I realize _now_ that there's something that I left out.
Today, Charles Hope twittered... Yes, "twittered"... There's no such thing as a "tweet" or else the app would be named "tweeter".... Anyway... Charles twittered that the "older" link was no longer at the bottom of our Twitter pages. I checked it out, and sure enough, there was no link allowing me to check back past my first page of the most recent posts. I figured that since they're always doing tests and trying to improve how twitter works, it was a programming error and that it would be quickly replaced. Then, someone mentioned an issue with spam, and that the link was deliberately removed in response to it.
I still wasn't concerned, because I know that I can type http://twitter.com/home?page=2 directly into my browser to get to the next-most-recent page of posts. No dice. Pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 all returned the exact same Page 1 entries..... MINUS the entries that had fallen off the edge of the flat Earth, because new people had twittered since I had last refreshed. :/
The link removal wouldn't be a big deal to people following a handful of people, but when you're following > 230 people, like I am, it's a major 'problem' and jacks a critical amount of functionality that I get out of Twitter. Fortunately, out of the > 240 people following me on these social status-update sites like Twitter and Pownce (and Jaiku? ... Haven't heard from that app in AGES!), Veronica Belmont replied to my status update on Pownce [link], informing me not only that it was a temporary issue, but pointing me to the Twitter blog where Biz Stone had already addressed the issue earlier this morning. Fortunately, she replied on Pownce, because on Twitter, her post would have scrolled off the bottom of my "page 1" and been (temporarily) lost forever, unless she had added an @BillCammack to it and it would have alighted in my "replies" section. So, thanks to Veronica, this is a different post than it would have been. :)
Photo Credit: Jared Klett
For me, one of the values of Twitter is that you don't have to pay attention to it and it will save the status updates for you. I've gone back as far as 11 pages, which span several hours. That's normally where you lose the "older" link. This means that when it's crunch time, and I'm being my most effective and efficient, I can release Twitter from my mind entirely and only get back to it when I have processing cycles for it. Removing the "older" link from the first page means that I have to constantly remember Twitter to check it on the web site or I'd actually have to install a widget which would keep sending me the messages, non-stop, all day, consistently distracting me from what I'm trying to do. Neither option's optimal.
It's one of those things that you don't miss until it's gone. :) Taking the "older" link from the front page of Twitter turns it into the home page of Facebook. As far as I can tell, there's no way to increase the number of pages of updates that you can see on Facebook's home page. They're not even in chronological order. If they were, you wouldn't see that an entire stack of your friends just joined a new group... You'd see individual instances with other types of updates in between them. When I get to the bottom of Facebook's ome page, I invariably wonder what happened BEFORE the edge of the flat Earth that the rest of the updates fell off of. Of course it's a good ploy to make it so people go to Facebook more often specifically so they DON'T miss the revolving-door updates, but that doesn't work for me personally, so removal of the "older" link on Twitter is nothing short of a disaster. :)
I just checked my page right now, and there are only 20 twitters on the front (read: ONLY) page. Amongst the > 230 people I'm following, the oldest post is a whopping 22 minutes old. :/ I've been writing this post for more than 20 minutes, so there's an entire 'generation' of comments that I've entirely missed and will never ever see unless they fix their spam bot issues within the next 8 hours or so.
This isn't the stock market, so it's not mission-critical for me to know in real-time what my Twitter friends are doing, thinking or saying. However, I was glad to read in the Twitter blog that the "older" link is going to be reinstated ASAP. Part of my daily productivity is using down-time during rendering, uploading, etc to catch up with what's been going on in the last couple of hours since I even THOUGHT about Twitter at all. 22 minutes worth of status updates from > 230 people isn't even a drop in the bucket.
Good thing I checked twitter within 20 minutes of Charles' post, or I would have been completely in the dark as far as WhereTF my "older" link went! :D