Despite being the top public forum for online discussion, Twitter continues to add limitations on fully open conversations.
The social media giant’s latest move in this direction was recently unearthed by reverse engineer Jane Manchun Wong. Wong revealed that Twitter is testing an option which would allow Twitter users to further limit who can reply to their posts. While currently, users are presented with three options for their audience when posting a Tweet – (1) everyone can reply, (2) mentions can reply, or (3) people you follow can reply – the function now being tested would let users limit replies to followers only.
Insular conversation in the “public” forum?
Some are praising the move as helping users have more “focused” discussions with a close-knit community. Honestly, who are the people trying to have a focused discussion on Twitter? Isn’t the point to get everyone in the conversation, to get attention, regardless of whether the people know you or not? Last time we checked, Twitter was the go-to feud platform.
Twitter’s site is peppered with little isms like:
“Spark a global conversation.”
“See what’s happening.”
“See what people are talking about.”
A foolproof measure?
Regardless of one’s feelings about whether the feature is good or bad, there is also the matter of effectiveness: with the update, someone could always follow you temporarily just to reply to you. In the end, the feature may not deter any unwanted users from joining a restricted conversation besides a couple spam bots.