Why people put a period before replies in twitter

By | January 7, 2012

After a recent change at twitter, those who use the micro-blogging technology are changing their behavior by adding a period before any replies (@<twitter-name responses).

Why the extra punctuation – and more importantly, why waste one more precious character? Even worse.. don’t periods go at the end of the sentence?

No, it’s not some new latin language thing, like the upside-down question-marks in Spanish. It’s not Morse code and it’s not a type – it’s a work-around.

Before twitter made a recent update, @<twitter-name> would have shown up on the timeline of anyone following the person replying OR the person being replied to. This is a very important tool to those that find other people to follow based on who their friends are talking to.

Now, if you @jim replies to @kelly, only those tweeps that follow both Jim and Kelly will see it. Not very useful for finding new people to follow – is it?

Don’t panic (yes, somewhat obscure sci-fi reference was absolutely necessary), by placing any character before the @, the followers of the replier and the replyee (yup, they’re words.. or soon will be – I’m sure of it) will see the message.

That’s why many are adding punctuation at the beginning of the twitter posts – well most of us. Some might be tweeting after dark, after drinks and after just about everyone else would have stopped.

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