Until now Twitter has given users the option to receive email notifications when they receive a direct message or when they get a new follower. Last week, Twitter also rolled out a new look to the latter notification, giving users more information about their new followers.
Much like the pre-existing email notifications, these will be optional (and they're turned off by default, it seems) - a good thing considering many popular users would certainly be overwhelmed with messages if they received one each time they were retweeted.
Wait, Notifications About "Favorites"... Doesn't Someone Else Already Do That?
The addition of these new features may be Twitter's attempt to beef up its own notification system. But it's also another in a series of unfortunate events for third party developers on the Twitter platform. Indeed, the ability to track new followers, DMs, favorites and retweets were features commonly found in non-official Twitter clients - and the sort of things that made these clients more appealing to some users than the official Twitter ones.
Twitter clients that seem to be the targets here. Take Favstar.fm, for example. That app lets you keep track of who has favorited your tweets and how many times they've done so. Upon seeing the tweet from Twitter announcing the new change, Favstar.fm founder Tim Haines tweeted wryly, "Blindsided."But it isn't just
But despite having no "heads up" that the feature was forthcoming, Haines says he thinks the new notification feature is a good one, and he isn't surprised that Twitter has added this sort of real-time feedback mechanism for users. He says the new favorites notifications will be useful to many people.
"Users with Favstar Bonus Features have had this option for some time," Haines told ReadWriteWeb, "and it's reasonably popular. I expect the users with Favstar Bonus Features will continue to use Favstar's offering, as it allows you to customize the notifications (i.e. send for every fav or send only when my tweet reaches 5 and 10 favs), and it will notify you even when someone who you don't follow favs you. The Twitter email doesn't do this, so it will probably only show a limited subset. Unless they change it of course."
That's the operative phrase for third party developers - "unless they change it of course." But in the meantime, the new feature may help increase user engagement, particularly providing new Twitter users with a better understanding of retweets and favorites.