Over at the AVC.com blog noted VC Fred Wilson has written about an interesting feature that he’s seen on his Twitter timeline this morning that encourages him to engage with a friend who has recently returned to Twitter after a period of inactivity.
This is an interesting development from Twitter who, like all the major social networks, continuously struggles with the problem of retention of users, and this prompt could play a significant role in keeping people interested. After all, who doesn’t like getting a “welcome back” message from a friend?
The message, which displays at the top of the screen on Twitter.com above the Tweets timeline, reads:
Your friend @username is back on Twitter! Mention them in a Tweet to welcome them back.
Users who receive this message are presented with a ‘Compose a Tweet’ button to expedite the process.
Here’s Fred’s screenshot:
This is a smart play. After all, it’s one thing for an organisation to (endlessly) pester inactive users to “give us another chance” with emails and other forms of spam, and quite another for somebody you know and, vitally, trust (in this case, Fred), to give you a gentle nudge when you’ve already taken that all-important first step.
What’s going to be key here, for Twitter, is making sure that it uses this feature sparingly, and that the people it wants you to retain are actually friends, inasmuch as you have a history of engagement, and not just an endless list of randoms, spammers and trolls. Because nobody wants to be pushed to keep those guys on Twitter.