As a part of their latest deployment Twitter has made a functionality change. Though the change is small it’s implications could be a lot. As per the latest change, the replies link on the right sidebar has been changed to mentions(@name of user i.e @mayankdhingra in my case).
In your Twitter sidebar you’ll now see your own @username tab. When you click that tab, you’ll see a list of all tweets referencing your account with the @username convention anywhere in the tweet—instead of only at the beginning which is how it used to work.
This essentially means now you can by the click of a link track whatever has been said about your account(not you) in the whole of twitterverse. Let’s see what this means for
It makes things easier for companies that have official accounts on Twitter. Now not only they get to see replies addressed to them but also all the tweets which mention their account, say @kwippy. This saves the effort of doing a search for @kwippy to find out what’s being said about their product/brand. If companies have easy access to what’s being said about them they can see the general sentiment and if needed try to improve it by taking necessary action.
While this change solves the problem to some extent, it’s falls a step short. As most mentions for brands/companies in true sense are with the company/product name for ex: kwippy and not their Twitter account names(@kwippy). So unless once can search for proper brand mentions(not just account mentions) in a click one will have to perform separate searches for them.
For individual users who use Twitter, this change is a mixed bag. Good for some and not so good for others. Moreover some who are liking the change now, might occasionally feel otherwise. Let’s see first what works for this change.
a) Account Mentions: Now not only will I get to know when I was replied to but also when people just mentioned by name. For example in this case czarphanguye can also see when he’s being talked about.
b) Addressing Multiple People: Ever since I realized that starting a tweet with @name will appear in only that person’s replies page, there have been numerous cases in which I had a hard time deciding whose name out of all the people that I want to address this tweet should be . For example thanking a bunch of people or expressing it was nice meeting them to a group of new people etc . But since account mentions are being shown in sidebar, this problem is no longer there and I can cc a lot of people in a tweet.
c) ReTweets: I occasionally do a Twitter search to find out if which of my tweets have been retweeted and by whom. Thanks to this change tracking account mentions, any retweet which mentions @mayankdhingra will now be just a click away.
While all this is good, there’s a bit more to this change, especially for individuals
a) Account Mentions: This change is not so good for a couple of reasons namely now irrespective of the fact whether I want to address a twitter user or not they can see if they have been mentioned. For ex: one might say though @user1 is a great guy, @user2 sucks big time. Those unaware of the change might continue to use the system they used to but changes like these can have some unpleasant outcomes.
b) Noise: While it might be fun for people who aren’t that popular yet but for those who are this change might mean polluting their @replies with @mentions, since popular people would be getting mentioned, retweeted a lot more, chances of them missing out on @replies addressed to them would be significant. For me a @reply is still more important than a @mention and it would be worthwhile to at least have a way to seperate/filter them. This is probably what Tim Oreilly would be seeing
If you are a Twitter user what do you feel about the change ?