#fixreplies: I’m placated

Three Percent and Dead Bird

As you may or may not have seen, Twitter’s had a rough go of it from its users (including me) over the past couple days as a result of how they’ve handled the backlash from their “small settings change” which removed the option to handle reply filtering. The rough go’s well-deserved, too, as Biz Stone on the Twitter blog cycled through explanations — a no-no! — first calling the reply filtering option confusing and then attributing the sudden removal of the feature to a technical limitation. Then, Biz blogged a change to replies that potentially made the feature even more confusing. I’m not going to get into those gory details; Marshall Kirkpatrick has a good writeup of the changes at ReadWriteWeb (disclosure: I do design work for RWW part-time [including the graphic in the Twitter post]). Finally, Biz set the record straight, acknowledging the communication failures of the preceding day, explaining that the removal of the feature was both a decision relating to user experience as well as technical and scalability issues (the technical issues apparently demanded a sudden removal of the feature) and a clear plan on how to restore similar functionality.

I’m cool with this explanation. What befuddles me is why Biz didn’t acknowledge it was a technical problem in the first place — I suspect this would have been taken far better if he’d done that first. What’s done is done, and I’m eager to see if they can build out a scalable feature which helps meet the needs of the 3% who strayed from the defaults. (The 3% revelation prompted a little fun from Robert Scoble on FriendFeed; thus, the image above, which you can get on a t-shirt if you want.)

Again, though, I’m feeling a bit better about things now. I miss the increased firehose of my timeline, but at the same time, I’m growing a bit used to not seeing all the replies, and that feeling like I’m missing something is waning a bit. You know what else? It’s nice to know that everybody has uniform settings now. I actually feel better about sending replies to users in public than I did before, because I have a tendency to reply in public a lot and thus would come across as noisy to those who were early adopters or had set the settings to full-blast. Now, I don’t have to worry about that. If someone really wants the noise, @s and all, there’s my FriendFeed, which is honestly better for conversations anyway.


#amazonfail demonstrated the new rules of crisis communication

Almost three years ago (it’s been that long?), I went to a seminar on crisis communication put on by College of Charleston’s Communication Advisory Council. During the seminar, we broke into groups and acted like we were PR for Firestone, charged with cleaning up the mess brought about by the tire blowouts that caused several high-profile Explorer accidents some years ago. The key takeaway? Present a united front, and get it right the first time.

Now, keep in mind that all this happened in the age before social media came about. While the fundamentals we learned that day are the same, Amazon’s current #amazonfail plight is demonstrating that the rules of crisis communication have changed.

As Per Whatever Observations

On dancing, and other random musings…

I came to a realization pretty much out of nowhere tonight: I need to learn how to dance. I’m really starting to come to the conclusion that this skill could be incredibly useful. Currently my only reactions to music are bobbing my head and, in the case of certain techno songs, moving my hand up and down slightly in reaction to the beat. Some songs, such as “Embrace” from Ryan Farish’s Selected Works package, feature a subtle record-scratching phenomenon that I attempt to replicate as well. In other words, as I walk down Calhoun Street listening to my iPod, I’m sure I make plenty of people nervous. Learning to dance as a normal person — i.e. not appearing as if I’m suffering from a seizure — could be useful in further advancing my social life.

Tonight I’ll be attending a seminar concerning crisis communication. I’ll be very curious to see if the Internet is mentioned at this seminar, because as we saw a month ago with the impending landfall of Tropical Breeze Ernesto, the blogs came alive and often outperformed the “traditional” media outlets (television in particular) on delivering the facts in a short period of time. If the Internet doesn’t enter the conversation — which, honestly, I’d be surprised if it were left out — I will make sure to bring it up.

On an extremely nerdy note, The Weather Channel playlist this month is one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve heard two selections from the new Ryan Farish album Everlasting, including “Together We Will Conquer” and “Young At Heart.” Plus, it appears “Last Train Home” by the Pat Metheny Group is in the list this month, which is awesome. I have yet to hear it in the Local Forecast but that song is one of my favorite jazz compositions.

I hope everyone enjoys their Thursday — one more day until Friday…