Rep. Anthony Weiner apparently confused Twitter's "message" function with its "mention" function. Here's how to keep them straight.
Jake Turcotte/The Christian Science Monitor
So it turns out that Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter account wasn't hacked after all. The New York Democrat admitted in a press conference Monday that the anonymous nether regions posted on his RepWeiner feed were, in fact, his, and that he had posted the photo himself.
"Last Friday night I Tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle," Weiner said to the assembled press corps.
Weiner's fatal mistake – though certainly not his only one – was confusing Twitter's "direct message" feature with its "mention" feature. As the name implies, a direct message can be viewed only by the recipient. You can send direct messages only to people who follow you on Twitter.
A mention, by contrast, can be seen by everyone on the Web, which is what happened, briefly, with Weiner's photo.