Subtweeting: it’s the internet equivalent of talking about someone behind their back – or at least that’s how people usually explain it.
But in truth, the art of subtweeting consists of many different strokes. It’s not something that can be so succinctly defined. Subtweeting can be brilliant, it can be cruel, it can be rude, it can be annoying as hell.
Here’s a little guide on what subtweeting is, how it’s mostly employed, how to do it wrong, and how to do it well.
A subtweet means you are commenting about someone who you have not @ in. For those people who were born in 1880 who are new to Twitter, an @ symbol followed by a person’s Twitter username is known as a Twitter “mention”.
This means that they will receive a notification whenever you include them in a tweet, and other people will be able to see the link to their Twitter account.
The person mentioned will keep receiving notifications related to the tweet in which they were mentioned. It’s at the core of how Twitter works, and how people use the service to communicate.
Variations of subtweeting – what’s in a name?
Some people include in the definition of subtweeting an instance when one mentions a person’s name but doesn’t @ mention a person’s name. (Guys, I didn’t say this was simple.)
For example, if I were to subtweet my boss, Jemima, some people would deem it subtweeting if I wrote: “Jemima Kiss eats too much salt”. If I wrote something like “My boss eats so much salt that she’s basically Lot’s wife”, that would be be considered a definite subtweet, if a genial one.
Here’s an example of when I subtweeted newsreader Susanna Reid by mentioning her name, but not her twitter handle. Which backfired when she saw it.