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Subtweeting: The Art of Indirect Tweet References


April 23, 2024 | 8 min read

Subtweeting isn’t a new thing on Twitter. You’ve probably come across tweets and comments that seemed hostile and indirectly related to someone you know. These posts had no usernames or names, but you got enough hints to know who they involved. It is normal for these posts to be vague yet informative.

A subliminal tweet contains enough information for the audience to discover who it is talking about. Because of the mystery surrounding these tweets, many people know little about them. Fortunately, this article provides adequate information about them. Read to the end to learn everything about these indirect posts.

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What Is Subtweeting?

A subtweet, called a subliminal tweet, is a critical tweet referring to a person while keeping their identity hidden. This post could be an independent tweet aimed at attacking another user. It could also be a response to someone else’s post. In the end, learning what subtweeting is means an act of creating passive-aggressive posts.

Typically, it is a form of sly mockery or criticism. The poster may publish the tweet to let only the person involved decipher the message. They could also make it a subliminal tweet for their audience to interpret and make the connection.

The tweet doesn’t mention the post or comment the person is talking about. However, people who follow the original post owner and the person involved can see both posts and make the connection. This post could also be an online response to an offline action or conversation.

Similarly, people who knew about this event or conversation can relate the post to it. These posts are common on social media platforms, especially between controversial users. They help make negative comments about the other party without making it obvious.

Despite this, people can use them to say something positive about other users. They can help show admiration for someone you’re too shy to approach. Look at it as a way of expressing yourself more genuinely without making it obvious.

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Looking at Various Subtweet Example

Subliminal tweets aim to create certain impressions of people in your target audience. Whether the post is negative or positive, your audience will understand it. A standard subtweet example is usually an online gossip post in which the poster doesn’t mention the person involved.

It doesn’t mention anyone’s name but may identify your relationship. For example, I know this person who makes jokes in awkward situations, and I’m not too fond of it. Here, the poster has identified the person as someone they know and said something about them.

In another scenario, the post may mention the person’s characteristics without mentioning their name or username. For example, this friendly colleague at work thinks frowning is an illness. Both examples indirectly refer to someone based on distinct features.

The poster’s Twitter followers and friends won’t guess who they were talking about because it could be anyone. Only people they had discussed the subject with before will understand the post. They will also connect it to the person involved. However, it could result in conflict if someone informs the party involved.

In addition, the post could refer to a group of people with similar characteristics. For example, some people in showbiz need to work on relating with their fans. This example has identified a group of people without naming one particular person. The intended recipient may identify the poster’s intention and take action.

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Difference Between a Subtweet and a Tweet

Subliminal posts involve commenting or talking about someone without tagging them. You may or may not include their name in this post. Meanwhile, tweets involve commenting about someone and mentioning their username to tag them. Here, you use the @ symbol followed by the person’s X, aka Twitter handle.

For example, let’s face it: no one likes @username’s jokes in awkward situations. This means you have tagged them in the post, and they will receive a notification about this action. In addition, your audience will see their username and can go to the person’s profile.

The person mentioned will keep receiving notifications for replies to the post. You want them to see your critical tweet and probably react to it. Your followers may interact with the person or become their followers. Depending on the nature of your post, the person may gain more followers.

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How To Subtweet With Creativity

Creativity is essential when indirectly addressing people in tweets. Various aspects of tweets can typically trigger other users on the platform. Subliminal posts are sensitive, and unless you want controversy, artful subtweets are a better option. Hence, it is best to learn how to subtweet skillfully.

1. By Creating a Mystery

People enjoy making discoveries because they give them a sense of accomplishment. Apart from seeking out hidden treasures, connecting the pieces of a message is another thrill. Similarly, artfully publishing a post about a mysterious character or event attracts your audience.

It makes them wonder who you were talking about. You can post without including the person’s name, characteristics, or relationship. For example, some people don’t know time waits for no one. Your friends and active followers may connect to the link faster.

However, non-followers may have to dig out previous posts to learn more about your critical tweet. You may eventually gain more followers and boost your Twitter engagement rate. In addition, creating a mystery allows you to express yourself while avoiding a confrontation.

It seems sneaky but allows you to stay in the positive light and maintain your relationship with many people. Except you are more specific, the person involved can’t guess the post is about them. However, some people may inform the person that the post refers to them.

The person may also know if the issue addressed is a trending topic about them. Unsurprisingly, some people are direct about expressing themselves. The person involved may respond and attack you online or physically. Staying on the positive side depends on your level of creativity.

2. By Mentioning a Name

Although it shouldn’t count, mentioning names without tagging the Twitter user involved is another subliminal tweet. For example, Sarah B. talks like a running tap #hearmythoughts! The person involved is Sarah B., but the statement didn’t include her Twitter handle. Anyone could bear a similar name and have similar traits.

However, anyone who knows your relationship with the person will know the post was about them. The person mentioned won’t know you published this post unless someone shows them or they follow your account. Identifying people allows you to tweet about a public figure in a less offensive way.

It also works for making a general observation without necessarily specifying the person involved. It could also let people know who you’re talking about. This instance works if the person’s Twitter handle isn’t related to their real name.

Additionally, you can use it to talk about someone who isn’t on the social platform. For example, Sarah B. and Kika have been on a cruise ship for six months. #travelgoals! Another scenario where people identify someone by name is if they wrote something horrible about them.

In this case, the poster is cowardly and can’t confront or tag the person involved. They only make subliminal comments to create a bad impression of the person. Whichever way, the person may get to see this post and learn about it.

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The Effects of Critical Posts on Social Media Interaction

A subliminal post about people can negatively and positively affect social media interactions. While it may trigger some people, it helps to avoid conflicts. It allows people to express their thoughts and opinions without directly attacking the people involved.

It also helps Twitter, aka X users, gain platform visibility. People who can solve the mystery of the person the post refers to may follow the post owner. This happens when they have similar opinions or want to get updates about the situation.

The post can provide a sense of validation or support for others who may have had similar experiences. While subliminal posts may have positive effects, people mostly use them for passive-aggressive reasons. This application may cause controversy or misinterpretation on the platform.

It can also lead to a toxic social environment where users use anonymity to bully each other. Abuse and harassment are violations on Twitter, and the platform may take action in some cases. Therefore, it’s essential to communicate respectfully on the platform. You can address your issue with someone through a Twitter DM or other channels.

Subtweeting may seem a better option, but the consequences may be greater. The internet never forgets, and people may refer to old posts in the future. However, you can fix the damage if you have such subliminal posts. TweetEraser makes everything easier by clearing these posts in bulk.

We have created a user-friendly web tool that filters and deletes bulk tweets. Our tool loads and deletes negative posts effortlessly within a short period. TweetEraser can create a clean slate like these posts had never existed. So, start filtering and clearing your X timeline today!

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