When you reply to a Tweet from someone on Twitter their name automatically appears behind the @ symbol, ie, @scottgreenfield.

I always presumed that meant that everyone who was following me saw my reply. It was only when I sent a direct reply that I presumed my audience was limited, in that case to just the person to whom I sent the direct tweet message.

Not true. When I send a tweet to @scottgreenfield, it’s only the people who are following both me and the person I am replying to, Scott Greenfield, who can see my conversation with the person I am replying to.

To get around this, you can use a period before the @ symbol. By sending a reply to .@scottgreenfield everyone who is following me will see my reply.

It can be annoying to those following you to see your conversations in the form of Twitter replies. In most cases they have no interest in your Twitter conversation with one person. That’s why I usually use a direct message, ie, Message scottgreenfield.

But there are occasions where I believe my followers could learn from the Twitter dialogue I am having with one of my followers. In which case, I used the reply response, ie, @scottgreenfield.

Until today I thought my reply Tweet was going to all my followers. It turns out those replies were only seen by those who follow Scott Greenfield and I on Twitter. I suppose it makes sense to quite the noise, it’s just something I didn’t know.

Hat tip to LexBlog’s Editorial Manager, Colin O’Keefe, for the heads up.

  • Connie

    FYI TweetDeck allows one to see all @ replies sent by people they’re following, even if they’re NOT also following the person being @ replied. (Hope that makes sense.)
    ~@conniewinch

  • Melissa Denton

    Anyone who looks at your profile and all of the tweets you have sent will also see all of your @ replies, so don’t relax your standards and think you can do sloppy replies. Only a DM is private and it is best to never never write anything you would regret if it goes out to others.
    @BlitheMDJD

  • I depend on search more and more. So I often create a search column in Tweetdeck or save a search in Twitter api on my iPhone to hear what is going.
    This comes in handy when wanting to follow my teenager’s conversation on Twitter. Though her account is private I still see when her classmates reply to her. Shhh don’t spill my secret here–most of the time it is just teenage stuff–but there are a few times I am glad to have seen the info.
    I agree with Connie. I see other replies in my timeline even though I follow only the one sending the reply. This is a great way to find other great tweeps.

  • Clarification. If the @replies is at the beginning of the tweet is considered a reply and only shows up in the stream for you follow both accounts. However if the @reply shows up in the tweet but not at the beginning then you will see it if you follow the sender, if even you don’t follow the @replyaccount.
    Search will find them all.

  • Connie

    In TweetDeck, it’s a setting you can turn ‘on’ or not. I don’t remember its exact wording, but if you turn it ‘on,’ you can see all the @ replies sent by the people you follow, even ones where the @ begins the reply and even when you don’t also follow the person being replied to.
    ~@conniewinch

  • MTrance

    Thx for clearing it up, i thought the same!!