Twitter Pro Tip

I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I’ve been on since 2006 (account #419, baby!*), all of my friends are on Twitter, and over the years I’ve cultivated so many great new friendships with awesome people around the world. It’s truly my community, and I love it!


@WilloLovesYou on Twitter
Note: This is an old screenshot.
I’m now @WilloLovesYou on Twitter! 🙂

Lovefest gushing aside, there’s a really common mistake I see people do all the time, and, because it’s difficult to explain in 140 characters (the character limit of any tweet), I thought I better do a geekyfantastic post explaining what’s up.

My Twitter Pro Tip for You

If you’re writing a tweet that you want everyone [who follows you] to see, be careful about starting the tweet with a username. Here’s why:

When you start a tweet with an @username, only the people who follow both you AND that @username will see that tweet in their timeline.

For example, say you’re wanting to give a shout out to me, and tell all your friends about my site (hey, just a thought 😉 – you might write:

@WilloLovesYou is awesome, you should check out
her incredible Harvest & Thrive course! http://bit.ly/HnThrive

However, if you send it with my username at the very beginning, ONLY the people who follow both you AND me will see that tweet in their timeline. Which, may defeat the purpose of your shout out, if you had intended to spread the word to friends who haven’t yet started following me on Twitter or discovered my site yet. Make sense?

Twitter’s making sure your Timeline is relevant for you

It works like this so that when you’re reading through your timeline, you only see your friend’s conversations back and forth, and you don’t have to read your friend’s tweet to some random person you don’t know.

How can you make sure everyone sees it?

Should you want to start your tweet with a username, that’s ok! You just need to put some kind of character in front of it, like a period, dash or asterisk. Anything works, but you most often see people using a period, like this:

.@WilloLovesYou is awesome, you should check out
her incredible Harvest & Thrive course! http://bit.ly/HnThrive

When you send it like that, everyone who follows you will see it!

This can be helpful when you’re replying to someone, but your reply is actually something you want your entire network to see. Simply place a period in front of the username you’re replying to, and everyone who follows you will see that tweet.

UPDATE: Twitter has even changed it’s UI (User Interface) to reflect this, so that when any visitor goes to your profile, they only see your Tweets & Retweets visible on the first tab, and your Replies are hidden/separated on another. This is because they’re assuming it’s probably a bunch of inside jokes and conversations that would be cluttering up your main timeline… and most of the time they’re right! 😉

Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any further questions… I’m happy to answer ’em.

*A fun fact about my being on Twitter since 2006
My public account is @WilloLovesYou (formerly @WilloToons), but my original username registered is @willo (which I now use as my private account), and it’s account #419! Super OG. I have my friend Noah to thank for that one. Here’s my first tweet.

Are you on Twitter? Say hello!

Leave a Reply 3 comments

SaM (@AlohaBlossom) - July 24, 2011 Reply

Admittedly, I oft forget this: http://willotoons.com/2011/07/twitter-pro-tip/ D’oh! Thanks for the friendly reminder @willotoons #ProTip

Helena Marette (@planetartstudio) - July 24, 2011 Reply

Thank you for the helpful tip. Very kind of you to share.@willotoons http://t.co/pVt5ocQ

axl163 (@axl163) - August 15, 2011 Reply

.@willotoons Thanks for the "Great example of needing http://t.co/6gmQ2CL" I’m such a n00b! =)

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