Twitter just made FriendFeed more valuable for me

In a rather strange and silent move, the Twitter honchos decided to tell you how to use Twitter. They’ve turned off the ability for you to see @replies to people you’re not following. So say for instance @shayera says something and I reply to her. Well, my handful of followers also following @shayera will see my response, but say @kspidel will not. Why? Because Twitter decided that was confusing for him.

Up until today, we had the option to see no @replies, only see @replies to yourself or see all @replies from your friends.  The guys at Twitter thinks that made you all addlepated and shit:

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.

Confused? That’s understandable and exactly why we made the update.

Now, it’s one thing to remove a serviice without announcing it. It’s yet another to pull a service without soliciting any feedback from users, but when you post a half-assed vague blog entry like that, it just makes you look like an asshole.

Luckily, for me FriendFeed does show the @replies of your friends. So I’ve been seeing @shayera’s replies to people I don’t know. This is good because not only do I get to meet new people via her interaction with them, I just may even start following them. What’s more, I may even add them as friends on FriendFeed and see even more @replies.

UPDATE from Twitter on this mess.

Spotting new folks in tweets is an interesting way to check out new profiles and find new people to follow. Despite this update, you’ll still see mentions or references linking to people you don’t follow. For example, you’ll continue to see, “Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff” even if you don’t follow @biz. We’ll be introducing better ways to discover and follow interesting accounts as we release more features in this space.

In other words, you will still now know how your friends interact with someone else. You’ll see their name in an entry, but if your friend is directly talking to that person, you will not see it. Call me crazy, but a lot of cues on how we interact with each other are based on how our friends perceive someone. If  I can’t see how my friend deals with a person how will I know if I want to follow them or not? It’s one thing to go to someone’s Twitter page and read their stream, but it’s an entirely different response to see how someone you trust interacts with that person.

Twitter would do best to put back our settings, forget about more useless features unless they’re giving us threading and groups and let allow us to modify our Twitter streams as we see fit.

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  • I totally agree with you! I have connected with some of the most interesting people on Twitter by looking at who my friends follow, but whom I don't know. They will ruin this yet. Sounds like I need to try FriendFeed.
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