[LINK] Tweeting @reply

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri May 15 01:22:03 AEST 2009

Twitter Replies Are Back, With a Catch

Ian Paul, May 15, 2009 12:04 am

Twitter has yielded to user outrage and reinstated its @reply feature. 

On Tuesday, Tweeps (Twitter people) around the world were angered when 
Twitter yanked the opt-in feature that allowed you to see Twitter replies 
that were sent from people you follow to people you don't. 

Now, it's back - but in a revised form.

Many said this feature gave Twitter a cocktail-party-feel, and was a way 
for users, including myself, to find other interesting people to follow. 

If you saw an intriguing post from someone you were following directed at 
a user you didn't know, you would find the message that caused the reply 
in the first place and see who the person you followed was talking to.

If you liked what the new person was saying, or thought they might be 
interesting, you'd follow them. 

Twitter's change to the @reply system made that type of conversation 
tracking impossible since it hid any @replies created by people you were 

Tweeprage was swift after Twitter's change and by 1 PM PST yesterday, the 
@replies feature was back, but with a catch. 

Here's how the new system works: imagine you're following Ashton Kutcher 
on Twitter, but you're not following his wife Demi Moore. If Ashton types 
in Demi's username to send her a message or a reply via Twitter you will 
see it; however, if Ashton hits the reply button to respond to Demi you 
won't see his message to her. 

Under the old system--which you had to opt into under the settings menu--
you would see every tweet coming from Ashton directed at Demi (excluding 
direct messages which are private).

When Twitter first yanked the reply feature, the information network said 
it did so because the feature was an "undesirable and confusing option." 

Many regular Tweeters voiced their outrage on Twitter using 
the "#fixreplies" hashtag to get the word out, prompting Twitter to 
rethink their decision. 

After reinstating the reply feature, Twitter further explained that it 
removed the one-sided replies because the feature didn't scale, and 
Twitter has grown rapidly in recent months. Twitter also said the replies 
feature was blunt, inconsistent, and confusing.

Despite Twitter's acquiescence, many users are still not happy with the 
replies reinstatement since it doesn't give users the old functionality 
they'd grown used to. 

But Twitter says it is working on a new feature that will give you "far 
more control" over the accounts you follow. Twitter says this will be 
a "per-user" setting. 

I'm not sure what that means, but is it just me or do I smell the faint 
waft of service charges heading towards the Twitt-o-sphere in the near 

Hot Tip: British actor and Twitter addict Stephen Fry says that putting 
a "-" or any other character right before an @reply will let all your 
followers see your one-sided replies.

Connect with Ian Paul on Twitter ( @ianpaul).



More information about the Link mailing list