If you’re an active Twitter user, you may have come across tweets that oddly start with a period.
What you’re seeing is not a typo but a deliberate action used specifically before mentioning another user.
So Why Do People Put a Period Before a Mention Tweet?
When a Twitter user starts a tweet with a mention, (the “@” symbol) they are having a semi-private conversation with another user. These tweets will not be shown on your twitter stream unless you are following both the user tweeting, and the user that is mentioned directly.
This means that if one of your tweets starts by mentioning another user you are going to have fewer people reading your tweet. But when you place a period before the mentioned user in your tweet you are bypassing Twitter’s mention protocol making it a normal tweet, so that all of your followers can see your conversation.
In fact it really doesn’t really matter which character you use before the mentioned user. You can use apostrophes, letters and other symbols but it seems that using a period is the most popular method.
Should I Always Put a Period Before a Mention Tweet?
Again, the only time you will be using a period is if your tweet starts off with a mention. So when your tweet starts with a mention, it will be up to you to decide if you want your conversation to be semi-private or fully public. If you want your tweet to be public to all your followers, then use a period before the mention.
Keep in mind though that you probably don’t want to make every conversation of yours public, especially when it’s only to thank someone for following you. Not everyone needs to see that, and you don’t want to annoy or clutter up your follower’s streams. Use your periods wisely.