Twitter disclosed today a decline in monthly active users. Now the company knows it’s got to do better. One way it will do that is to adjust the way that users reply to each other’s tweets.
“We are going to fix the broken windows and confusing parts, like the .@name syntax and @reply rules, that we know inhibit usage and drive people away,” Twitter said in its quarterly earnings statement for the fourth quarter of 2015.
The company has done a lot to tweak its product — the algorithmic timeline and Moments are probably the biggest recent changes — but one thing that Twitter users have done to make sure their replies get seen by a wider audience is using a period before typing in a Twitter user’s handle. Otherwise, replies can get buried. This will change.
The “.” thing isn’t necessarily obvious for new users. It’s the type of thing power users know and have begrudgingly embraced as a kludgy workaround. Perhaps this will rub power users the right way. And that will be a good thing considering how many of them have been reacting negatively to the news about algorithmically selected tweets being surfaced in people’s timelines as an opt-in feature.
Update April 26: Twitter still hasn’t fixed that thing. It’s reporting its first-quarter 2016 earnings today.