Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Twitter: Small Up-Settings Update? (Updated!)

In a blog post a short time ago on the Twitter Blog, Biz Stone noted a new 'Small Settings Update'.

Jesse Stay, who at times, been a critic of the rapidly-rocketing microblogging service, was quick to launch a blog post saying that 'Twitter has essentially killed #followfriday (a popular hashtag used by people to promote friends and other users to their own 'followers').

Others took Twitter's blog post the way I did. It's extremely vague and needs to be clarified.

While I don't agree entirely the post by Louis Gray that Jesse points to, I certainly understand why he feels the way he does. As a principle in SocialToo (which uses the Twitter API), any sudden change could effect the way his product works.

Many others have expressed these concerns from the new world of 'Twitter Consultants' to some in the very large (and growing) community of Twitter API users.

While Twitter should provide a little notice of significant changes, it's important to recognize ....

1) Twitter is privately held and should be able to make any changes they deem important or necessary at any time within their published terms of service. A little notice would be nice but if 'Twitter wants the service to be used in a certain way', that is certainly their call.

Ultimately, it's their decisions that will determine the future of the product.

2) NUMEROUS new products have been introduced into to the marketplace recently to 'game' Twitter. Some automatically post hidden advertising links. Some even create completely unattended Twitter streams for the sole purpose of gathering followers for future use or link profit.

Twitter needs to protect the integrity of what they're trying to do, especially now that it's been embraced by the mainstream media and continues to be. The buzz continues to be HUGE.

For me, the 2000 limit is a much more serious issue. Not personally, but because it prevents legitimate users from getting what they want from the service. Is 2000 enough to follow every Tech or SEO post?

Did Twitter really kill #followfriday? The stream that Jesse Stay on Friendfeed can be found on here. Chime in.

As for me ... I'm waiting for some clarification from Twitter as to what this is ... and why.

Update: May 13, 2009 12:50 ET - Wandering around the blogosphere for a little while, apparently this Twitter change is causing a little outrage.  One example is Leslie Poston's feed here.

Update 2:  I guess it was inevitable.  The backlash can now be followed on Twitter at hashtag #fixreplies .... and it's growing at this hour!

Update 3: 5/13/09 PM  The Twitter blog now reflects a clarification and 'plan', as posted by co-founder Biz Stone here.