Twitter tweaks its follower management tools

Someday, somehow, Twitter or one of the other social-networking services will release a tweak to its interface that every user will love and no user will whine about. We'll all be dead by then, of course, but for now the latest changes to Twitter give as little legitimate reason for complaint as anything we've seen lately.

The Following and Followers sections have been changed to expand the user's options for keeping track of who's following and what people they're following are up to. There are two views for each section -- List, which shows username and real name, and Expanded, which shows all of that plus location and their last tweet. In addition, in the Followers list you can see which people also follow you. (Why isn't that offered in both? We may never know.)

There's a button next to each follower that simplifies four common tasks: mention (eg. @betanews), send a direct message, follow/unfollow, and block. There's also a second button on the Followers page for one-click following. The Following view also works for other folks; that is, you can see who other people are following, though not whether the follow is reciprocated. Notably lacking, though, is a good sort mechanism for those lists; as before, followers and those you're following are listed in reverse-chronological order.

Carping from the cheap seats is just about mandatory in these environs, and though reception overall has been positive, some users note that the new system makes it harder to tell who's reciprocating your follow. (There are third-party applications that sort that out such as Your Twitter Karma, but it would be useful to have the information easily available.) The majority, though, seem happy, with many calling the redesign long overdue. Because even when people are pleased with changes online, if you say something online and don't phrase it in the form of a complaint, does it make a sound?

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