North Wind And Sun

Twitter nearly gimps itself, calls change “small settings update”

Posted in Uncategorized by Ricardo Bilton on 13-May-2009

From ze Twitter blog:

We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option.

Twitter has over twenty million users, which is more users than Netherlands has people. You know how many of of those 23 million people I follow? 211  – and that includes a few joke accounts like Professor Oak and accidents like Eminem.

So it’s a bit astonishing to me to find that to see that Twitter is actually trying to make it harder to see what all of those million and millions of people are up to. Instead, the Biz crew wants me to follow Oprah and Ashton Kutcher.

Here’s the honest to goodness truth, Biz – I don’t care with Oprah as to tweet about. I never cared for what she had to talk about. Why would I go out of my way to see how her life is faring? I’m sure is faring perfectly well.

But I do like following people I haven’t heard of. That’s one of the greatest things about Twitter – discovering people I never knew existed. That’s why this recent settings change irks me. Tweaking the nature of the @ reply might make it easier for Oprah to read the Tweets of the eleven people she follows, but it makes it far harder for many other users to see how the people whom they follow are talking to.

Thankfully, the Twitter folks added this:

Despite this update, you’ll still see mentions or references linking to people you don’t follow. For example, you’ll continue to see, “Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff” even if you don’t follow @biz.

The Twitterverse might have jumped the gun slightly on this one, as that addendum severely weakens the severity of the tweak. At least Twitter isn’t completely obliterating the existence of people you don’t know. Still, as with all things, it’s better to be given the option to have the @ reply system kept intact. It’s obvious that the people complaining the most are the people who care the most about keeping the sytem intact. Why not give those people the option to opt-in? How much does that really change for the rest of the userbase?

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