someone! Some weird “policy” this is. As I said earlier, there are ways to avoid spam. There are ways to allow customisation on per user basis.

    Mayank – why the concern on the number of followers? That’s not even a mentionable number. It should be open to everyone in the world! Like it is in other webapps, like orkut, flickr, facebook. Have any spam riots broken out there? No. If someone does spam you, one can always block them. Private messaging is allowed to EVERYONE irrespective of their contact status. As I wrote earlier, there are better ways to handle this and one of them is giving the choice to the user whether they want to be open to this option.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 3, 2008 @ 2:33 pm

  17. Manasa – unfortunate thing that is! They treated it as a “bug”.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 3, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  18. Sites like Twitter are NOT social networking platforms hence its not fair to compare them.

    However I mentioned in my last comment giving user an option would be great but I doubt if any of the famous guys will ever use it.

    One reason that spam riots haven’t broken in their is because individuals their aren’t that famous(not that I know of).Can you think of a people on orkut, facebook etc who have tens of thousands of fans? Its also due to lesser discoverability.
    BTW there is a spamming problem there too, at least on orkut.

    Everyone will try to explore the opportunities and it won’t be surprising for people like Scoble to have hundreds of messages daily( no wonder he’s explicitly mentioned he doesn’t check/reply his DM’s). See the feature is lost for him already.

    Comment by Mayank Dhingra — October 3, 2008 @ 2:48 pm

  19. Mayank – well I consider twitter one of the biggest social networking platforms! What do you think we do all day if not network socially :) . And yes, all these bigshots on twitter have presence in the other sites as well especially facebook. (Some are on flickr as well).

    Like I wrote in my first response to you above, there are better ways to handle privacy issues – the user should definitely have this choice of controlling what all they want, after all its their privacy which is being controlled. There are options of controlling those in flickr as well. Regarding bigshots – well once one is a bigshot, 4get DM, even email or basic communication gets difficult :) . Most of them ignore @replies as well. At the end of the day – It’s all upto the individuals themselves.

    But I can at least conclude that this choice is best left to the user. At least nobodies like us can get around to using it well.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 3, 2008 @ 2:58 pm

  20. [...] to someone that doesn’t follow you Posted on October 3, 2008 by SocialStalker While this is not really a tool, it was far to good to pass up.  All credit to the blogger, Twilight Fairy,  [...]

    Pingback by A Twitter Hack - sending a DM to someone that doesn’t follow you « EverythingTwitter — October 3, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  21. The guy who ripped off your original article also nofollowed the link

    Comment by Andy Beard — October 21, 2008 @ 5:52 pm

  22. Thanks for informing me Andy – what exactly happens when one “nofollows” a link?

    I am aware that this post has been shamelessly copied at multiple sites, at times with no credit or linkback. But is there any stopping such people? I have fought against a publication using my image without my permission, but people who copy the text, modify a word or two and unethically pass it off as their own – cant do much about such jerks. :| I wrote to some of them and they passed it off as ethical!

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — October 21, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  23. Google uses links to determine the original source of information, and Technorati use links to determine authority (not that that is worth much)

    If someone uses rel=”nofollow” on a link, it no longer passes on reputation to the original article.

    There are other ways to determine, such as date published and similarity, but many webmaster believe that “fair use” requires not only a link, but one that can be recognised by the search engines. This is why so many people were upset when Wikipedia introduced using nofollow, because Wikipedia doesn’t contain any original research, it is all “borrowed”

    Comment by Andy Beard — October 21, 2008 @ 6:07 pm

  24. Orkut and Facebook are social networking sites while Twitter is not.So there has to be some restriction.

    Comment by Sekhar — November 11, 2008 @ 1:45 pm

  25. Sekhar – says who? Let’s ask Evan Williams – @ev. Twitter is very much a social networking site.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — November 11, 2008 @ 1:57 pm

  26. you cant sent messages to those who are not following you it said.
    i’ve followed you, pls. follow me.
    http://www.twitter.com/1weblord

    Comment by William Nabaza — November 24, 2008 @ 9:08 am

  27. William – please read the post fully. It has an update which mentions that this hack stopped working after this post got published.

