Workaround for Twitter @Replies Issue

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First Appeared: May 14th, 2009


About this Article 

This article was distilled from several tech-articles and tests by several people. It was not meant to explain all the nuances of the issue, but only what most Twitter users need to know to ensure that their public replies are seen by all of their followers when they expect them to be. (discussed more in Updates).   


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For reasons known only to Twitter, their handling off @replynames is in transition from something most people understood, to a new and convoluted process that has confused almost everyone.


If you really need to real the whole weird backstory, as written by geeks who will confuse you with pointless jargon and concepts you have no use for, just start here: then if you have courage, see Twitter's blog post presuming to clear things up (kinda, sorta) here replies-kerfuffle.


If, however, you're a normal person who enjoys simple language, and because all of this will probably change before you've digested this page, then...


as of right now, all you really need to know is this: 


Twitter has changed how @replies are handled.  By default, when you click any kind of "reply" button (on the Twitter web site, in Tweetdeck, and in some other client program), your tweet will only be seen by the person that you @replied to, and only those of your followers who also already follow that person. This really upsets many of us who want—or need—to discover new people by watching who our friends engage by @replying to them *. 


*Note: The issue of what the original reply behavior (and settings) had always been,  and Twitter's explanation of what changed, is discussed more in Updates).  


To Illustrate:   Should  @whitehouse reply to @northkorea with a message like "@northkorea We're invading your weird little country at dawn," the only people who will see that reply are @northkorea and anyone following BOTH that name AND @whitehouse.  Thus, even though you follow @whitehouse, you could miss their reply message if you never knew there was a @northkorea to follow in the first place. 


See the problem? This new and confusing policy removes the wonderful transparency that made Twitter a great place to discover people and ideas, and it's completely contrary to the spirit of most forms of social networking.  Twitter has suggested they will find a way to fix this.


But until they do, here is a very-less-than-ideal...




     If you want your followers to see your reply to someone, even if they don't follow that person:




     If you only want those also following a @name to see your reply to them, simply use any standard Reply button function.





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