The Law Enforcement Social Media Blog

The authoritative resource for news and information about law enforcement social media. From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Nixle, we discuss social media and its use as the ultimate community policing tool.

Types of Twitter Messages

Types of Twitter Messages

There's more to Twitter than just the Tweet. In this article, we will look at Retweets, Quote Tweets and Direct Messages.

The Retweet

You might notice a tweet in your newsfeed that has a user's handle next to the word "Retweeted." What this means is a person you are following decided to share a tweet with their followers. Although there's no hard rule about retweets, I would suggest you only retweet messages which will have value for your followers. Don't retweet everything, just to say you're a team player and retweet other people's content. 

NOTE: The Retweet icon will only be green if you've already retweeted a message. If you want to undo the Retweet, click the green Retweet button. Otherwise, if this is the first time you are Retweeting a message, the icon will be grey.

To send your own retweet:

  • ​Tap on the Retweet button, which is the symbol of two arrows chasing each other.
  • Mobile: A popup will appear for you to select to either retweet or quote tweet the original tweet. Desktop: The tweet will pop up in a window.
  • Click on the Retweet button. 

The retweet will now show at the top of your timeline and will be visible to your followers. ​

To delete a retweet

  • Locate the retweet you want to delete
  • Click on the highlighted Retweet icon
  • Select Undo Retweet

This will delete the retweet from your timeline and other people's timeline, however; on mobile devices where the feed might be cached or if the tweet has been cross-fed to a Facebook timeline, the retweet may still appear.

The Quote Tweet

​If you are retweeting a tweet, you will have the option to add your own message to the retweet. This feature can be helpful to law enforcement when posting information about an incident. By retweeting your own tweet, you can add additional information, thus essentially doubling the 140 character count to 280 characters.

The Direct Message

If you wish to start a private conversation with people or organizations who follow you, you can send them a private message known as a Direct Message, or DM. Think of it as text messaging, only through the Twitter app, as opposed to your phone (you can enable to receive DM's through your mobile device's text messaging app, though).

You can still receive DM's from those you aren't following if you have turned on the feature "Receive Direct Messages from anyone." On an iPhone, you can turn this setting on or off by clicking on the gear wheel to the left of your account selection icon (the icon with two silhouettes), then selecting settings, and finally "Privacy and safety."

You can include up to 50 people in a direct message. However, you can not be included in or start a conversation with anyone you block.

To send a DM from the computer, click on "Messages" at the top of your page. From there, click on "New Message." Start typing handles or selecting the people you wish to privately converse with, then select Next. From there, you can type your message and send it.

There is no 140 character limit on DM's, so don't worry about running out of space. Something you should know is the feature "Send/Receive read receipts" is enabled by default in Twitter. This means everyone in the conversation will know when you've seen the message. To turn this feature off, again go into your settings and click on "Privacy and safety" and turn off the feature.

If you delete a DM, the conversation can be viewed by the other person or group of people. Deleting it only removes it from your account.

About The Twitter One Series

We have been requested to post more of the "basics" of social media for law enforcement officers who have been newly assigned to their department's social media teams or units. This is our first article for this series and we hope it helps everyone. We're not sure what the frequency of the articles will be, but we will do our best to build up our library. If you have any suggestions or would like to help, send us an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..