Twitter Changes Its Policy, Then Changes it Back. Maybe.
First they changed it.
And everyone freaked out.
Then they changed it back.
And everyone rejoiced.
Now it looks like they reversed the change for some things, but left the original changes in place for other things.
And everyone was confused.
I'm talking about Twitter, of course, which recently modified the way people view messages, or tweets, sent across the service.
used to be the case that if you were following someone on Twitter, you
could see their replies to people who you weren't following.
Strangers, in other words.
Twitter users thought it was a great way to "meet" people and interact across the network.
thought otherwise, apparently, and made it so you could only see
people's messages to people who were on your follow list.
After an uproar from the Twittersphere, Twitter altered the new policy somewhat.
(For those of you unfamiliar with Twitter, bear with me.)
the half-reversal, any tweet by someone you are following beginning
with the @username format that Twitterers use to indicate that a post
is directed at a particular user will be visible to anyone who is
following the poster's account. Posts initiated by someone you are
following by hitting the "reply" button to a stranger's post will not
Confusing? Yes. Pointless? Maybe.
real value is rapidly becoming its ability to chart trends in the
content of the posts. Observers can pick up on what issues are hot at
the moment and act on that information however they see fit. The
visibility of certain posts to other users takes a back seat when you
look at it like that, as long as people keep tweeting.
therein lies the rub: if Twitter's not careful, it could ruin the
feature of the service that makes it both contagious and addictive -
the interaction between users. This could lead to a further rise in
"Twitter quitters," and cause a drop in the number of tweets. This, in
turn, could make the information traveling over the service less
valuable to pundits, reporters and marketers. Which could spoil one of
the only real chances Twitter has to make any money.
Of course, they may just be holding out to sell the visibility feature to premium subscribers down the road.
Imagine that: Twitter with a business model. That would be the real change.