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