Twitter "At" replies become "Slash At" replies

May 13th, 2009 by Alistair MacDonald Leave a reply »

If you are a twitter user you will know the convention of starting a tweet with a @username to reply to another tweet. More recently Twitter has included a form of threading so you know exactly which tweet you were replying to.

Things were going well until Twitter introduced a now little tweak.

As things stand now Twitter is kind of broken for the way that many people use it. Users, and a lot of users, have made it clear that they are not happy by tweeting about it and tagging those complains with #fixreplies.

I have a suggestion though that will get us thought the problem now. Instead of using a “@” symbol we use another one. After a small discussion (that we might not have seen all of because of the small Twitter tweak) we decided on a “/@” symbol. So if you are annoyed by the change please start your tweets with a “/@” instead of a “@”. Remember NOT to use the reply button.

Yes it is a step backwards, but hopefully it will be temporary. The new threading will obviously be broken by this. Also many client apps will not work as intended either. Sorry.

If you like the idea then please tweet about it.

Update: Following Twitter noticing the unhappiness they have tweaked the system again so that starting a tweet with an @ will not cause a tweet to be masked from others. So we have the choice of many followers missing our replies, or loose the threading.

I think the interesting comment in Twitters response was that the original functionality did not scale. This fits in with the way I presumed Twitter was functioning under the bonnet.

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