Most people use @reply to send a message to a specific user, like this:
@aldos You have CIWS (Corporate IT Withdrawal Syndrome). Keeping all emails to CYA is a classic symptom.
or like this:
@pkirkham Could you please DM me your email id?
I find @replies a bit annoying if they are used in excess, especially if there are extended periods of back-and-forth between a person I follow and a person I don’t. I’ve also found that some people use @replies in ways that don’t annoy me. Here are some tips for using @replies that I think are useful:
Make an @reply about a person as much as it is to a person
Here’s a good example:
Looks like @aldos is working on getting un-followed again with his heretofore twitter style point deficit.
I like this use of @reply. It tells me I’ve been annoying, but it’s not really just to me.
This tweet, from my friend and boss @mherrick66, was a response to a bit of spamming I did as an experiment to promote Uladoo. I sent @messages to about 8 different people I didn’t know but thought might be interested in Uladoo. Which brings up the next point:
Don’t use @reply to spam people
If you want to send a message to a specific person, hoping for a re-tweet, follow them. If they follow you back, send them a direct message. Especially if you are going to send the same message to several different people who don’t know you from @adam.
Don’t start your @reply with @reply
Sending a tweet that starts with @reply is like starting a letter with “Dear David”. That’s actually fine and normal for private correspondence, but that’s not what an @reply is. Starting a tweet with @aldos sends a strong signal to everyone else that this is not to them.
Don’t have extended conversations in twitter that are meaningless to followers
If you only follow one participant in a long twitter conversation, you know what I mean already. Here’s an example:
@junebug I think that idea sucks
@junebug Well, it doesn’t take into account the balance sheet
@junebug Yeah, if monkeys were accountants
@junebug No, I can’t do that today
I could go follow @junebug and find out what this is all about, but I’d rather the author just followed my first rule. She could have done this easily by simply replacing “it” and “that” with whatever she is referring to. For example, here’s how I would fix the last tweet.
I wish I could go to Gruberg’s talk on financial accountability with @junebug today, but can’t cuz of PTA.
Note: this conversation is totally made up. There probably is a twitter user named @junebug, so let me apologize in advance.
If @reply doesn’t add to your message, just drop it
Consider this tweet:
@testobsessed Good Morning! have a great day
How is it any better than this?
Good Morning! have a great day
Before you send an @reply, take out the @ part and see if it makes a difference. If it doesn’t, send it without the @.