    Also any particular reason why you want me to follow you on twitter? You can contact me from the contact form provided at this site.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — November 24, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  28. Seems like twitter closed a potential security problem — if you can DM anyone, then spammers could (theoretically) build bots that spam-DM everyone.

    Comment by Joe Murphy — February 8, 2009 @ 5:33 am

  29. Joe – the problem could have been tackled at root level. No bots attempted or auto registration made possible.
    Facebook allows everyone to send private messages, of course there’s no chance that a bot would be able to create an account and abuse this privilege.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 8, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  30. i haven’t had the chance to try it out, but can you tweet “d userid message” to dm message to userid? that’s the way i send DMs from the mobile web. never tried sending it to people i don’t follow though.

    btw i don’t agree that it’s an invasion of privacy or an invitation to abuse or anything of the sort. twitter could easily enforce a time limit between DMs sent to people who aren’t following you, or require atlaest a 3:1 reply ratio, or whatnot. they already do lot of automated checking for fake acounts, so this could just be one more check…and there’s always the report abuse button :)

    Comment by krist0ph3r — February 9, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

  31. Krist0ph3r I agree – I dont consider it an invasion of privacy either, especially when we have so many mechanisms in place to tackle such situs.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 9, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  32. “Is a policy or design decision I don’t quite agree with it. People can send orkut messages, facebook messages, flickr messages to anyone at all. Why can twittesitesr messages not be enabled?” – I don’t know why people always comparing twitter with other social networking site as orkut, facebook… please make it clear that twitter is not another social networking site and don’t use twitter like that. If you are interested in social networking, then use orkut, myspace or facebook.

    Comment by Kevin — February 17, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  33. Kevin – and who decides whether twitter is a social networking site or not? The users I suppose.
    As I wrote above in my comments, well I consider twitter one of the biggest social networking platforms! What do you think we do all day if not network socially?

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — February 18, 2009 @ 12:27 am

  34. nice share thanks !!

    Comment by Abhishek — February 23, 2009 @ 7:32 pm

  35. well it was a simple but a brilliant and out of box solution. sadly it doesnt works now. anyways one thing i wanna ask u was do u take bribe for following people or you do that without it :P ..just kidding

    http://www.twitter.com/firelick

    Comment by Rahul — February 27, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  36. very useful post. sadly the hack doesnt works now. :)

    Comment by Rahul — February 27, 2009 @ 1:18 am

  37. [...] send a DM to a non-follower in Twitter, as Twilightfairy says, you have to “derive” their DM URL to create a DM message. Here’s the syntax [...]

    Pingback by Twitter Hack | TechMachi — April 7, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  38. good post but is this not spamming?

    you can check my blog for twitter tips Twitech

    Comment by satya — May 5, 2009 @ 3:24 am

  39. you can check my blog for twitter tips Twitech

    Comment by satya — May 5, 2009 @ 3:45 am

  40. Satya – thanks for liking the post. the hack doesnt work anymore.

    and no, I dont take it as spamming at all :) . all the spamming can happen in @replies as well. You might have noticed that all social networking portals – orkut, facebook, flickr etc have the provision of sending private messages to others. this is the same thing.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — May 5, 2009 @ 10:08 am

  41. can u find other way to send dm to non followers???
    this post is awesome…,

    Comment by aLex o_o — May 19, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  42. The hack is very much working. I have tested not one but sending two DM’s and they were delivered and i could see them in my Sent items as well. Thanks a lot for this small but helpful informative stuff.

    Comment by proamarketer — May 24, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  43. proamarketer – if the hack is working it’s very good! havent tried it in a long time. will try now.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — May 24, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

  44. Please bring some more hacks of this kind. Was looking for this for quite some time now. Also am looking for is, if we can send replies to all our followers same time with out using a third party site or software..a small of this kind.

