Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dear Twitter, we are your community, please talk to us

Dear Twitter,

First, it is not a small change to remove @reply setting which is the life blood of twitter, accessing real people in real time.

@Reply is part of the real person connection which facebook or any other social network does not have.

We use @reply not just to do a quick IM with people we know but the discovery you mentioned in your blog.

We actually recommend new friends subtly to our existing friends by having an @reply conversation with them.
It helps discovery in two ways:

1. We get curious about the stranger in the @reply because of the credibility or conversation topic going on.

One example is I saw a friend inquire @PanerabreadCo and tracked back to find the friends' friend had found a screw in her coffee cup at a Panera Bread. It made me chat with that new friend to find out which location and engage in a conversation.

2. The content of the topic sometimes leads to discovery.

I would compare this to going into a crowded party and discovering our friend chatting with a friend not-yet known to us and getting interested in knowing the new friend from the fragment of their conversation.

Twitter works because it brings our real selves and lets us be.

@stephendann nicely puts it. "A half conversation is just a friend you haven’t yet"

I hope there is some new finding from our usage pattern that drove twitter to make this drastic change. I am curious to learn what it is.

I have two requests for you:

1. I request you to make @reply to a friend's friend or strangers an advanced option instead of turning it off.
2. Please hire a marketing communications person to help plan your customer and developer communications so you engage with us and tell us what you plan to do and why and continue to do what is in your best interest to grow, scale and keep twitter alive.

That way your community will guide you with real data beyond just the reports you see of our usage pattern because numbers can be interpreted in many different ways and we as your community will engage and find ways to help you grow in our mutual interest.

If (I am speculating here), this change is driven by the newbies who came to twitter from @Oprah, we can help them get comfortable with twitter and come up to speed by coming together with a wiki or some way to build an education tweet channel for them. I am sure twitterville will have many more ideas for all your concerns. All you have to do is ask!

To continued conversations!


hottopicspoll said...

Twitter hides replies to people you don't follow! Agree or Disagree with new terms? http://HotTopicsPoll.com/fixreplies

Sudha (Su) Jamthe said...

@hottopicspoll I think poll is a good idea, I just wish you would say upfront that this is a sweekstake and let us know what you plan t do with our emails/addresses.

Product Person said...

Well it now appears that yesterday's user experience issue is today's scalability issue.

See Twitter's flip-flop response to all the #twitterfail email:

Scott James said...

Right on, Sudha. I agree with both of your reasons and thanks for putting such a clear statement forth on this issue. -@ecoscott

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