Twitter Tip: When You Start With An @Name

I have noticed this a lot lately, so I thought I would be a know-it-all helpful and maybe shove some advice down your throat help you… if I may, that is.

OK, here goes.

If you start a tweet with someone’s Twittername, it will only appear in your follower’s stream if they follow that person as well.


This tweet ONLY appeared in my stream because I follow BOTH @MomoFali and @mrlady. (Which, by the way, did you know that @mrlady and I used to be next-door neighbors? Seriously. It never gets old.)

This, my friends, is why you see some people starting tweets with a period before the @name. To trick Twitter into seeing another character there, thus NOT starting with an @name, thus making their whole group of followers able to see the tweet. (Not because those people just have big thumbs that flop around on their iPhones, as @mochamomma suggested.)

At first I thought this whole idea was as stupid as the RT feature (I prefer to manually RT so I can control it, cough cough @ev, @biz, just sayin’) – but now I see the wisdom of pulling out tweets when I am not mutually following someone. It helps cut down on the chatter, and almost gives you three levels of communication. DM for private, @name first for semi-private, and then full-throttle balls-to-the-wall public.

OK, so maybe those guys know what they are doing.


This article has 13 comments

  1. Noelle

    So this happens to me sometimes. Someone on a list I subscribe to asks a question. I try to send a direct message to that person, but they aren’t following me. So then I ‘respond’ to them (through TweetDeck), which just puts @theirname at the beginning of my tweet. If that person isn’t following me, does that mean they don’t get my response?

  2. Mr Lady

    It’s your fault I’m even ON the damn thing, so you better keep teaching me this stuff.

  3. Shannon

    Oh, and did you know I used to live RIGHT NEXT DOOR TO AIMEE?

  4. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Melissa… I don’t like how you can’t edit the tweet and how you see the people you are not follow’s avatars. Ugh. Among other things.

    And Noelle, they can see their name if you tweet @whoever IF they are looking for themselves. Like, I usually look at Twitter in Echfon and there is section with “mentions” that shows me when people talk to me. However, according to what I talk about in this post, unless people are following both you AND @whoever, if you start the tweet with their name, your followers will not see the tweet. Which, basically, you manipulate to your purposes. Sometimes I will put a “hey @whoever” so my tweet goes to all my followers no matter what, kwim?

  5. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    Shannon – and your oldest used to run buck naked in my yard?!?!??

  6. Jenn

    um huh???

  7. zeghsy

    my only problem is i’m not on it enough to pay attention. i just use it for random blurbs. is that bad?

  8. Aimee Greeblemonkey

    No, never a problem! People should do Twitter as they like! I just wanted to pass on the info, particularly for people who are promoting things. For example, I had a friend start a tweet with my name for something we were both speaking at… Which doesn’t necessrily do us any good because it only reaches the people I have already talked to about the event, kwim?

  9. Melissa

    Oh, SNAP sistah! That’s right. I don’t like the new RT feature and don’t use it…

  10. MoCo Mom

    Saw your tweet about this and I was, like, duh, so? Then read the post today and went. OH. Yea, OH. I think I need to go back and take Twitter 101.

  11. Patois

    Perhaps you can start a whole Twitter educational program for us feeble-minded twits (tweets?)? I wonder what degree we can get?

  12. Momo Fali

    I had no idea! Thanks for the tip.

  13. Mocha

    Ha! No, it’s just me with the big old abnormally large thumbs. It’s a curse.

    It just took me twenty five minutes to type that. Another 20 for this sentence. Another 10 for the word verification.

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