Have you ever been surfing through your Twitter feed and found a tweet or two that starts with a period (“.”)? Perhaps something like “.@Forechecker really needs to cut down on the hockey chatter“?
There’s a very good reason for it, actually, it’s not just a case of poor typing! Today’s How To Twitter tip shows you when & why you might want to start your tweets with a full stop…
To Reply, or Not To Reply – That Is the Question
Twitter handles back-and-forth conversations by using “replies”. If you want to write a tweet to a specific user, you just click the “Reply” link, and you write a tweet that begins with their account name, such as “@Forechecker what an excellent point you just made, I do believe that’s Tweet of the Year material.”
This leads to a common mistake which I’ve seen folks make over and over again, however. If you just write a tweet from scratch, and start it with someone’s handle, Twitter assumes that this is a Reply.
Let’s take an example from the world of hockey, since that makes up the bulk of my Twitter stream:
— Taylor Beck (@taybeckone9) October 14, 2012
In this case, Taylor Beck (a player with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals) is talking about his teammate @matekh14, Swedish defenseman Mattias Ekholm. Ekholm has apparently introduced Beck to the wonders of Ikea, and Beck is sharing that news with the world.
The problem is, the world won’t see this tweet!
Replies Aren’t for Everyone to See
Because that tweet starts with an account name (@matekh14), Twitter assumes that this is a Reply, instead of something which is meant for everyone to see. As a result, the only people who will see this pop up in their feed are the two people involved (@taybeckone9 & @matekh14) and anyone who follows BOTH of those accounts. If you follow just one or the other, you won’t see this in your general feed.
The solution that people came up with for this situation is to insert a period (“.”) at the beginning of a tweet, so that Twitter doesn’t see it as a Reply, and shares it with all of your followers.
So there’s your rule: if you mention someone’s handle at the start of a tweet, and want everyone to see it, insert a period first!
If you want to try it out, just share this tip with your followers!