Interesting Behaviour from Twitter – Who Sees Your Mentions?

This weekend I have been seeing all sorts of interesting behaviour on Twitter. First off, I know Twitter has tried to “improve” the services such that users can interact with one another using the @ sign at the beginning and only people who follow both users will see this content appear in their feeds. There are, of course, ways around this (such as putting a period before the @ sign or often people will put ” before the @ sign). However, this weekend I noticed an interesting case where a user I follow mentioned a user I do not follow and it still appeared in my feed.

One interesting possibility with this is if the user does not exist. This was the case for the first case I witnessed. HermioneWay tweeted at a user called HughForester (and no account exists at this time for such a user). I was able to replicate the same behaviour by tweeting to a non-existent user as well and it meant that everyone who follows me is able to see how I failed to communicate with the right person.

I’m not entirely sure why this would be the default (it would seem that since no one would be following this non existent user) no one should have the “conversation” appear in their feed. I guess the lesson to be learned is make sure you know you’ve got the right user when you’re trying to speak to them or everyone will be able to see not only your conversation but also your screw-up.

For more random Twitter related discoveries and conversation with real and non-existent users be sure to follow me on Twitter.

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