Friends, Followers, and Notifications

By Biz Stone
Thursday, 19 July 2007

Lots of folks have noted that there’s too much overlap and confusion between “friend” and “follow.” They both mean “I want this person’s updates” so why do we need them both? Good point, it turns out we don’t. As Twitter has evolved, these two concepts have emerged in parallel and clouded things up. So, in the spirit of simplification, we’ve made a change.

Friends, Followers, and NotificationsAfter careful consideration and user testing, we are no longer going to define people as your “friends.” The functionality of adding people remains, but the interaction is focused on the term “follow” instead. We’ve also added a “notifications” toggle which allows you to turn on updates via SMS or IM on a person-by-person basis.

The new button for these features is prominently placed so it’s possible you’ll notice more folks following your updates. If you’d rather not be notified when you attract a new follower, you can adjust your account settings. Please try out the new functionality! Hopefully, you’ll find it easier and more intuitive.