Find Time to Understand @Replies and Mentions on Twitter

twitterFinding time to understand the in’s and out’s of Twitter is an investment that will be a big help in your social networking efforts over the long run.

Last week on TwiTip Robert Dryer posted a two-part series illuminating the subtle-but-important differences between the “@ reply” and the “mention” on Twitter.  This Cyber Monday, let’s explore that difference!

Based on my exploration of the subject, I can tell you that an @ reply is a Twitter update that begins with a user name, preceded by the “@” symbol.  A mention is similar, but it contains a user name (or user names) somewhere within the tweet (but not at the beginning), each preceded by the “@” symbol.

The key difference (gleaned from the Twitter Support page) is that “People will only see @ replies in their home time line if they are following both the sender and recipient of the update.” As Robert Dryer writes:

When you reply to a user, that tweet … will only appear on other users’ Twitter feeds if they are following the person that the tweet starts with.

Mentions, on the other hand, are much more widely viewable, as it turns out. When you mention another user in your tweet, as opposed to at the beginning, Robert Dryer says:

Every user who follows you will see this tweet because it doesn’t begin with an @. Each user mentioned in the tweet will see it in their Twitter feed -and- it will also appear in their list of “Tweets mentioning”.

What this change (instituted this past spring) has meant in practical terms is that the @ replies feature is more limited than it used to be, and Twitter users have moved to mentions in order to continue to share with a broader audience.

The change also generated a great deal of controversy among Twitter users (as evidenced by this post by Marshall Kirkpatrick on Read, Write, Web) because people saw it as a way that Twitter was stepping in and limiting the opportunities for connecting with other interesting tweeple!

Have you felt confused or limited by the change in @ replies and mentions?  Do you still have questions about how to use these Twitter tools?  Please feel invited to drop me a line – I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions!

What if you could find another hour every day? You can! You are invited to sign up and download The New Finding Time Boundary Template. It’s FREE, and when you sign up you will also receive (if you don’t already) my FREE, weekly Finding Time Tips and my FREE, monthly Award-Winning Finding Time E-zine!

Let’s explore time together …

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