Why Use An @ Symbol Before A Message
Directs a public message to a specific person
The @ symbol is very important in Twitter. You are most likely familiar with it when using email. In email the @ symbol directs an email to a domain name. For example email@example.com. This means that the user (joelmarkwitt) is to get an email at the domain (FolkMedia.org). But in Twitter the @ symbol is used to direct a message to a specific user.
What Do I use
Using the @ symbol shows that you are directing your public message to a specific person. It does not indicate that the message is a private communication between you and another person. Using the @ symbol simply means that you are referencing someone by name in your Twitter post.
For example, if you wanted to direct a public message to me, you would put an @ symbol before my Twitter name (joelmarkwitt) and then type out your message.
All @ symbol posts:
- Direct attention to a specific person/user
- Are public
- Good way to mention someone
- Can be great ways to get noticed by high profile Twitter people
- Are used to start discussions
- Are sometime abused by “spammers” who repeatedly send people @mentions
Here is an example of a Twitter post using the @ symbol. This is one side of a two part discussion:
Here is the message that I (Joel) was responding to:
How To Use @Mentions
The primary purpose of an @mention is to use it in the midst of a discussion. If you put an @ symbol and the username of the person you are responding to, your Tweet will show up in their @mention area. This is an easy way to carry on a back and forth dialogue.
Get someone’s attention
A great way to attract the attention of a high-profile Tweeter is to direct an @mention to them asking a well thought out question. Everyone pays very close attention to the @mention area of their Twitter page. Call it vanity if you will – but we humans love to see who’s talking about us.
Using @mentions is also a great way to spread the love to other tweeters. You can recommend other people to follow. Or you can simply refer to people using their @name in your tweets.
You need to understand and use @Mentions on Twitter. By leveraging the power of connecting with people in discussion, you will build leadership and recognition on Twitter quickly.
Joel Mark Witt is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. He is also the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership Send him an eMail: joelmarkwitt (at) folkmedia.org or follow him on Twitter.
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