Improved conversation threading for Twitter and iTweet.net.Twitter made an alteration to their API for "in reply to" statuses this week that I felt required a change in the way that iTweet.net handles sending @replies.
One of my personal favorite iTweet features is the "in reply to" links that show what tweet a person was @replying to inline - so you can follow conversations without leaving the page you're on.
Previously if no particular status was specified, Twitter assigned the "in reply to" link to the last tweet of the person who was replied to. As of this week, they are only assigning that link if a particular tweet was specified - otherwise there will be no "in reply to" tweet marked. This will help make conversation threading much more clear, but it also required that Twitter API clients get on board with the new method to ensure that threads are clearly designated.
(In case you're wondering, @replies to you will still show up in your Replies tab if no tweet was specified - but there will not be a particular thread attached.)
Here's how I've decided to handle this change - when you click the @ button to send a reply, a small box above the tweet input will show you the tweet you're replying to. If you don't want to mark your tweet as a reply to that status, simply click the "cancel" button.
One bonus of this is that you don't necessarily need to begin a @reply tweet with "@username" - the tweet will get marked as a reply (and appear in the user's Replies tab) whether you use that convention or not.
The only thing you'll need to be careful of is accidentally marking a tweet as part of a conversation if you changed your mind about the original @reply - so don't forget to click the "Cancel" button if you're not going to reply to that tweet.
One idea that occurred to me would be to also tie the "RT" retweet button to this behavior, so that if you retweeted someone they would see that retweet in their "Replies" tab - kind of a nice way of letting them know you liked their tweet enough to retweet it. Does that sound like a helpful addition?
Let me know in the comments, or tweet or email me with your thoughts!