A short while ago, something sucked the fun right out of Twitter. All of a sudden, replies from people who I was following to people who were a) not me, or b) not people I was also following, mysteriously quit showing up. Without knowing more about the underlying data structures I'm not certain I understand Twitter's explanation; it seems to me they'd have to go out of their way to find and remove tweets from people I'm following that were in reply to tweets from others that I'm not following, rather than just show me all the tweets from everybody I am following.
Anyway. I figured I'd go with it for a while and see if I noticed any difference ... and ... yeah, I do. Turns out the main way I found new, interesting people to follow was through those half-conversations. I haven't followed anybody new since replies broke, and find myself growing increasingly bored with Twitter.
At the top of this page, you'll see an entry box with my Twitter id filled in. If you click the button, you will see a list of tweets from people I'm following. Each of these tweets is the most recent one posted in reply to another Twitter user. If I'm not following that person, I won't see it when I look at my Twitter page. Right, some of these are false positives, for reasons mentioned below. I could clean it up, but I'm probably not going to do it. It's a hack, people. :)
If you'd like to try it out and see some (probably not all) of what you're missing, fill in your Twitter screen name and click Go.
friends/statusAPI five times to get the most current status from the last 500 users you followed; that's enough to show some of what you're missing. (Hey, while I have your ear ... please take a moment to think about the extra carbon you're causing Twitter to release into the atmosphere with all those follows you never actually pay attention to. 500 ought to be enough!)
Twitter is much less useful to me without replies to friends I haven't met yet, so I really do hope they can fix it. Have fun with this, and if it's useful, kindly tweet it up on Twitter. Thanks!