Twitter: We Love Our Partial Conversations [en]

[fr] Twitter cache maintenant les conversations partielles, ce que je trouve très dommage. C'était une porte ouverte pour découvrer des amis d'amis -- et en plus, l'implémentation actuelle nous prive d'une partie du vécu de nos amis, simplement parce qu'ils ne nous l'adressent pas.

I noticed this morning that Twitter is hiding messages addressed (using @username) to people one is not following. You can still see them by looking at a friend’s page, but they don’t appear on one’s home page anymore.

Example: on Faruk’s Twitter page, you can see many messages addressed to people I don’t follow, using the @username syntax.

Faruk's Twitter Stream

If I look at my homepage, now, only the messages which are not addressed to a recognized username I’m not following (follow me there?) are visible in my home page:

My Twitter "Friends" View

This twitter, for example, is invisible on my home page. I only get this unaddressed one.

This means that we do not see what is commonly called “partial conversations” — ie, conversations the people you are following are having with people that they are following but you are not. While some people will rejoice, because they found that annoying, I find that it’s a damn shame. And I’m not alone.

Why do I think it’s such a shame? Well, yes, twitter is mainly for keeping in touch with people you already know. But it’s also a really great place to get to know the friends of your friends — and partial conversations are the doorway to this. Partial conversations have drawn me to people I didn’t otherwise know on Twitter, because I’ve found them involved in conversations with a friend of mine, or even, a few friends of mine. Curiosity, went to check on them, ended up adding them.

With the current implementation, this would never have happened.

And even if you don’t think meeting knew people is interesting — there are many times when I have discovered that an existing friend of mine had finally got a Twitter account only because I caught a partial conversation between him and somebody else.

So, please, Twitter: give us back our partial conversations. Make it an option to hide them if some people really hate them. But don’t shut me out of what’s going on in my friends’ lives just because they happen to be addressing it to somebody I don’t (yet) know.

Update, July 25, 2007

Another reason why this is broken: I never saw this twitter, though it was addressed to me (too), because I don’t follow neilford.

Twitter / Faruk Ates: @neilford @stephtara thanks...

13 thoughts on “Twitter: We Love Our Partial Conversations [en]

  1. Have you thought about Jaiku? Maybe the answer is simple: move there with your friends, and link RSS feeds from your Twitter IDs. Jaiku is all about conversation. It’s getting lots of good writeups. Maybe its the better of both worlds.

  2. For a reason I haven’t yet quite clearly figured out, I much MUCH prefer Twitter to Jaiku. This isn’t about just trying to find a solution for myself (and honestly, “move there with your friends” — I doubt I’d have that kind of leverage, because then they’d have to move with their friends to be happy, etc — not a solution).

    This is about a service I love, and wanting it to be better.

  3. Yep!

    Twitter is more than a great way to keep in touch. Twitter is friendship but also networking. For example thanks to Twitter I discovered you and then I’ve noticed your nice!

    Interesting post Stephtara!


  4. agreed!! i sent this email to twitter HQ back in march… i guess their answer was “no.”

    just re-read and realize how funny it sounds to talk about scoble having nearly 1000 followers. oh how things have changed!

    anyhoo, i think we should start a campaign to get twitter to make it optional.

  5. done long ago! Twitter resolved this issue I can't remember when, but ages ago. This post was written in May 2007 — not exactly fresh anymore. 😉

  6. Four years later, I re-read this post, marvelling at the fact that I actually used the verb “to twitter” at the time, and “a twitter”. Now it’s all tweet, tweet, tweet.

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