Dear Twitter. Can I have the half conversations back please?

By | May 13, 2009

Dear Twitter.

Please make the most recent change to the @reply function an option.  A big part of the core value of Twitter’s @ conversation streams was seeing half conversations between interesting people (who you knew) and interesting new people who you could get to know.

Only seeing the people I already follow talk to the people I already follow is building a walled garden around my account.  That’s not why I’ve got an account at Twitter – if I want closed conversations, I’ll use the Instant messenger over at Facebook.

Please let this new “feature’ become an opt-in (or opt-out) function. You’re killing the conversational crowd here.


(A half conversation is just a friend you haven’t @ yet)

(Conversions. conservations, conversations)

16 thoughts on “Dear Twitter. Can I have the half conversations back please?

  1. Ike

    Well put.

    I’ve tried getting some momentum behind a hashtag of #fixit to get their attention.

    1. Stephen Dann Post author

      The hashtag’s sitting pretty atop the trending charts. I wonder if they’re going to revise the “Small change” statement before they fix the problem?

  2. Shari

    @stephendann You took the words right out of my mouth. Killing the conversational crowd….I couldn’t agree more. I WANT to see the half conversations. That’s how I find interesting people to follow. I don’t want it taken away.

  3. Lesley Dewar

    No #followfriday? How can my friends tell me about people they would like me to visit? How can my friends introduce me to new people they think are interesting to me?

    This is a crazy change – because one of the key benefits of Twitter is being able to click on the avatar of interesting looking people, follow them and then ‘reply’ to one of their own original tweets with a polite note that you are following them now and comment about their Tweets. If they choose not to follow back – that’s fine – but this is cutting off one of the best ways to look at people you might want to follow and letting them know it. Isn’t Twitter all about expanding our networks and growing our circle of friends.

    You cannot DM until they follow back – how are they supposed to know that you like them? We are trying to make Twitter more personal and less automated – but this is certainly not going to help.

    If this change relates ONLY to “butting in” on a conversation already going on between two friends – maybe it will prove to just good manners. But if it means that we cannot “reply” to anyone we are not already following, I can see a lot of “follow / unfollows” coming up.

  4. NurseFAB

    Whether or not I see half or a whole part of a conversation should be my choice!!!!! I want my option back!

  5. Courtney Dax

    I wholeheartedly agree with what Stephen says. Bring it back!!!

  6. Dee Tenorio

    I have to agree with you, Stephen. Twitter would become completely pointless without half-convos and I’d hang up my tweets, sad but off to other pastures.

  7. Edna

    Agreed! However, in the title you misspelled conversations as “conservations” =)

  8. ladymeag

    This *was* an option before – people had the choice to pick which way they received at replies. The only thing Twitter has done is remove an option that many of us used and liked. On the Twitter Blog, Biz Stone calls it an “undesirable” and “confusing” feature. I wonder who they consulted to come up with that! Everyone I know has an idea how to change their settings and if they had all @replies enabled, they enjoyed that functionality, myself included.

    1. Stephen Dann Post author

      That’s one of the problems I had with the statement of “We looked at how people were using the service and removed this feature”. Default it to off if they must, but let it be there for the people who wanted to use it, and were using it.

      1. ladymeag

        That’s the thing – it was the default. Twitter had it as a default setting and then claimed that “not many people were using it” (they say 2% or less) and took away the option. If something is a default setting, many of your users are not going to change it. However, the ones that do change it are going to be your power-users. Those people know how to use the service and have picked the way to use the service that works best for them.

        They will also be the most vocal about liking or disliking your service. These are the people that are the “tipping point” for your service – they will invite new friends and push those people to use the service (I’ve been known to pressure regular mass-texters or joke-texters to join Twitter if they want to keep sending me stuff like that) or be very vocal about how you used to have a great service but they don’t see the value anymore.

  9. Riff

    I believe the users who found it confusing were probably the masses of people who signed up to follow what some celebrity was saying. I’m sure it makes sense to the Twitter folks, who would rather not constant complaints/requests from the masses about it. This doesn’t explain why it’s not an opt-in feature, though. Those of us who have a clue can quite easily change settings to suit our preferences.

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