Published on November 22, 2013
Twitter has been around since 2006.
And what really frustrates me…
Is that so many people still screw up a really basic piece of Twitter’s functionality.
Allow me to explain:
I have something I need to get oﬀ my chest, something I need everyone to know !
so I head to Twitter and I tweet this:
@Patriots I hate all of you.!
But there is a problem. !
I want everybody to know. !
But because the tweet started with an @ sign… !
ONLY the traitors people who follow BOTH me AND the Patriots will see this tweet. !
NOT all of my followers (and I have a lot)
Which is EXCEPTIONAL for certain situations.* *But that's another Slideshare for another day.
But not this one.
So now a tweet like this: !
So now a tweet like this: ! The @Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since they were caught cheating. #Justsaying #Truth
Will show up to all 1,000,000+ of my followers
Because @ is not the ﬁrst character of the tweet: The @Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since they were caught cheating. #Justsaying #Truth
When that happens, all of your followers see it no matter what else is in the tweet.
Let’s take a look at another example:
@wilfork75 really really really really really really really really annoys me
Again, only going to the LIMITED number of my followers who ALSO follow Vince Wilfork. !
NO GOOD !
EVERYONE MUST KNOW !
But it’s an easy ﬁx: ! .@wilfork75 really really really really really really really really annoys me
See that period at the beginning? ! .@wilfork75 really really really really really really really really annoys me
. That is the most misunderstood piece of punctuation on Twitter. !
Now that I tweeted starting with a period…
ALL of my followers can understand just how much Vince pisses me oﬀ.
So clearly this is a really important mechanic.
And to be honest, I am shocked that Twitter hasn’t done a better job explaining it to new users.
If I ran things, here is what I would do.
The ﬁrst time you used the @ message, this would appear:
Pretty cool right?
Hey one last thing.
I’m actually not all about people using this mechanic all the time.
I would prefer that you just change the content up a little.
Just ﬁnd a diﬀerent way to structure the sentence. ! The @Patriots haven’t won a Super Bowl since they were caught cheating. #Justsaying #Truth
It looks and feels a lot more natural.
But if you absolutely have to start a tweet with someone’s handle.
Now you know what to do.
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