How To Use The @ Symbol On Twitter

rupert murdoch twitterA typical Twitter user

Photo: @rupertmurdoch

People still don’t know how to use Twitter.You’d think it would be easy, but it’s not. We see one big mistake over and over that drives us crazy.

So as a public service announcement, and a quick way to deal with our irrational frustration, we’re going to do a two-second explainer on how to tweet using the “@” symbol.

Ready? Here goes …

When you @ someone, the only people who see the message are the people that follow you and follow the person you are @-ing. 

So, if we write, “@thestalwart you are one smart dude!” The followers who don’t follow @thestalwart don’t see the message.

Why? Because if they saw us tweeting at people it would be a confusing one-sided conversation. If they follow both of us, then they can follow the conversation.

Now, let’s say we want everyone to see the message we are sending to @thestalwart. How do we make that happen? With a “.” So, it would be, “[email protected] You’re a genius!”

You don’t have to use a period. You could use any character. You could write, “>@thestalwart you rock!”

The period seems to be the most popular one, though.

Anyway, that’s it!

It’s simple, but people still get confused.

Here’s some common mistakes:

There is no need for a “.” in front of an RT, which means “Retweet.” We’ve seen people tweet, “[email protected] You so smart!” or we’ve seen, “You are so smart [email protected], can I get your autograph?”

In those tweets, the “.” is not necessary. Why? Because there are characters in front of the Twitter handle.

Do you have any questions about using Twitter? Ask in the comments and we’ll answer! Don’t worry about asking a dumb question, you’re anonymous.

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