Twitter’s blog has news of a small, but quite significant change in the way that ‘replies’ are handled. As a Twitter user, you have an identity referenced by the @ character. For example, I, David Petherick, am @clarocada, Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is @boris.
If Boris is referenced by another twitter user, the convention has been to place @boris at the beginning of a twitter message to signify that the message is public, but intended to reference Boris. Twitter use to treat these references as ‘replies’ to a tweet from @boris, and would show all references where the @replies were placed at the beginning of a tweet so that Boris could see who was ‘replying’ to him. Twitter client software such as Twhirl, Tweetdeck and DestroyTwitter also use this convention.
However, people have been using @replies in other ways, for example ‘I am at #sxsw with @bryanthatcher @stewarttowsend and @patrick, looking for a party!‘ – and so the terminology, and the inclusiveness of the @replies feature has been changed to encompass all of the tweet, and using the term ‘mention’. In the example here, three individuals are ‘mentioned’: @bryanthatcher @stewarttowsend and @patrick. The new designation for Replies in the Twitter web interface is simply @username.
1: A ‘reply’ is now termed a ‘mention’ (but it’s not called that in the web interface and it’s still at http://twitter.com/replies).
2: A mention should now shows up even if @username is not at the beginning of a tweet.
So. Are we clear now, or do I need to mention something else? Please reply below…