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30 Twitter tips hath September: The limits of @replies

September 2, 2009

In September, we’re offering a Twitter tip a day. Send us your thoughts and suggestions.

[Tweet this tip]
Day 2: Starting tweets w/ @Jones means only you, Jones and
your shared followers see it in their stream.

Often, Twitterers forget this limitation when sending out a tweet, so instead of being able to widely tweet someone’s news, it actually limits it. So starting a tweet with “@someone” limits it to common followers. If you have 5,000 followers and Jones has 5,000 followers, but only 10 followers in common, only you, Jones and 10 others will see the tweet in their stream (as opposed to 5,001 if you stream if you tweet it out normally).

So if you want to tell all of your followers “@Jane had a baby!!” you have a couple of options:

  • “.@Jane had a baby!!” (That single starting period makes it a tweet and not just an @reply.) (But it also breaks the link to the conversation with the “in reply to” feature.)
  • “Guess who had a baby? @Jane!” (Again, @Jane will see it in her @replies, as will all of your followers.)

A little more on Twitter’s fairly recent change to @replies in this post.

Follow @WadeOnTweets for more Twitter fun.
30 Twitter tips hath September

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Russ G permalink
    September 22, 2009 12:23 pm

    If you click the reply arrow (and thereby link your reply to that tweet) you can then add the . before the @ and the reply will still be linked.

    Also, “.@Jane had a baby!!” reads like you are telling Jane that you had a baby. Replace “had a baby” with some other action, such as “went to the movies.” If someone tweeted “@Jane went to the movies” we would read that as the tweeter telling @Jane that they went to the movies.

  2. September 22, 2009 1:10 pm

    I didn’t know that about the reply arrow. Thanks for sharing!

    Yeah, I’ve noticed some quickly tweeted replies that are confusing as to who’s doing what.

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