If you're on Twitter, you've likely experienced the eye-bleeding mess of its new @ reply design. If not, a quick recap: the redesign removes handles from a tweet's character length, allowing users to add up to 50 handles in a thread. It's onerous to untag people from threads, where back in ye' ol' days of March 2017 and earlier you could simply delete a handle from a tweet if you didn't want to include that person in the conversation.
Now, there's no "Select All" or "Untag All" button, which would have been intuitive. But Twitter's not about that.
For some reason, Twitter built a product that's as cumbersome and counter-intuitive as anything it's rolled out. And I'm not the only one hating on this redesign. Twitter users are pissed, and this tweet sums it up:
Motherboard's Sarah Jeong also expressed the frustration that we all felt this week: "Did anyone ask for this? Did anyone respond well to this in testing? What are their names and where do they live?"
Twitter shouldn't be head-in-the-sanding this weekend. They shouldn't ignore the feedback. What I'd like to see is a social media giant responding to overwhelmingly critical feedback to a new feature and making a smart decision to reverse course. Maybe it'll upset investors to look weak; but to me, undoing the damage is a savvy move for a company that should listen to its rabid audience closely. Without active users, Twitter is just spambots and dormant egg avatars.
Twitter had a chance to change its strategy during beta testing. TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino wrote about this terrible feature in an October 2016 post, dubbing it a mess and pointing out how the replies tweak is actually hurting Twitter's mission to combat abuse:
Twitter, which has an enormous amount of problems with abusive tweets and trolling, has decided that it is a good idea to make it harder to see if someone who has been trolling you is in a reply chain before you respond to a tweet. Just as in regular conversation, you should be able to be fully aware of who it is you’re choosing to speak to before you do so — not as some sort of surprise jack-in-the-box of sadness and misery.
What's wrong than releasing a terrible new feature? Not doing about it when your customers overwhelmingly despite it. Twitter has a chance to sway its users back to their side, and it's time for Jack and company to embrace a flexibility rarely seen in the tech world.
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