This sounds familiar. Not keeping your equipment in tune with demand causes users to bail out and hit the road to a new service. So it was when Twitter turned off the reply feature that was a favorite of many users to save the system from slowing down. So is the darling of social networks in trouble? It depends on who you listen to. According the article at TechCrunch it states:

Disabling certain features is Twitter’s recent attempt to keep their frail architecture from failing completely. They tried it out during Apple’s recent WWDC keynote and it worked, so they’re clearly using this approach more often now to deal with problems.

But here’s the problem – Replies was the wrong feature to turn off (whether there was a choice in the matter or not). The beautiful thing about Twitter is that spontaneous, diverse conversations erupt that are almost synchronous, or chat like (see our post about Quotably, which pulls these conversations out and highlights them). Conversations are what makes Twitter magic.

But that magic is created by the simple Reply feature – when you add “@TechCrunch” to a Twitter message, it tells me you are saying something directly to me, to start a new conversation or reply to an existing one. Without Reply, Twitter turns into a one way telephone conversation. Pulling the feature out is equivalent to a frontal lobotomy – Twitter is still walking around, but there’s a blank stare in its eyes.

So why aren’t people screaming about the feature being gone? Because this time, they’re just heading over to Friendfeed to have those very same conversations. Friendfeed for most users was just a place to bookmarks all their activities on other social networks. Now, more and more, it’s a place that people start conversations. The early adopters got that a while ago. Now, the not so early adopters are using it as a Twitter replacement, too.

This is a great example of what happens on the Internet. If one finds a web site slow, they will look else where for their Internet fix. No one company or organization has a lock on anything and reader or user loyalty is almost non-existent in todays market place.

Slow will kill your web site in a heart beat!

Comments welcome.

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