social success : perspectives on Matt Dickman's ppt
we are the people in your neighborhood

twitter changes the rules : practical implications

At 2:53 PM, Twitter announced the following,

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.

The implications of this change to the core user dynamic within Twitter are many.  While I'm not sure that I have yet discovered all of the implications, here are a handful that come to mind.

Negative Implications

  1. The Death of Aspiration Tweeting - aspirational tweeters @message or @reply people they aspire to interact with, like @Oprah . 
  2. The Casual Conversational with a Stranger - there are many people we may enjoy speaking to around certain issues, like a conference, a #hashtag (like #blogchat) or an event like a presidential address, but wouldn't want to otherwise follow them.
  3. The Boys Club - once upon a time, when you were new to twitter and wanted to introduce yourself, you participated in a conversation and people followed you back.  This redesign severely restricts the visibility of newcomers who aren't yet networked.

Practical Implications

  1. New Follower Emails - now you have to read them, or you'll never know who would like to engage with you.
  2. Selective Following is Challenged - you now must follow everyone who you would like to speak with.  This may well be the end of celebrity tweeting, and even micro-celebrity tweeting, as there is no reason for people to follow personalities that don't follow them in kind (other than to observe).
  3. Bye Bye Broadcasting - unless you have non-twitter celebrity status, you won't gain a following by broadcasting your life. Discovery is now contingent on meaningful conversational engagement.

Community Implications

  1. More emphasis on the conversation
  2. Strong drive engage with those you know Vs those you aspire to know
  3. The concentric circles of conversation will get smaller. 
  4. Retweeting (RT) and #followfriday will become increasingly important as a mechanism for social discovery (kudos to @jeffpulver for sharing)

What Will Happen

  1. People will complain - nobody likes forced change
  2. If Twitter sticks to it, people will adapt their behavior.
  3. Many website users will migrate to desktop applications that continue deliver familiar functionality.
  4. The mainstream press will call this "The Death of Twitter"
  5. OR - Twitter will cave to community pressure and revert back to the old dynamic