Did Twitter Just Kill #followfriday?

TwitterYes, I believe Twitter has just become even less useful. In a very vague statement today that I guess Twitter doesn’t expect us to understand, Twitter removed, without warning or feedback from users it would seem, any and all Tweets in your stream that include @replies to people you are not following. Previously this was an option you could turn on or off, but Biz Stone, founder of Twitter, says in this “small settings update” that “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.”

It would appear that Twitter again seems to think Twitter should be used in one way.

What it would appear just happened is in a single blog post, Twitter has killed the weekly phenomena, #followfriday. The tradition was to refer people your followers may not know, but you recommend following. With the removal of this feature, if I’m understanding correctly (please correct me if I’m wrong), you will no longer see #followfriday posts with names of users you don’t follow, rendering #followfriday completely useless.

Confused? Based on the last sentence of their post, it seems that Twitter doesn’t care.

UPDATE: Twitter has removed the last sentence that said “Confused? That’s understandable and exactly why we made the update.” and instead replaced it with the following clarification:

The Importance of Discovery

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.

UPDATE 2: It would appear you still can’t see the above Tweet if it starts with @biz and you don’t follow @biz, removing many valuable discoverable Tweets from your stream.

140 thoughts on “Did Twitter Just Kill #followfriday?

  1. #FollowFriday aside (indeed it's pretty easy to change the format) __If I follow someone… then I'd like to see everything they tweet. That includes their @replies to those I don't follow. I think twitter made a big mistake and it does seem they don't really care what we have to say about it.____

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  2. Having been on Twitter actively only a month, and asking repeatedly, I had still not gotten an answer as to exactly why the hastag was used on #FollowFriday. This week I planned to just sent out less people per message and tell a little more, like “here are three doctors I like” and give “@docs” three times, or “here r three mystery writers that are also good Twitters.” Why was it ever necessary to use the hashtag and FollowFriday? Obviously I do not, in other words, understand hashtags but you apply it to an important function.

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  3. Gotta say I agree with Sam. I've never seen a #FollowFriday post beginning with an @name.

    Ditto for retweets. Starting it with an @name would automatically prevent others who aren't following the @name from seeing it. Kind of ruins the purpose of suggesting people to follow or RTs.

    Also, didn't Twitter just make the default behavior the only behavior? The option WAS confusing. I don't see how taking away the option destroys #FollowFriday if it we still have the default behavior.

    You can try starting a fire, but there's no fuel to sustain it.

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  4. @Jesse, thanks for alerting us. I wish twitter will read all the blog posts and comments and understand how we want to be part of the solution and engage with us when they want to make such drastic changes.

    @reply in all forms is the life blood of twitter, I hope they bring it back.

    Thanks @ECS Dave, good idea to post on getsatisfaction too, we all should do it.

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  5. The huge benefits from a tweet like:

    “@vinko Your blog is amazing.”

    From respected users like @leolaporte or @kevinrose will be almost completely lost with this new setting.

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  6. That tweet would get through fine based on my understanding. The only tweets that will be affected are the ones that *begin* with an @username (i.e. if someone that you follow sends me an @reply [assuming you don't follow me, which you don't] like this: “@mclaughj nice blog man!”, you won't see it. But if they say “Wow, @mclaughj has a nice blog.”, you'll still get it.

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  7. soooo…. I am not the smartest dude in the world, but this seems a bit silly, right? I like that it takes away the list of @replies for #followfriday, so maybe thats a good thing…

    Explain this to me? Would this tweet make it through: “I recommend @jesse because he is a fantastic developer, and @louisgray because he can handle twins. #followfriday”?

    If not, then twitter starting about a month ago by removing #followfriday from trending topics has specifically attempted to take something that their users enjoy (170k tweets last friday), and destroy it.

    Hmmm…. love a company that believes that things their users enjoy suck, and kill them.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong. It has happened. Once. (Thats my Johnny Dangerously reference)

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  8. I'm confused as to why this has to kill #followfriday. The vast majority of #followfriday tweets I have always seen, do not start with @username. Even those who do, all they have to do is then start it with something else. How about “#followfriday” or “hey I like @username b/c of X Y and Z”. Doesn't seem that big a deal.

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  9. I find the #followfriday thing to be very useful, perhaps because I'm a relatively small scale user. A recommendation from someone credible helps me identify good accounts to follow, and the handful of times I've been recommended have been flattering and gratifying, and have resulted in some great new connections.

    That said, I don't think it's a huge deal to start those posts with something besides the @.

    On the other hand, I'd always much rather have a choice. Why not let users decide? For those of us who scan and dip very comfortably, it can be valuable to keep the @replies in the flow.

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  10. I am new with using Twitter. I have only learned of the follow fridays last week. I found it to be wonderful as I found people to follow due to recommendations from people that have interesting tweets for me. I would hate to see this abolished.

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  11. I don't think this will affect #followfriday, as those are usually not sent as @ reply's but as simple updates with the @ names listed. However, I do wish they hadn't made this change, as it was a good way to find new and interesting people to follow.

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  12. I disagree that today's announcement from @biz will kill #followfriday. Under the Discovery Still Possible section he mentions that you'd still receive the example tweet even if you were following @biz.

    Forget the fact that #followfriday is annoying.

    I would rather have the choice to setup my account as I choose but I've had these settings in my account for months and it's been a much better experience. Sure, it requires a little adjustment but it's not as bad as it seems.

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  13. The problem with the suggested users list is that even it was just celebs (internet celebs) that they handpicked, so they weren't really giving new user any real value than idol worship, which really does make Diddy's “mass email” approach to Twitter even more valid.

    This drives down decent conversation precipitously, and gives newbs a myspace like impression of the service.

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  14. I hardly ever see a #FollowFriday tweet that starts with an @reply..and if they do, all users have to do is change the structure of your tweets. Start the tweet with #FollowFriday and you're good to go. Heck, even a space before the @Reply would trick Twitter into displaying your tweet, more than likely.

    Twitter hardly killed #FollowFriday. Tons of people use Twitter clients and therefore wouldn't see FollowFriday posts that start with @Replies….yet I'm sure plenty of them still do #FollowFriday posts themselves and see many others' FF posts.

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  15. That's how I do it, too. In fact, the ones I see are usually done that way (Creative folks – writers, artists, and the like). Most folks give a short reason to start, or they start it with the #followfriday hashtag. I almost never see @ signs at the beginning, unless it's folks just RTing recommendations of people they don't even know.

    But, as I will freely admit, this may only be among the creative types that I see. Great debate, though, and regardless of its final effect, it was still a ridiculous bit of over-engineering that didn't need to happen.

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  16. Seriously, when I started tweeting, I found most of the people that I ended up befriending and following because other friends were having conversations with them, then I added them.

    Taking this out of the hands of the user is a bad idea. 😦

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