Twitter, the very popular micro-messaging service, made an error that has been complained about in social media circles very heavily.’a0 As announced on their blog, Twitter altered the way they handle @replies.’a0 For those unaware, @replies are a mechanism for targeting a message at a person in a semi-public manner.
Don’t Piss Off Your User Base
What are @replies all about?’a0 These messages allow you to see what others are saying about you, even if said Twitter isn’t a current follower of your tweets.’a0 In their change, Twitter took away the inherent value @replies provided.
As Twitter got started, the community used @replies as a way to direct messages at specific users.’a0 The popularity and use of @replies grew rapidly, and Twitter embraced the concept and rolled the idea into a supported service.’a0 So, by supporting the community spawned-feature, Twitter embraced their community.
However, fast forward to recent days and the ‘small settings update’, and Twitter has turned their back on the very community that helped build the popularity that carried Twitter to new heights.
The Community Responds
Since the change occurred, Twitter users have revolted.’a0 A quick search on Twitter shows the #fixreplies tag and the associated dissenting messages against Twitter’s move.’a0 Also, today Twitter posted a follow-up message on their blog and took a step backwards as a result of the community’s response.
Lesson Learned, Yet Not Quite Good Enough
However, the latest post and responsive move from Twitter is an olive branch that has not been warmly received.
What’s the lesson here?’a0 If a company provides a service and it is considering making a change that will significantly alter the user experience of your community, engage them first and ask their opinion. ‘a0 Especially with a conversational tool such as Twitter, where the community will then use the service to complain about the service.