Why changing @replies at Twitter is FAIL

I’ve personally been on Twitter since February 2007. And not long thereafter, I saw the business implications for Twitter and started an official Twitter account for EBSQ as well in April of the same year. We didn’t use it terribly much at first, mostly just for sharing important site updates. But as Twitter became more and more mainstream, we’ve been using it to have conversations with customers in general. We also use it as a tech support tool. Some of these customers were following us when we first conversed. Some were not.  And this hasn’t been a problem…until now.

From the official 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.

What this means in practical terms:

If you’re trying to get our attention with a question or problem and we’re not yet following you, we’ll still be able to find it (eventually) using search tools, but our response time will be seriously lagging.

If we try to reply to your questions, comments, problems, etc, and you’re not following us, you’ll have no way of knowing unless this policy changes RFN.

This impacts every single business who uses Twitter for some aspect of customer service. It hurts artists who are using Twitter to bring new fans to their work. This change is detrimental to how people meet and interact with each other on a very basic level.

If you agree that this change is “undesirable” please let us know via comment to this post. We’ll make sure The Powers That Be hear you.

Respectfully yours,

-Amie Gillingham

co-founder, EBSQ

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3 thoughts on “Why changing @replies at Twitter is FAIL

  1. This is upsetting. In the past I have met new people through Twitter, who I was not following, because they replied to something I had shared. If they had not replied I probably never would had become acquainted with them. There are a lot of people on Twitter if anyone didn’t already know that. With the changes Twitter made this won’t be an option anymore. How disappointing. 😦

    What I don’t understand though is why Twitter thinks receiving “Tweets” from people you are not following “undesirable”? They must have gathered this information from somewhere. Maybe from those Twitter folks that don’t follow anyone but have thousands of followers? Hmm. . .

  2. I really hope they don’t make this change. I am just starting to use twitter more. I hope to really start my business this summer. I looked forward to using twitter as a tool to help me with meeting other artists and people who might be interested in my paintings. Who can we contact to let Twitter know we don’t want this change?

  3. I totally agree with you. It’s one of the dumbest decisions I’ve seen this year as far as business goes and will severely limit one of the best things about Twitter. And I thought Twitter was smarter than the others like FaceBook. I have found a lot of other people & businesses by following random @replies. In the very LEAST they should make this an opt-out option for the crybabies out there. [I’m still not convinced that enough people were complaining about it to compel them to make such a drastic change]. It simply lacks logic. Rebel!

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