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More Twitter Reply Information

Posted by terrepruitt on June 27, 2009

Ok, so I had heard the way it works before, but it is somewhat confusing when you try to put it in to a practical situation and/or try to explain it (except the blog I found does a great job).  And so I “lost” track of how it was working.  And whenever I looked for an explanation I would get a search result that brought up information from 2008 and it was 2009 that the change was made.

I was further confused by a comment on my previous post that stated I had control over what replies I could see.  So I searched smarter.  I actually included the year in my search terms—duh!

So I found the some blogs that that helped explain things (click on the links below to go to each blog):

This first one is Twitter’s blog.

It explains that you only see @ replies (if it is the first “word” in the tweet) if you are following both the people in the conversation.  It also tells us what we want and don’t want.  It states that seeing a “one-sided” conversation is “undesirable”.

So this is said to cut down on the “confusion” and the “chatter” of Twitter.  But for some of us, what is really does is cut down on one of the things that was so great about Twitter and that was meeting new people with ease and following people that you might actually have an interest in following.  The way it used, to be you could see the conversation or part of it and then if you were really interested you could look at the profiles and possibly decide to follow that person.

This blog from Tech Crunch does a great job of explaining the way it is.

The opinion expressed is that of Twitter taking the choice from its users.  We used to have a choice as to what replies we saw, but now Twitter has decided what we want.

And DownloadSquad says that Twitter is going to change it eventually.*

So, as I originally suggested:  type words before you @ so that it can be seen by your followers no matter if they are following the other person or not.

I do this because most of the people I am following are business people.  And a lot of them are very kind and they share their expertise and kindness generously.  So I want to broadcast them.  I want to help them and their business, I want to share their kindness, and their expertise and make all of it viral.  Bugs me that twitter makes it difficult for me to do that.  Bugs me that Twitter decided that I think what is desirable.

As you can see by the links I have included in this blog, there are a lot of blogs out there that talk about Twitter.  I mainly was writing this blog to help a few of my new Nia friends who are just starting to realize that Twitter is a great way to get the word out about Nia.  So if we are using Twitter properly that helps us spread our love of Nia.

You are invited and encouraged to kindly comment.  Keep in mind that I am not claiming to be an “expert” I am just sharing some information that I believe to be true and sharing my opinions.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read it.

This link was not working last time I check. But I would imagine Twitter has changed a lot since 2009.

16 Responses to “More Twitter Reply Information”

  1. When I want others to see my @reply, I put an exclamation mark before the @, so it would be

    !@terrepruitt you’re an awesome person

    Works for me and is easy to implement while keeping the standard format the same. I can’t claim credit for the idea, though. I can’t remember who suggested it to me.


    • Mike,

      Thanks for stopping by. From what I understand there must be a space between anything and the @ . So, ! @HelpYouWell (that is what I am on Twitter) will work, but !@HelpYouWell would not. The same with Hi @HelpYouWell! That is my understanding of the functionality. But are you finding that the people you are responding to end up with the !@whomever in their @ box/column?


  2. patricia leisch said

    Thanks for putting it in English for the slow kids like me!!


    • Patricia,

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. But in all fairness the blogs were the ones that explained it, I just added to it, huh? The whole Twitter thing is amazing.


  3. judy said

    Well, no matter how I use it, at least it’s all clear to me now! Thank you!!!


  4. Well well, I honestly hadn’t realised replies were private – so what is the difference between a reply and a DM? Only where it appears as far as the recipient is concerned?

    In most of my circumstances having replies public is better as the subject being discussed will be “on topic”. However, it would be good to have a convention (whether formal/informal) to control this behaviour.




    • Joel,
      A reply is not private. It is just seen by less people if the @whomever is the first word in the Tweet. People have to be following BOTH the person tweeting AND the person who’s name is first. But if I type Hey @whomever, then it goes to all of my followers whether they are following “whomever” or not. But it is not private.

      A DM goes only to the person you are DMing.

      If you want MORE people to see any reply type something in front of the @whomever but, from what I understand you need a space before and after.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting.


