Lately I’ve noticed more and more people putting a “.” before they type a reply to someone in Twitter’s public time line. It’s a small but smart work around for the problem created by Twitter decision to decrease the noise in the system by hiding any message someone sends via the “@[name]” from any of their followers who are not following that specific person. A lot of people were ticked off when Twitter decided to go that route because of the residual value and increased serendipity allowed by everyone seeing who you were talking to. Many people actually like that type of noise because it surfaces the social graph (i.e. the fact that you can see who someone talks to, regardless of the conversational content, is often valuable.) So people are starting to sacrifice just 1 character of their 140 limit to effectively make their conversations public. Simple, smart fix. Right on.
It just goes to show you, when one person finds a smart work-around for a common problem and uses it in public, that idea will propagate across the network as it is adopted by more and more people…until it becomes part of the culture.