Confused Twitter users and cluttered @replies

My first name is my Twitter username (@bryan). I love that!


  • New users don’t realize that you need to input the exact username.
  • Spammers know they can flood your @replies tab. (Of course, you can easily block and report them as spam.)

Tip: I understand that many Twitter users have difficult names to spell. Don’t rely on your memory. On the website, hover over the message you want to reply to and click “reply.” (End tip.)

At the time of this writing, the last four pages of my @replies tab only has nineteen legitimate @replies to me. (Well, technically fourteen because five are mine.[1. I sign my Twitter updates from @scarletparadigm with @bryan.])

Each page has twenty (20) Twitter updates. So, if I use fourteen in my math, 17.5% of 80 @replies are from Twitter users who don’t know how to @reply their friends correctly.

I’m leaning toward blocking repeat idiots offenders, but that’d take a lot of work. Maybe I should block anyone who can’t @reply properly. Is that too harsh?

How do you deal, if at all?

If you’re in your RSS reader, please click through to vote in my [unscientific] poll, and feel free to elaborate in the comments. (If your URL seems suspicious, I’ll remove it.)

Do you block people who can’t @reply on Twitter correctly?customer surveys

Update 2010-07-07: Derek Powazek wrote “Press the Magic Button” the same day I wrote this. I feel like he was reading my mind.

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Bryan Villarin

Bryan works at Automattic. Cat whisperer. Sometimes, a photographer and card magician.

3 thoughts on “Confused Twitter users and cluttered @replies”

  1. My twitter name (@askmeques) is uncommon enough that I don’t have that problem. And if I’m @replying from my phone, I have mistyped the name before…usually Shaun’s (@shibbydacury), which my phone likes to autocorrect.

    If I had @sarah and was getting a bunch of bad @replies, I’d probably change my username.


  2. I think I would probably follow them rather than block them. Clearly they want to talk with you. Maybe even respond to their question/statement with a reply of your own. Of course my first gut response would be to @reply to them with a link to a how to @reply page, but then you are gambling that they don’t report you as SPAM.


    1. Chris: No, they don’t [want to talk to me]. Most of the time, it’s another language or they’re replying to someone named Bryan (that they’re following). And, it’s not “in reply to.” Lastly, they probably don’t use the website. It’s not worth the trouble.


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