Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When others didn't share I didn't play with them anymore: twitter, you listening?'s called social NETWORKING for a reason!

Once again, in a massive twitter fail, twitter has jumped first, asked questions later. (and then not really listened to the answers!)

2800+ follow me. Of those, I follow 1800+ people. I listen to ALL of them. And their friends. If they say something I find interesting, I click over, and often follow them, too. It is how I find new people, and local people, events and tweetups, in order to actually, you know, meet real people and connect in real life. I have met a lot of really great people, both online and off. And a lot of that is attributed to seeing all replies.

And I would hope if you are following my stream, you do the same. But that isn't going to be an option anymore. Because twitter has taken that choice from you. The settings for @replies used to have three toggles:

  • all replies
  • replies of all you follow
  • replies from those you follow to all of their followers.

You had a choice. Now, you don't.

The entire reason for social media is, well, social. To limit the options is not the wisest course for twitter to have taken. Power users like @chrisbrogan,@kevinrose @GeekMommy and others, who ooze social media and tweet things I really want to know? I will miss replies unless I am following all 10,000+ of their followers. I don't have time for that. This is just short-sighted on twitter's part. The value of twitter has always been discovery of new users, and the conversations that arise. Twitter has effectively crippled themselves. And explain how this will help those who do social media business on twitter?

What set twitter apart was the ability to hear ALL of the conversations or as much as you would like. It is like drinking from a firehose...not all want to do it, but some of us enjoy getting soaked in the conversation. Now, our streams became significantly less wet. If I wanted a drinking fountain, I would do iChat. I am looking to be immersed in the fountain of social media. I want to be soaked to the skin! So twitter has miscalculated here. Judging from the way #fixreplies is trending, I am thinking they will have to address this, whether they want to or not!

And twitter isn't the only option out there. There is Facebook, a platform that is gaining popularity with the last update. I can still see the things my friends (and theirs!) are up to. I can follow their friends, if I choose to do so. I have said before that Facebook feels like I am cheating on my boyfriend, Twitter, but breaking up is hard to do...not impossible.

Or there is @Scobleizer's baby, friendfeed, which uses all types of feeds to create a "superfeed" that is customized by you. You can add RSS, all of your social media sites...lots of choices.

Part of the problem here is that twitter has never cared what their user base wants...unless we are Ashton Kutcher. We have never been important to them, and they have made that clear from the beginning. Every time they change things, they announce, and that's it. Take it, and like it.

Facebook changed their user agreements based upon feedback. Entrecard changed their policies based upon what their users said. But twitter has remained unresponsive. I suspect this isn't about "convenience" for users, as much as scaling a terrible and shaky foundation. Twitter has always maintained it is not a messaging platform. And it was never created to be. And yet... that's exactly what it is. See: ...the open-source system that actually gets it right from the ground up.

Rather than punish users, the very users who have made twitter a household name, that gets them recognized on CNN and has Oprah following, they need to turn towards the myriad of build problems, the fail whales and the missteps, rather than remove features that users are actually well...using.

And, they need to listen to their users. Or their users just might not be there when push comes to shove.

Agree with me? GET SATISFACTION and tell Twitter exactly how you feel about this new change.

ETA: there is a work-around. start tweets without the @, so it becomes a mention rather than a reply. Then everyone will see it. As in, "Hey @namegoes here,..." But it's annoying, and the point is, we shouldn't have to do that. Also, it breaks threading on messages (so you can actually go back and figure out what someone was talking about!) and doesn't allow for RT through the web interface. We had the option, now we don't. And that's limiting. How many will not change their tweets as they post, and how many conversations will we miss out on because of it?

UPDATE: Twitter listened, and brought back @replies, sort of. But ony if EVERYONE doesn't start with either the replies arrow or tab, or doesn't start with the @... still not there yet, twitter, but we can see you are trying. Kind of.

T, who is beyond frustrated by their idiocy

Twitter Blog: Whoa, Feedback!
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4 sent chocolate:

Adam Ness said...

I have to say, I don't think that this is a bad change at all. Most of the people that my friends were @replying to, I had no interest in following. I occasionally browse through my friends follow and follower lists to see if there's anyone I'm interested in following, and #followfriday helps spread people, but in general, I don't want to see half of random conversations with people I don't know.

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T, blog owner said...

thing is, you had a choice before. You could toggle that setting and not show it. Now,I have no choice. And I have to work around by putting the @replies in the middle of my tweet. Which means you will now see what you could have opted out of. So that my stream sees the tweet, those who wanted to. With one artbitrary decision, Twitter has made both groups, opt-in and opt-out, unhappy.

Adam Ness said...

Odd, I never saw it in my settings. I don't remember ever having the choice before. Where was it?

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Tony Letts said...

Nothing like a good rant - this was a good rant!

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