Who’s talking to who @Twitter? @biz @marshallk @mrblog

May 13, 2009

in general

I’ve been following the Twitter policy changes today on @replies #fixreplies and I’m disappointed on a number of levels.

Developers weren’t consulted
– as far as I know. I created Phweet around the idea that helping propagate conversations throughout a network was a good thing. I wanted to make it easy to escalate to new and higher value voice conversations. That seeing who’s talking to who could create an excellent method for creating impromptu conference calls, and connecting people without the need to share more than what they already shared publicly in a TwitterID. This is even more interesting in a Business context and record keeping context. BTW…. I would be happy to be part of a free brains trust. I have a lot of my recent life invested in Twitter.

Marketing Failure:
For me this is a research and understanding failure. It was technically driven and there’s no voice internally that represents users. Twitter needs that voice internally. It’s a marketing and “insights” driven voice and I don’t think it is just about community building. Yet what we’ve seen is a failure of “values” internally. Twitter must refocus on the “social” and “conversational” values. These are the core and I suspect the metrics have started to look in the wrong place. The revolt by early adopters and “expert users” today serves to validate my point. I think there are better solutions.

KneeJerk Strategy: This can be a plus and a minus. Facebook has done it too. Although somehow Zuckerberg seems to get away with it while Twitter doesn’t and won’t. This goes ultimately to communications. Twitter is fragile, simple and needs to be simpler and easier to use. It has huge opportunities emerging via search and @identity.  Tweets aren’t really transparent. I personally believe how twitter helps conversations escalate with people that aren’t necessarily on your buddylist is central to it’s future. It’s the social conversation that matters. Add “location” to each tweetURL and this opportunity which can be driven a lot by search become more interesting. Yet if I can’t see the types of conversations that person has or holds or the language they use with their friends then it simply isn’t going to work so well….

This is the latest RWW post. Twitter Reverses Policy Change, For Now. This is Nuts But Here’s How It Works – ReadWriteWeb. I left this comment there.

Marshall, this doesn’t work effectively either. If I understand it there is nothing to stop an API developer from putting in an option in TweetDeck or another program to post @replies in the traditional way without hitting the reply key. That will annoy some users and not others. The control should always be with the receiver. That’s one of the key advantages of Twitter. In my view “all@replies” (my default) wasn’t well understood and yet we quickly learnt how to scan for connections and conversations that may be of value. 

Separately, you really want to do the settings person by person? Try using it even for SMS messages on @replies. Once you get into the 100’s even finding and managing becomes a problem. I can’t imagine trying to set it up to work one by one.

One element that would help discovery is to get feedback on conversations that friends are participating in. Eg #fixreplies Right now where those are @replies you would no longer see them. For the most part those #hashtags are more interesting to me than the #twittersearch one.

Lastly, having created Phweet http://phweet.com where part of the execution was the power of voice conversations that could propagate through the network and rapidly escalate to conference calls… Who’s talking to who goes out the window based on the way Twitter is developing their strategy. To my knowledge they never talked to developers.

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