So, the intertubes are awash today with people venting their spleens about Twitter’s decision to stop sending replies by people you do follow, but to people you don’t follow, to your main Twitter feed. Previously you had the option either way, and now some people are getting their panties in a bunch about it.
There are two things to say about this issue:
- Personally, I don’t want to see all the random replies to other people I don’t follow. I already deliberately only follow a small number of people, beacuse frankly I don’t have time to sift through a huge list of tweets every day. I have absolutely no idea how anyone copes with following more than about 10 people who tweet regularly, and still get something done in the day, nevermind seeing all the secondary replies. Am I just inefficient at processing large numbers of posts, or do I just have a staggeringly lower level of patience than the average Twitter user? The way I have things right now, I read every one of the posts from people I follow, because I consider them interesting, and that takes little time. I couldn’t do that if I was following 100 people and their replies to other contacts too, so I’d either have to lie (ie stick to etiquette and follow them, but then filter out most of what they say on the client), or just spend all day reading Twitter. So personally, this seems a sensible choice - you can always use the Twitter web if you really have nothing better to do but surf Twitter, or browse your friends ‘following’ list if you’re desperate to mine the system for new contacts.
- Twitter is free. If you paid nothing for a service, you are entitled to offer your constructive feedback which the providers may choose to listen to, but you are not entitled to have a major tantrum about it. As Matt Asay suggests, if you care about the service that much, then you should probably be paying for it - and God knows, Twitter needs a business model other than the typical Web 2.0 “Attract viewers ……. profit!” fantasy right now. On the whole, the Internet needs a slap to wake up its users from the bloated sense of entitlement they’ve developed over the years, fueled by a huge number of startups that delude people into thinking they can expect everything for nothing. 100% free models don’t work (yes, I know, I’m an open source advocate, but that doesn’t mean I believe that you can give everything away) - they are a complimentary aspect, or a stop-gap until you can develop a real model or pursuade some sucker to acquire you before the hype train grinds to a halt. Eventually, these cycles of pretending that you can get premium service for free will end, and everyone will have to face up to the reality that ‘freeloaders’ have a place (building momentum, awareness etc), but ultimately they’re at the bottom of the food chain. Plankton are vital to the oceanic ecosystem, but no-one asks them for their opinion. 😉