These days, many of the items that would once have warranted a blog post end up as one of my bookmarks on delicious (posted monthly to this blog in a “useful links” post, with the help of Postalicious) orÂ on my Twitter stream (and I will start to blog the more useful tweets here soon)Â but I have to admit that, for a long-time tech blogger, I’m still a bit of aÂ newbie when it comes to social media.
I’ve learned a lot though in the last 24 hours – last night I retweeted (the old way – using RT and adding a comment with ^MW then my text – rather than using Twitter’s new retweet function) and the original author thought I was trying to make them look bad.Â If getting a message into 140 characters is difficult (even worse than avoiding unintentional emotion in e-mail, which is essentially an emotionless medium), getting it into a 20 or 30 character comment on someone else’s tweet is tough.Â Thankfully, that was all resolved with a few more tweets this morning but I noticed that some of the messages I saw were using .@username andÂ that got meÂ wondering what the . is for.
Googling . and @ is not easy so I asked @brynmorgan, who I’d seen use this method, and he explained that the . broadcastsÂ his message to all ofÂ his followers, because unless someone also follows me they don’t see a normal @ reply.Â I’d never quite understood if my followers saw all of the responses that I posted to @username and now it makes sense.Â I thought that might be useful for others so, if assuming I have understood this correctly:
- @username will direct a tweet to a specific user and ifÂ someone follows both the sender and the specified username, they will see the message.
- .@username will direct a tweet to a user and all of the sender’s followers will see the message.
- D username is a direct message between two Twitter users (i.e. a private message).
Thanks to Bryn for educating me and, by the way, there’s some interesting commentary on social media over onÂ the Brynovation blog.