Uncommon Knowledge: Twitter @replies

I’ve been think­ing late­ly, and I’m going to start a new series here on the blog, ten­ta­tive­ly titled stuff I know and take for grant­ed, but it’s stuff that a lot of peo­ple don’t know, you guys!

I may need to think of a bet­ter title.

I won’t, how­ev­er, let that stop me.1 These are things that the world may or may not need to know, but should cer­tain­ly have the chance to know.

Here’s my first one:

If you have a com­mon name on Twit­ter, you prob­a­bly get lots of errant ‘@replies’ because peo­ple don’t know how to use them.

A lit­tle back­ground: if you use Twit­ter — and I won’t fault you if you don’t2—you’re prob­a­bly aware that you can direct your post to anoth­er user by plac­ing their unique Twit­ter user ID after an @ sign some­where in your post. For exam­ple, if you want­ed to tell me I’m great, you’d say some­thing like:

I think that @everett is great!!

(@nobody Hey, thanks!)

…and then my Twit­ter soft­ware client would alert me that some­one direct­ed a post my way. These are usu­al­ly called “replies” or “men­tions” depend­ing on the client you use. Sim­ple stuff, right?

Note that it just so hap­pens that my Twit­ter ID is “everett.” This is so because I reg­is­tered my account in mid-2006, ear­ly enough that first-names were still unreg­is­tered, and thus, avail­able as user IDs. Because I chose a com­mon name for my ID and quite a few peo­ple out there know peo­ple named Everett and some of these peo­ple don’t know what they’re doing, I often get posts direct­ed at me unin­ten­tion­al­ly.

I’ve got­ten used to it. Here are some exam­ples of places I was ‘men­tioned’ by mis­take.

Not the worst advice, but I can’t take the cred­it.

This nev­er hap­pened. Real­ly.

Not sure where I was on the evening of August 19th, but I’m not sure where Elijah’s sense of enti­tle­ment comes from either.

This exam­ple is inter­est­ing. Thanks to Twit­ter, I’ve learned that there’s a chain of bar­be­cue places in the Oak­land area called Everett & Jones, which a lot of peo­ple like to go to. Men­tions of E&J actu­al­ly get mis­tak­en­ly direct­ed at me a lot… and from every­thing I’ve heard, it makes my must-try list if I’m ever in the Bay Area again. Thanks, Twit­ter!

  1. You could also say that I need to think of bet­ter ideas than this one, but I won’t let that stop me either.
  2. Despite all the hype, Twit­ter is total­ly non-essential, and you’re prob­a­bly not miss­ing that much if you don’t use it.

…I just want some snack cakes

I was play­ing some Scar­face: The World Is Yours ear­li­er this evening on my Wii and while the game is in many ways a series of mis­sions that don’t vary all that much, a part of the game that is pret­ty con­sis­tent­ly inter­est­ing is talk­ing to ran­dom peo­ple on the streets. (What does that leave? A pret­ty stan­dard 3D open world, drive-cars-shoot-people-deal-drugs rush rush affair that hap­pens to take place in a Mia­mi I don’t quite rec­og­nize.)

But like I was say­ing, the con­ver­sa­tions.

I can’t remem­ber what pur­pose this serves in the game, but you can have back-and-forth con­ver­sa­tions with the seem­ing­ly hun­dreds of unique NPCs that line the streets of the game. Walk up to one, press A and Tony spits out a line, to which they respond with some­thing that more-or-less makes sense. Press A and Tony replies with some­thing most­ly rel­e­vant to what they said. Do this back-and-forth exchange a few times and your “Con­ver­sa­tion” count increas­es by one. (You can only con­verse with any giv­en indi­vid­ual once, at which point talk­ing to them con­sists of seemingly-random one-liners that seem to either pro­pose sex­u­al rela­tions or bod­i­ly harm… or are just strings of Scarface-style exple­tives.)

So ear­li­er, I (well, Tony) was vis­it­ing our local bank branch when I decid­ed to talk to some of the peo­ple hang­ing around in the stair­well. We walked up to one African-American gen­tle­man in an ugly sweater and the con­ver­sa­tion basi­cal­ly began like this:

Tony: Mia­mi is full of pussy, meng. You just need to be rich to get it.
Gen­tle­man: Man, I don’t care about pussy. I just want some snack cakes.

I’m gonna let that one hang for a moment.

Okay, I fuck­ing love this game.