Pretty gutted about Twitter’s changes to their SMS service. They’re no longer delivering outbound SMS over their UK number, so although UK users can still use it to update, they will no longer receive remote device notifications.

When Twitter introduced a limit of 250 international device updates per month last November, I could deal with it – I myself not afflicted with what Mike Butcher diagnoses as ‘Twitarrhoea’ – and could see the reasoning. Twitter support concedes the issue to expense and cost effectiveness, presumably the volume of international traffic can still be handled stably, I guess they just can’t strike the right deal with UK providers. Michael Arrington reports that cost to be $1,000 per UK user, per year – a staggering figure.

But Butcher also questions two interesting outcomes. Whether:

“UK users may start unsubscribing from people who tweet incessantly.”
“Or they will cut down the number of Twitterers they follow.”

Whilst I find the first almost motivating, that a community moves to prune and better itself, solving to enrich a collective exchange, the latter troubles me – that an established, relied on service (albeit reluctantly) makes changes to their business model, directly effecting, by way of forced change, our social behaviour online – clipping our activity and way of interaction.

I’d be interested to see how, or even whether, the behaviour of Twitter users and usage changes with geo-location. I am part of a community of Twitterers of around 15 who each closely follow and are followed by each other, internally. We’re very aware that we believe our use of Twitter to be quite different from most others – or at least it was in the very beginning when we first joined. For us, far from a micro-blogging platform, it is a mechanism almost purely for group social communication. Although due to our careers, sparks of debate are often tech-centered – it’s by and large far more recreational than at all serious.

I’m not alone in expressing my feelings, and it’s not pretty. Hopefully the effects of this change will be prolonged and result in either a celebrated reversion or at least some kind of solution – like the Facebook group earnestly campaigning to cut Twitter a decent deal, rather than opportunists gaining from the downtime.

One Comment

  1. offers a nice tweet->sms service in uk for 5p/msg. Also supports configurable sending to multiple devices.

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  1. By Possibly, Maybe.. « Marc Hibbins on 19 Aug 2008 at 6:44 pm

    [...] Marc Hibbins Interactive Media Design & Development AboutSemantic Web « It’s Oh So Quiet [...]

  2. By » The Dangling Conversation Marc Hibbins on 26 Aug 2009 at 5:47 pm

    [...] about the negative feedback the changes to replies received, I recall when Twitter stopped providing their SMS service to UK members – back then I was gutted but now that they’re back, I don’t use them anyway. [...]

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