There has always been a joke about people using Facebook and not understanding what can be seen, and by whom. But that should really be applied to Twitter, because there is a lot more misunderstanding there. That isn’t a surprise, given the unique platform used by the microblogging site. Not a lot of people truly grasp the differences between Twitter and other social networks.
Here is a Twitter infographic of who sees what on a Twitter stream.
This is the page you go to the moment you sign into your account. It shows the stream of updates from the people you have followed, and is constantly updating thanks to Twitter’s live feed. This is your Twitter stream, and it only shows people you have followed yourself.
It also shows other information, such as what is trending right now on the site, who you might be interested in following, and gives you access to other parts of your account. It is this access that is most important.
When someone mentions you, they are speaking to you publicly. They do this by adding an @ sigh before your screenname, so it looks like this “@YourName”. Anyone you are following that does this will show up on your stream. Anyone who is following both you and that person will also see it on their stream.
But people who you aren’t following can mention you, as well. Their posts will not show up in your stream, or in the stream of anyone else unless they are following you both. Instead, you can view these by clicking on the Connect button on your homepage.
Mentions shouldn’t be confused with Direct Messages. These are private, and can only be seen by the person you send them to. You can access your inbox by clicking on the little letter icon at the top of your homepage.
To send a direct message, go to the person’s profile and select the button with the little person. This brings a drop down menu with a prompt to send a direct message. Make sure you are aware of when you are sending a private message, and when you are tweeting publicly. More than one person has been embarrassed by this.
Have any comments? Questions? Advice? Just want to say hi? We would love to hear from you, so leave us a comment.