    Comment by proamarketer — May 24, 2009 @ 4:41 pm

  45. Dude “Something is technically wrong.
    Thanks for noticing—we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.” Hmmmm they have found it as i was using more than once. Please come up with another hack dude :)

    Comment by proamarketer — May 24, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  46. That’s a nice find Priyanka…

    Comment by Harsh Agrawal — May 26, 2009 @ 3:55 am

  47. Is it still working for anyone?

    Comment by lexi — June 2, 2009 @ 10:30 am

  48. Your blog is informative

    Comment by Loella — June 10, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

  49. Thanks Harsh

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — June 10, 2009 @ 11:39 pm

  50. Thanks Loella

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — June 10, 2009 @ 11:40 pm

  51. Where can I find URL??

    Comment by ADN — June 18, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

  52. It’s a privacy violation. Being able to DM people who are not following you is like being able to email people whose email address you haven’t been given formally.

    That’s not right. Some celebs could end up with huge numbers of unwanted DMs.

    Comment by Jen — July 6, 2009 @ 5:19 am

  53. Jen – see all replies above. All social networks allow such communication (basic messaging) to happen (Facebook, orkut, flickr). There are always ways to have settings which also give this as a choice to ppl on whether they want to be contactable this way.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 6, 2009 @ 3:32 pm

  54. [...] note about this attack…how does someone send you a DM without you following them? There was an interesting hack that is documented here that used to work, however…Twitter fixed this a few months ago. My only guess is that [...]

    Pingback by Spylogic.net » Blog Archive » First Twitter Phishing Attack of 2009 — July 12, 2009 @ 10:12 am

  55. Any news about sending twitter DM’s to non-followers??

    Comment by Sina — July 14, 2009 @ 6:55 pm

  56. Sina – no new hack yet.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 14, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  57. Can you still send a direct message on Facebook anymore (to people who aren’t your friend)? I cannot see how to do it. I doesn’t seem to let you.

    Comment by National Water Council — July 15, 2009 @ 4:37 am

  58. national water council- i think it does allow you still, though of course all users have the option of choosing whether they want to be “contactable” or “searchable” and much of all these settings depends on various parameters like “friends of friends” or “ppl in the same network” etc. so for some ppl you may not be able to send them a message but for others you might be able to.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 15, 2009 @ 10:43 am

  59. [...] note about this attack…how does someone send you a DM without you following them? There was an interesting hack that is documented here that used to work, however…Twitter fixed this a few months ago. My only guess is that [...]

    Pingback by Social Media Security » First Twitter Phishing Attack of 2009 — July 20, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  60. I tried your solution and it worked

    Comment by ary — July 28, 2009 @ 5:27 pm

  61. ary – looks like it keeps working on and off!

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 28, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

  62. What do I have to do?

    Comment by Sina — July 28, 2009 @ 5:50 pm

  63. cool ! this works ,but sadly now no one is interested in reading dm’z ,coz most of d dm’z are automated and ppl only read their @ replys ,anywayz good hack :P

    Comment by vertexroll — July 29, 2009 @ 11:26 am

  64. Sina – the answer to that is in the post itself.

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 29, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  65. vertexroll – does it really? I tried it again and it doesnt work for me!

    Comment by Twilight Fairy — July 29, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  66. doesnt work for me either

    I tried this >> http://twitter.com/direct_messages/create/

    help help help!!

    Comment by Sina — July 30, 2009 @ 1:22 am

  67. awesome, thanks for the tips!
    A.

    Comment by andrea — September 15, 2009 @ 7:20 am

  68. Uhm it dont even work.. anymore

    Comment by alli — September 15, 2009 @ 11:37 am

  69. Yeah, twitter should fix its design to allow usual direct messages…

    Poor.

    Comment by gimi — November 1, 2009 @ 5:11 am

  70. Comment envoyer un DM à quelqu’un qui ne vous suit pas : http://blog.twilightfairy.in/2008/09/19/send-twitter-dm-to-non-followers/

    Comment by Jocegermain (Jocelyne Germain) — July 9, 2011 @ 11:23 am

  71. This no longer works, Twitter obviously found out and now blocked it. Just like Facebook, Twitter will eventually become utterly useless DISABLEWARE !!!

    Comment by MKZA — February 1, 2012 @ 7:40 pm

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