The One Thing About Twitter Most People Don’t Know

We love using Twitter as a way to make and maintain professional connections. It’s also a great place to give people virtual “props” and shout outs.

I also see people making this one mistake over and over again.

Here’s a Twitter fact most people don’t know:

If you start a tweet with a username, like @FindSpark, your followers will NOT see that tweet, unless they follow that person. 

Frustrated man sending text message using mobile phone at home

Let me explain what I mean.

Amy Wong is one of our amazing community members who came to our last conference. You can see below a tweet she wrote that begins with a username. Obviously she wanted her followers to see the tweet, as she was saying something nice about one of our speakers.

Unfortunately, because the tweet starts with the username, it didn’t show up in the newsfeeds of most of her followers – only those who already follow @SELFMagazine.


Why? Because starting a tweet with a username is actually called an “@ reply”, and it’s meant for back and forth conversation between two people, that you don’t want or need your followers to see.

It prevents your followers from seeing one side of a conversation, because that’d be annoying (in the same way it’s annoying to hear one side of a phone call).

Here’s an example of when you’d start a tweet with a username / an “@ reply”:


We don’t need or want our followers to see a conversation with us and a supporter on twitter asking for contact information. That’d be annoying, right?

In the case below, we could have “@ replied,” but because the response is beneficial for all our followers to see, we re-structured the tweet as a normal tweet, as opposed to an “@ reply.”


If you’re set on starting a tweet with a username, one thing you can do to make sure your followers see it is to include a “.” before the username.


Are there are any other Twitter secrets out there you’ve learned? Share in the comments!

About the Author

Emily is Founder and CEO of FindSpark. Passionate about the power of social media and networking; Emily has spoken at numerous colleges, conferences, and events including The International Youth Leaders Assembly at The United Nations, SXSW Interactive, Internet Week, Mediabistro's Social Media Bootcamp, Time Inc, Columbia University, and New York University, among others. Emily is also an adjunct professor, teaching social media and career courses at multiple colleges. Learn more about having Emily speak at your next event and follow her on twitter @EmilyMiethner.

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