When "@" is a Tweet's First Character28 Aug 2015
Something we should know about putting an “@” in the first character position on Twitter…
When you start a tweet with a Twitter handle (with the “@” in the first character position) Twitter interprets that as a message to another Twitter user. Only people who follow both the sender and receiver will see the message in their stream.
For example, if this tweet is sent from the @ChicagoRuby handle, only people who follow both @ChicagoRuby and @WindyCityRails will see it in their streams:
@WindyCityRails speakers announced! SOLID, engines, Kubernetes, Capybara, performance. Check them out! http://ow.ly/NsP0k
Attendees who only follow @ChicagoRuby or @WindyCityRails (not both) will never see this tweet in their Twitter stream.
Sometimes You Want It That Way
Think of an “@” reply as a way to chat with another person, and you don’t mind if other people overhear the conversation. In fact, sometimes an eavesdropper can add value to the conversation. Twitter is kind of like real life in that way.
For normal visibility, start the tweet with any character other than “@”. Some people will start with a “.” in the first position. For example:
.@WindyCityRails speakers announced! SOLID, engines, Kubernetes, Capybara, performance. Check them out! http://ow.ly/NsP0k
Or you can re-phrase the tweet entirely. Just be sure to keep the “@” out of the first character position. For example:
Speakers announced for @WindyCityRails! SOLID, engines, Kubernetes, Capybara, performance. Check them out! http://ow.ly/NsP0k
Try It Out
If you have multiple Twitter accounts that you can experiment with, try out a few combinations and you’ll see this behavior in action.