My colleagues and I have been wondering, for a long time now, why there has been too many dots places in front of handles in some of the tweets sent by certain people or organisations we follow.

Like, why did The ServiceMag put a dot right before @PaulKagame and @UrugwiroVillage?

Dear .@PaulKagame We hope you are well on this Umuganda day. Just to inform you that we have also missed you on twitter. .@UrugwiroVillage

— The ServiceMag (@TheServiceMag) September 27, 2014

Or this:

In .@GasaboDistrict, Youth visited. @IremboGov centers, ICT labs. #YouthConnektMonth

— Min Youth&ICT|Rwanda (@RwandaYouthICT) November 20, 2015

The simple guess is: what Twitter calls broadcasting.

Twitter calls it narrowcasting when users post an @reply and broadcasting when they use a .@reply. We, at Ejo, call the latter an ‘open reply’.

When tweets have an @reply, but also a period (.) or other symbol (>) before them, users want all of their followers to see the Tweet, not just those who follow both the sender and the receiver. Remember that @replies, in which the @username is at the very start of the Tweet, can only be viewed by mutual followers of the sender and receiver.

.@Israb12 we take now. thanks, Israel. ^BG @TheKigalian

— Ejo Group (@EjoGroup) November 19, 2015

There is absolutely no specific reason to put a dot before usernames inside a tweet. Not that we know of.

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