Remember Twitter, that super simple service for sending messages? Well, last night they instituted a change that should have made it more streamlined, but users revolted because it’s never a good idea to take away features. So today, Twitter relented and gave users the feature back. Only they did so in a way that is hilariously convoluted.
Previously, if you wanted to see another user’s @replies even if they were talking to someone you weren’t following, you had to select that option in the settings. Some people had, and enjoyed it. But the default setting for that was off, so Twitter simply removed the option to turn it on. But some users loved it so Twitter is now turning it back on — kind of. Apparently, soon you will be able to see these @replies again but only when a person is using them when not clicking the “reply” button.
So basically, you can see when someone is replying to someone else but only when they’re not really replying to them. Yeah, this is going to confuse the hell out of people. Remember “Keep It Simple, Stupid“? Yeah, this is the opposite.
I consider myself a pretty savvy Twitter user and I had to read it twice to understand just what the hell Twitter meant. I also just had a hilarious conversation with fellow writer Jason Kincaid, where we debated just what exactly Twitter meant. The fact that we had to have that conversation is not a good sign.
Twitter also claims to have second fix in mind, that will involve giving users more control over what exactly they see from which users. This is getting really complicated, quick. It sounds like the convoluted settings mess Facebook has become.
This whole situation has turned into an absolute disaster. Twitter claimed it was just removing a feature that relatively few people used, but if it really believed that, it should have stuck with it. Instead, it admitted that the move was done to help with scaling issues.
“We learned a lot,” is the title of Twitter’s post. That’s really code for, “a lot of people bitched, and so we’re half going back to the old way.” Don’t go half. Either do it or don’t do it. You may have been taught a lesson by your users, but you’re not heeding the lessons of other services in the past that have over-complicated things.