The @ Conundrum


It started with a simple post to Instagram. The message: @depage. The Google elves left this on my desk. And, there was a link to a photo on Instagram.

I cross post to all my social media sites using Instagram because frankly, it makes my life easier. It’s difficult trying to maintain a social media presence across the Internet and the ability to send one post to 3+ services is extremely handy.

However, in looking at my post on Twitter I realized that somewhere between the two the @ was lost. This isn’t the first time it’s happened and previously I chalked this up to some sort of cross wire defect. But in this case, I realized that this was deliberate and one of the services is stripping out the @.

Then I started to wonder why. Why would they do this? And I realized the conundrum. Both services use the @ symbol to call out users on the site; however, having an identity on one site doesn’t necessarily mean having that same identity on the other. So a simple @depage (on Twitter) does not equal @depage (on Instagram) and to cross post could mean spamming an unrelated user on one of these sites.

This illustrates the fractured nature of the Internet and the importance of religiously guarding and being consistent with your online identity. And, this becomes even more critical as more social media sites hook up form partnerships with each other.

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1 Response

  1. sharbean says:

    @depage also pointed me to this article:

    When you start your tweet with the @ symbol, it’s not posted to all of your followers.:

    “When you start a tweet with someone’s handle, the only people who will see that tweet are those who follow both you and the other person—not all of your followers. This can be useful when you reply to someone and your tweet isn’t all that useful to everyone.”

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