Parlez-Vous Twitter-ese? Or How to Converse Fluently on Twitter
My recent post, Why You Got Unfollowed on Twitter, generated a little controversy. The biggest controversy centered around the original #4, which suggested that some people (including yours truly) get un-followed for burying their replies.
I shared with 15 year-old Portland tech blogger, Colby Aley, about the confusion and he set me straight. I was so impressed with this high schooler’s explanation of how replies on Twitter actually work that I asked him to write a post for the WePost Media blog.
Since it was founded, Twitter has become a brilliant communication tool. Enabling people to send short, real-time messages that can travel the world in seconds. It turns out that there’s actually some complexity to the way that Twitter handles messages. Many people are unaware of this, and sometimes end up embarrassing themselves or others.
There are really only three different ways to converse on Twitter. There are the standard direct messages, @replies, and buried @replies. Each of them is different and each is associated with a different level of privacy.
Direct Messages (DMs)
When people talk about sending messages through Twitter, they’re likely referring to direct messages. DMs are private messages that are constrained to 140 characters, like many things on Twitter.
@replies are the typical way to publicly reply to someone’s tweet. They are public and viewable by anyone, but only show up in the timelines of the people who follow both you and the person you’re replying to. This is because Twitter assumes that people are only interested in seeing a conversation when they follow both people in it. A good way to make sure your @reply is in the timelines of all of your followers is to put text in front of it, and this leads us to buried @replies.
The literal difference between a normal and buried @reply is that buried replies have something in front of them, whether that be a period or a sentence. Buried @replies are like normal @replies, in the sense that they’re public and viewable by anyone, but are different because they show up in the timeline of everyone who follows you.
A good way to decide whether you want to use a normal @reply or a buried @reply is to ask yourself, “am I talking to the person I’m mentioning, or about them?” Regular replies go to the person, while buried replies are about the person.
To conclude, Twitter is a wonderful communication tool, but to get the most out of it you need to be aware of how it works and what it can do.
|@ColbyAley is a longtime Twitter user and blogs at ColbyAley.com.|