The Real History of the @reply on Twitter | Maniacal Rage →

August 17, 2012 |

In the wake of Twitter’s latest “Fuck You” to third-party developers, Ben Brooks points out this nice article form Garrett Murray about the origin of the @reply syntax that has now become standard practice across many places on the Internet:

I have always half-jokingly taken credit for inventing the @reply on Twitter. Or at least for starting its wide-spread use on Twitter—I got the idea from seeing people do it over at Flickr, where it had been happening for more than a year. But until today I continued to claim I was the first person to do it on Twitter.

Funnily enough, as many have pointed out, the main reason Twitter has grown so dramatically in the last few years is its incredibly active and engaging user base. They made Twitter into what it is today by coming up with the most compelling features and pushing them so hard that they ended up being officially integrated into the service.

Twitter is a unique service in that it’s a network largely built and shaped by its users. It still is, despite the recent changes, but they need to be extremely careful moving forward or they risk alienating the very same users that made them relevant in the first place.

Call me crazy, but I’d argue that if Twitter wants to keep thriving, screwing with its developer community is not the smartest way to go about it.