twitter: no, thanks!

I’ve never been an “it is what it is” person. In fact, I can’t stand that phrase. I always felt that it was the difference between dissent and acceptance, even though it usually refers to something you can’t do anything about. Most recently I’ve seen this principle applied to twitter and the behavior of both the site and its users. It seemed that since twitter started, there have been the camps trying to–safely–hack the 140-character limit service in new and inventive ways, while others have wanted to stay true to its original uses. Twitter has, at times, listened to the will of the people and added a few new bells and whistles natively, many of which were being replicated by 3rd party applications.

Unfortunately, the more they do, often as a result of their growing popularity, the less happy some users become. The most recent example of this is their Who to follow feature on the homepage which smacks a little too strongly of Facebook‘s recommendations in that it finds twitter users that a few of the people you follow are also following* and suggests you do too. It’s resulted in the two camps of “If you don’t like it ignore it.” and “I HATE IT. Make it go away!”

If you really can’t stand it, there are a few solutions available. kitchenMage offers some methods in the post Removing Twitter’s Recommended User to Follow “Feature”

I decided there must be a way to kill the suckers. You know what? There is a reason they call me Application Goddess. Done in 12 minutes. Take that, twitter.

By all reports, the simplest thing to do is alter your custom stylesheet if your browser supports it, but if you already have an ad blocking plugin/extension, that works just as well.

If you wonder which camp I’m in, I’ll be turning them off. I already feel like I’m following too many people and that too many people are following me** but most of Twitter’s recommendations are people that I’m not following for a reason. I didn’t feel that I should have had to block them, but I still don’t want to see what they’re talking about.*** And it has the same feeling of Facebook which has suggested that I Like–among other things–Glenn Beck, The NRA, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and most recently, Chik-fil-A and NASCAR. Some of those because one or two of my friends liked them, but most because 50-100k or more Facebook users liked them.

So now on twitter, if a bunch of my friends are following someone I think is annoying, twitter will keep suggesting I follow that person unless I hide them from recommendation or I block them outright. That’s a little too black & white for me, especially when it could be solved by a little show/hide toggle on the suggestions. Home and mobile users don’t use the website and therefore rarely see this, but a lot of people use twitter from offices with controlled desktop environments and can’t install any ol’ app they want to view twitter. Every time they refresh the browser for the latest tweets, there’s another few suggestions they don’t want.

I realize that many users love the new feature and see it as a way to find people they’re “missing out” on. But considering how difficult the twitter information stream can be to process at the best of times, adding more voices to it seems like I’m going to miss even more.

* Try parsing that five times fast.

** That’s what I get for having unprotected tweets.

*** One reason I hate the way people ab/use re-tweeting (RT) is that it causes me to see crap I don’t care about or for in my twitter feed. Including–when using 3rd party re-tweets–content from people that I have blocked.

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4 Responses

  1. Rick Bman says:

    While I am not a complete hater of the feature, I can’t say that I find it useful either. Like you, most of the people that it recommends to me are people that I have consciously chosen not to follow. I have learned to ignore it but it would be nice to have an on/off toggle for the feature.

  2. Brian says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t like the expression “It is what it is.” I myself found it very helpful when I was unemployed and well meaning friends would constantly either ask about the job search, or bemoan the fact that I was laid off. It wasn’t something I felt like going into detail on most of the time, and the phrase was succinct but potent enough to end the line of questioning without being rude.

    As for the who to follow, I enjoy it for now. I’m sure that will change in the future.

  3. kitchenMage says:

    Thanks for linking to my post on killing this feature. I must admit I am amused by the response. Who knew it was so hated?

    ~kitchenMage, Bad Feature Slayer

  1. August 11, 2010

    […] on the tail end of writing about Twitter following in Facebook’s shoes with their Who To Follow recommendations, Facebook decided to up the ante a bit when it comes to […]

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