It's not exactly a silent spring, but a recent change made to Twitter's settings has already greatly reduced the tweets its users are witness to. In what the company called a small settings update, users no longer see public replies sent by friends to people they themselves are not following. (Fragmented conversations, they are called.) This isn't a small change at all, it's big and it's bad. The new setting eliminates serendipitous social discovery.
The new policy isn't something you have to opt-in to. It's not something you can opt-out of. It's true for people who use 3rd party Twitter clients to read their Tweets. It's more fundamentally closed than Facebook is; on that site people may not be able to view the profiles of strangers talking to my friends, but I can see that the conversations are happening and I can read the comments. This new Twitter policy breaks one of the fundamental rules of social activity streams: that people can discover new people by seeing who is conversing with the people I already know.
Twitter Puts a Muzzle on Your Friends: Goodbye People I Never Knew
I am big fan, love the site... the "serendipitous social discovery", the chaos of the mass Tweeting, the power of the masses... good stuff.
But a recent change to your settings where users no longer see public replies sent by friends to people they themselves are not following... not good. I am sure you get many complaints from folks that don't get Twitter about the chaos of Tweets, the sheer volume of them, but those of us who do understand the site and its power... this new move just doesn't work... it undermines the whole Twitter culture.
I hope you will reconsider, thanks for all you do, and welcome to the world of Web 2.0 activism!
Heather Mansfield started this petition with a single signature, and now has 55 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.