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Tips & Tricks: Why the Period Before @Mentions?

Have you ever been scrolling through your Twitter feed and seen a couple of tweets starting with a period before an @mention? Well, this is one of Twitter’s lesser-known quirks, and it silently plays a big role in what comes up in your feed.

When you Tweet directly at someone (by putting their @handle as the beginning of your Tweet), that Tweet only comes up in the feeds of users who follow both you and the person you are directly Tweeting at. Why? It’s pretty much so you don’t flood other people’s streams when you are tweeting back and forth with someone (Tweet convos, ya know?). For example:

That’s where the period comes in: If you dot before you @mention, your Tweet shows up in the feeds of all of your followers. If you don’t dot before you @mention, your tweet is considered conversational and only shows up on your stream, the stream of whoever you Tweeted at, and those lucky followers you both have in common.

So, if you want to Tweet directly at someone and you want it to go to all of your followers’ feeds, dot before you @mention. For example:

NOTE: It’s important to know that this trick is only for when you @mention people in the beginning of your Tweet. Tweets with @mentions elsewhere do not fall under this category, so don’t go around putting periods before every person you @mention.

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About Álvaro J. Soltero

Álvaro is Co-Founder and Managing Editor of The Social U. He is currently a Senior at Tufts University majoring in Cognitive & Brain Science and minoring in Entrepreneurial Leadership. He just spent his summer interning for LEWIS Pulse, a social media PR agency in San Francisco, and he is currently a blogger and inbound marketing intern for a Boston startup called Leaf.

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