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Whether it's due to constant stability issues/outages, or tweaking the site's functionality, Twitter has constantly found a way to irritate it's unusually loyal users. This week's dustup over Twitter suddenly changing which replies you can see has me wondering, how much longer will Twitter's loyal user base stick with the site?

I've blogged about this several times before, but one of the key elements of building a vibrant community is to JOIN that community. And by that I don't mean that simply using Twitter, as @biz, @ev and @jack do. But I mean interacting with community members and LISTENING to them.
A year ago, we were wondering why Twitter was constantly having outages, without ever reaching out to its community to let us know when, what or why. Then this week, Twitter suddenly announces that it's made a change in the tweets you get from people you are following. Previously, if you followed someone's tweets, you saw ALL of their tweets.
But earlier this week, Twitter changed the settings so that if someone you were following left a reply to someone else that you are NOT following, then you didn't see that tweet (from the person you WERE following). Of course, this move was immediately and overwhelming blasted by the Twitter community.
And Twitter heard the backlash, and updated their blog with a post Weds morning entitled " Whoa, Feedback!," where Biz implies that Twitter was apparently taken aback at the criticism that this move received.
To me, this is pretty scary. First, it's scary that Twitter would make such a huge change in the site's basic functionality without asking its users. And second, it's scary that the reaction seemed to have surprised Twitter. This tells me that they are disconnected from the Twitter userbase, and what they really want from the site.
It's tough to have a vibrant community when you keep them at an arm's distance. My advice to Twitter today is the same as it was a year ago; don't take your community for granted, or they might just stop being your community.

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image of Mack Collier

Mack Collier is a social-media strategist based in Alabama. He helps companies build programs and initiatives that let them better connect with their customers and advocates. His podcast, The Fan-Damn-Tastic Marketing Show, discusses ways that brands can turn customers into fans. His first book, Think Like a Rock Star: How to Create Social Media and Marketing Strategies That Turn Customers Into Fans, was published in April 2013 by McGraw-Hill.

Twitter: @MackCollier

LinkedIn: Mack Collier