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.