One aspect of Twitter some beginners have difficulty with is the concept of time. Is this you? You’ve learned how to send replies on twitter and someone doesn’t reply straight away, you’re wondering, what did I say?
It seems quite natural with email. We send the email, perhaps get a read receipt, and don’t expect an immediate response. We may not get one until hours or days later.
On twitter it is the same. Whilst it seems immediate and ephemeral–and in many ways it is-twitter is also stretchy and sticky.
Hint: The links on this post should work if you are logged into twitter.com – a bit of an experiment!
Sometimes a single conversation on twitter can span several days and develop into various strands. Twitter users are active right round the global clock, and people I speak to in the morning might be going to bed in Shanghai, then eight hours later pick up on our conversation again.
The person who you are contacting with your @mention may not be on twitter when you message them – even if it looks like they are. Many people tweet in little clumps and you won’t know when they have gone either. So be patient, because the reason why twitter can stretch is because it is Sticky.
When you send someone a direct message on twitter , or a reply or Retweet using their @handle, the message will sit in their mentions or DM inbox for some time. How long it is easily visible depends on how many messages they get, and celebrities often find it difficult to handle their mentions stream because they get so many.
The @mentions and DM inboxes are slower to fill than your stream if you follow many people however. If you want to produce additional stickyness you can favourite a tweet when it arrives, and it will then sit in your favourites box indefinitely, instead of being eventually dumped by twitter after a week.
So to hang onto any reply or tweet, click the star alongside it, and it will add to your favourites for top stickiness.
When email was new, and even for some today, it became a huge draw some were unable to shake off. As a result a huge industry has grown up around trying to encourage us not to be a slave to email. Don’t be a slave to twitter either.