It’s a funny one to get the hang of until someone shows you, but important to remember that if you put an @ at the start of any tweet you are limiting who sees that tweet.
To make it easy to understand we’ll use two accounts @clairet18 and @jamesturner1912 (which just happen to be me and my husband)!.
So this tweet, with Hi at the beginning, will show up in the timelines of everyone who follows me. James will also get a notification to say that I have mentioned him.
Hi @jamesturner1912 how is your day going?
— Wow! Signal Comms (@clairet18) February 12, 2015
If I tweet it with the @ at the beginning James will still get a notification but the tweet will only appear in the timelines of people who follow both of our accounts.
The tweets are also visible to anyone on Twitter whether they follow us or not, if people go and look for them. The first one would show up if people look at all my tweets.
To see the second one, they need to look at my tweets and replies.
So if you are naming another account in your tweet but you do want all of your followers to see something make sure there is a . or something else at the very beginning of your tweet.
Some tweets not appearing to all of your followers can be really useful. For example if you don’t want to bombard people who follow you with conversations you just want to have between one or two people, or you are a company using Twitter for customer service. It means followers of the @londonmidland account will see their updates and information,
but not every tweet they send in response to customer questions, comments and complaints.
If you’re keen to know what the overlap between two accounts is, you can use followerwonk. James and I have an overlap of 46 followers!
Also remember if you do want to keep your conversation completely private, use Direct Messages – here’s mine explaining to James, that I was about to use his account to create the examples above. Only he and I had access to that conversation, until I screen capped it, nothing is ever truly private on social media! Happy tweeting!