@meme? @standard?

By Deane Barker on November 5, 2008

Has using the “@” symbol to address people in serial conversation threads become a standard? You see it in Twitter, of course, but I’m seeing it more and more in blog comments, and people use the syntax over in CNN’s comment threads all the time.

Just wondering.



  1. It’s always been a standard really, I’ve used it in IRC and forums for as long as I can remember. It definitely outlives Twitter.

  2. My exposure to “@” was in forums in the late 90’s, as a way to give credit to, or refer back to, the original (Internet) author. It’s shorter than “to:username, re: subject” Twitter’s mandatory implementation has secured the @ usage in the pantheon of convention.

  3. I’ve actually seen the “@” to direct a comment since the late 90s as well. I believe that Twitter adopted the practice from chatroom and forum use since then.

  4. I didn’t start seeing it until recently. Since then I have started using it in emails to me team when addressing specific people. I like it. It makes it stand out a little more.

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