Enjoy Twitter while it lasts, because it won't last how it is today. In my last post, many a tweet celebrated the publicness of Twitter over IM and Email. We value the serendipity of social messaging and how wide-open Twitter is. @replies, #hashtags and persistent searches (track) help us discover new people through messages. The network of replies bridges us into new networks.
But you may have noticed a rise in @reply spam. Real and fakester accounts are being set up and using @replies to get messages into the view of users who aren't following them. Some marketeers have seemingly mastered the meeting, like the ShamWowDude (not to be confused with the ShamWowGuy).
Twitter already fights the good fight against phished Avatars, but the war is escalating and changes are inevitable. They have the advantage of being able to kick bad users according to their policy. And disadvantages given what Twitter is (its hard for me to imagine traditional spam filters applied to neartime communications at this scale).
But I believe, like Adina Levin, that they may have to make @replies visible only to followers. The social network is the filter. Initially this could be a welcome option, later I suspect it will become a default. And we will loose much of what we love about this medium.
DMs have their own set of problems. But in an odd way, this form of spam urges people to curb their followership to humane levels. And what is left of the social messaging service (including tracking big trends/events despite the spam that remains in them) is still of tremendous utility.
Feels a lot like the early days of blogging. Enjoy it while it lasts, and watch it evolve.
UPDATE: Clay Shirky tweets wisely Maybe FOAF filtering, to keep some serendipity? By FOAF he means Friend-of-a-Friend, so you would see the @replies of your friends and their friends.