Today, Twitter did the dumbest thing ever, and took away @Replies from people. Then finally, after the community uproar decided to retract their steps and bring it back.
As a marketing and social media guy specializing in music, I always keep a close eye to how these companies do things. I always think that these sites do this in order to test the community and create free PR. I even let my community know about it, and some agreed it was a possible occurrence.
So Twitter has fixed it by doing two things:
1.) Replies used from the arrow reply within the website will continue to be seen by everyone.
2.) Allowing a per-user choice of how replies and conversations are displayed to you. I wonder if this will battle Twirl, Tweetie, Tweetdeck, Ping.fm, Twitterific, TwitterFon and many other sites in hope to drive more traffic to Twitter’s website as opposed to third party clients.
I rememeber when Facebook redid their Terms of Service a few months ago basically claiming to own all of your content – Forever! As a result, the media picked up on it and the whole world went crazy – rightfully so. But look at what happens when people uproar: The community gets closer!
The reason why Creative Commons is such a viral tactic for companies, bands, and content producers is because it allows their content to be shared and as a result be seen by people that they would never have had access to through other means. The same goes with this Twitter mistake : when a company makes its’ community unhappy – people tell their Facebook friends, email people, retweet, youtube, etc. their thoughts. The fact that people on Twitter get upset gives us all something to talk about and connect with each other.
This is just my theory, but its a good one – because if Techcrunch no longer allowed comments on their blog, then their subscribers would let them know – but ultimately, it would create a stronger community, because after Techcrunch allowed comments again, then the community would feel a sense of satisfaction and closeness.
Anyway, I’m glad Twitter learned from their mistakes, and I’m glad social media brought us all together – because ultimately, that’s what it was for in the first place.