Today we’ll focus on @messages, which are used to reply to, ‘call out to’ or mention another person on Twitter. Read through the essential information and then complete today’s task. Don’t worry if it feels a little strange at first – with some practice and by looking at other people’s tweets you’ll quickly become familiar with the concept.
What are @messages?
There are two types of @messages, which are subtly different:
- @Reply: where you respond to someone else’s tweet by using the Reply button. Twitter will automatically begin your tweet response with the @username. @replies are only visible to those who follow both the sender and recipient of the @reply.
- Mentions: where someone mentions you in their tweet by placing your @username anywhere in the body of the tweet.
Why are @messages useful?
Twitter is a conversation and you can join the conversation by @replying to other people’s tweets and by mentioning them in your own tweets. Sometimes you might want to address a tweet to someone, which will be visible to other followers, but you want to catch a particular person’s attention with it. This might be because
- you are replying to or responding to one of their tweets,
- asking them a question,
- because you think they might be particularly interested in the information passed on in your tweet and you want to make sure it catches their eye,
- or because you mention them in the tweet and want them to know, for example, if you are referring to their work/research.
Here are some examples of @messages:
- hey, @aine_galvin, enjoyed your presentation. Do you know @gconole’s work on the subject?
- Attending a meeting at your uni next week @aine_galvin – would be great to meet up if you are around.
- Great resources on using social media in teaching – may be of interest @leonegately? http://www.edudemic.com/guides/
- Reading @sbanes recent journal article & its analysis of TEL terminology: some intriguing ideas. http://bit.ly/1EihMEf
How to post @replies:
- Hover over the tweet that you wish to reply to.
- Click on the grey ‘Reply’ button.
- Twitter will automatically insert the @usernames at the start of your tweet.
- Type in the rest of your message (within 140 characters) and click the ‘Tweet’ button.
How to post @mentions:
- Type your Tweet as you normally would, but replace any names you include with that person’s @username (i.e. their handle preceded by a @ sign).
- Click Tweet to post it.
Important to Note:
- The positioning of the @username in your tweet is important:
- If the very first thing in the tweet is someone’s @username (as is the case when you use the ‘Reply’ button), then only that person and those who follow both of you will be able to see it.
- If you want the tweet to have a wider audience, then you either (i) put a full stop in front of the @ sign like this .@aine_galvin OR (ii) you include the @username later on in your tweet as part of the sentence (as per the @mentions example above).
- @mentions are an important part of Twitter etiquette – its polite to acknowledge other people’s contributions when you are tweeting.
- Since the @ sign is reserved for marking people’s handles, you can’t use it as an abbreviation for ‘at’ in your tweets, e.g. – you can’t tweet “let’s meet @6pm @cafe.”
- Twitter collects your @mentions and @replies, which appear in the Mentions page in the Notification tab.