I'm not going to spend too much time describing the problem ... Kevin Pang has done so admirably here, however I do want to mention this "small" change as it directly affects a new site I am building right now to work over Twitter.
Twitter's latest blog post titled Small Settings Update states the following:
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 essentially means is that the "viral" nature of Twitter has been largely disabled. No longer will you see interesting replies from people you follow to complete strangers and think "maybe that guy is worth following too, I'll check him out". If the person is only mentioned, then you will still see the message, bbut I would lay a large bet this is only a very small percentage of the Replies.
I have no idea if Twitter did this to save bandwidth, or for some other more obscure reason, but ultimately it will hurt Twitter by slowing growth, as growth is largely by "discovering" people from replies. I'm sure "new" applciations will appear to try and plug this gap, but it is so deep in the Twitter API that it cannot be countered easily by other tools.
From my own perspective, it seriously damages the growth potential of my new Twitter based site, so will leave us with other less palatable options like spamming people or creating follow bots to try and get people interested - neither of which is desirable or in my ethos.
Dear Twitter, change it back please while it's not too late!
Dear Twitter users, please express your feelings via #fixreplies ... and remember you can follow my mini-rants @JakCharlton if this one wasn't enough for you!
05-13-2009 7:48 AM