  5. Well well, I honestly hadn’t realised replies were private – so what is the difference between a reply and a DM? Only where it appears as far as the recipient is concerned? (Actually, just answered myself – you CAN see replies in someone has made in their timeline but replies are not propagated)

    In most of my circumstances having replies public is better as the subject being discussed will be “on topic”. However, it would be good to have a convention (whether formal/informal) to control this behaviour.




    • Joel, not sure if you meant to post twice. And I don’t know if I should delete it because it seems like a duplicate. So . . . I won’t.

      You might have been just sharing that you figured out that you can see the replies and they are not private. Right?


  6. You can use the Firefox addon called Greasemonkey then add the script from @troynt Twitter Script. It shows the whole conversation in the time line, from beginning to end, good stuff. Also PowerTwitter does the same thing, I use @troynt Twitter Script myself because their are other great Greasemoney scripts for twitter that I use, and its non-obtrusive. @TweetNirvana thnx great blog.


    • Whoa TweetNirvana! Zoom! That all went pretty much over my head!

      I know WHAT FireFox is (I think), but I don’t use it. BUT . . . . who cares what I use and what I know . . . .your comment and your information is AWESOME and invaluable because we are sharing info here and I am sure that your comment helped someone else. Plus I learned something . . . . and I will be able to keep it in my bag-o-tricks. So when someone else needs it I can whip it out and tell ’em. Yay! Thank you.

      So, let me ask though, you are saying that no matter how the tweet is typed the tools you mentioned will show you the entire conversation?

      I am going to have to look at PowerTwitter. There really are a huge amount of tools and things out there. I can’t possibly know them all and so this kind of “conversation” is so amazing to me.

      So again, thank you. Even though my hair is mussed from the zoom of this info blasting over my head, I really appreciate the info. I appreciate you taking the time to look at my blog and comment. I am sure others appreciate you doing so too!


  7. Ah! I just investigated and found the answer to the reply issue myself but thanks for clarifying.

    DO you think the person you are replying to ought to “agree” beforehand in some way before before you broadcast the reply? I just “feels” wrong to publicly reply without them realising (obviously a built in twitter convention would help here)



    • Joel,

      As far as I am concerned, people on Twitter have agreed to have their comments and conversations public. If not, they shouldn’t be on Twitter, they should be using e-mail—–and then still with e-mail we have to remember that it might not stay private.

      A reply is not private, no matter how it is typed, it is not private. It is just seen by a different amount of people depending on how it is typed. If it doesn’t “feel” right to be having a conversation in public then it would probably be best to have the conversation off line. But that is just my opinion.

      Everyone uses Twitter differently. I always laugh when I see people with blocked updates, but then I realize that they probably have their reasons for that. I know young people who just use Twitter as a means to communitcate with their friends. Blocking their updates makes sense to them. But for those of us that are using it for an exchange of information, networking, and marketing, . . . well, I don’t even follow people with blocked updates.


      • Hi Terre,
        great points.

        What didn’t “feel right” to me was changing what should be a “reply” into a “mention” without the recipients say so or (worse still?) without their knowledge that this is happening.

        Still, you’re right though, 95% of what’s said on Twitter is pretty public so it’s a small point only.




        • I honestly think that Twitter grew too fast for Twitter to handle and one way they cut down on the amount of Tweets being seen was to change how the “@”s functioned. So now the @whomever without anything in front are seen by less people, which I am thinking—although I have no idea how it all works—is less burdensome on their system. And they might figure that the people that want everyone to still see a reply will take the extra second to type it so it is seen by the masses.

          It (Twitter) is an crazy and amazing thing to me. I marvel at what is said. And I still think, “What do I have to say? What do I have to contribute?” Then I read about someone’s bodily function and I think, “Geez, if they can tweet that, I can remind people to drink water and eat veggies!”

          I am thinking you are in the middle of your day (or the beginning). I am not sure exaclty where you are, but you use “s” where we use “z”, so you’re not in the US. So thank you for taking the time to read and reply. I’m off to bed. Have a great day!


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