CoTags and ReTweets
Develop | Posted March 25, 2009

We try to stay reasonably close to the cutting edge here at Smart Bear so we use Twitter. Which creates a slight problem. With this team blog, it's easy for a reader to see who wrote a blog entry - there's a by-line displayed (although not if you subscribe via email - I still need to investigate that).

But with a team Twitter account it gets a bit confusing - how can you tell who posted which tweet? Some folks have even opined that a team Twitter account does not even make sense, in part for that very reason. I'm open to the idea of a team Twitter account though, so I have been searching for a solution to the ambiguity problem.

The solution I like is to use CoTags. The idea is simple: surrender four of your precious 140 characters in order to add a space, a ^, and then two initials. So all future tweets that I post will end with ^GS. In order for someone to decode that, they have to visit the Smart Bear Twitter page, where the background image has a decoder ring that maps initials to individual Twitter accounts:


Just like a team blog typically has an about us page where you can find out more about the author of a particular blog post, CoTags provide a way to discover more about the author of a particular tweet.

As more folks on our team post tweets, I'll update the list of CoTags. If we always remember to put in a CoTag then there will never be any ambiguity because all tweets will end with initials. The only exception will be tweets from twitterfeed, but those are just pointers to our blog entries, which have by-lines.

Meanwhile, in other Twitter news, there is a movement afoot to improve ReTweeting. I'm not sure yet how I feel about it - it seems like it would make it harder to follow conversations, since the text of the original tweet is not included in the retweet. If you have an opinion on that, please leave a comment.


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