Symmetry on Twitter

It’s day two of the Web Sci summer school, and as ever Twitter is proving to be a useful backchannel. It occurred to me that I’m using the two main Twitter mechanisms — hashtags and at-replies — for opposite purposes right now.

I’m using the hashtag mechanism exactly as expected: tagging tweets with #websci so they show up to people subscribed to that tag. But I’ve also been tweeting about the summer school quite heavily, and I don’t want to spam my followers who aren’t into WebSci.

So, I took a leaf out of Max Wilson‘s book: I’ve been addressing comments about the event to the summer school account, @WebSciDocSS2011. Twitter thus understands my tweets as part of a conversation between myself and that account, and only displays those tweets to people who follow both me and the other account. (I also occasionally tweet an unfiltered reminder that I’m doing that, in case followers haven’t realised and are unwittingly missing the tweets.)

Tweeting with symmetry

For example...

Why am I talking about this? Simply because I was pleased by the symmetry, both in function and form. Functionally, I’m using one mechanism to reduce exposure and one mechanism to increase it. As to form, the tweets necessarily always start with @WebSciDocSS2011, while the #websci tag usually comes at the end.

Cool, eh?

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