I’m furious. Absolutely astounded and ready to scream. Why? Because Twitter just announced a drastic change to their service that will forever affect how people interact with the stream. They have effectively removed all discoverability of new people to follow and connect with, thereby destroying the very element that made Twitter the powerful networking tool it has been for so many hundreds of thousands of people, myself included.
So what happened? Well today Twitter announced that due to some “confusions” they decided to completely the remove the @ reply settings and instead stick you with the very limiting default without any option to change it.
Previously Twitter settings looked like this:
By default for all users, the Replies setting was set to “Show me @ replies to the people I’m following,” meaning that any tweet prefaced with the username of someone you weren’t following would not appear in your stream. Some prefer this setting as a means to reduce the number of tweets in their stream, allowing them to only follow the conversations for which they follow both people involved. Makes sense that it’s an option, but it was never the one I had enabled.
Instead, when I first became a Twitter user almost a year and a half ago, I had selected the “Show all @ replies” setting, allowing me to discover new people whom the people I follow interact with. This is specifically how I’ve been able to grow my network to such an extent over a relatively short period of time. By learning who influences my influencers, I’ve been able to seek out more people who can have an influence on me — make new connections, learn things I might never have learned, discover crossover relationships I was never aware of.
The new design:
Now Twitter has decided to completely remove the @ replies setting and permanently filter out from the stream any @ replies to people you don’t follow. I think it’s asinine, and so do a lot of people I follow. Interestingly, you’ll also see that people are unaware of the change because they always had the default setting selected. Perhaps what Twitter really needed to do was to better educate users on the settings, NOT remove them entirely.
No, Twitter, this was NOT a “small” settings update. This was a major failure to understand a deep, longstanding value of your service. Start paying attention.
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