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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