The University of Reading is in the process of migrating it's email to Live@edu - an awesome tool, which I greatly look forward to using. With this some issues arose, prompting @PatParslow and I to engage in an open conversation via Twitter.
Our tweets were both public, and also included in the timelines of people who follow the both of us. Because of this @jamesbmarshall joined in as a form of (very good) Customer Support. Queries were answered and problems solved. Not all ideal, but hey ho. Following this another thread sparked, which I've interpreted to be about the use of Twitter in the form of 'open conversations'.
It seems opinion on the subject is divided, but not clear cut. I'm not saying what I say is the iron fist; but my opinion. I've noticed many such 'open conversations' on Twitter myself. Generally I tend to ignore them if they aren't of interest to me, which granted isn't often. I also become aware after a few exchanges that other people may not care about seeing what I have to say on the subject - this is to a point, they are following me after all.
To me, 'open conversations' are greatly convenient. I may have met them in person, however not to a point of exchanging contact details past Twitter. Along with this there is limited outside input when using other means. I find other people's content can really induce some interesting thoughts.
My idea would be to have an optional timing-based filter on timelines. This would make use of 'reply threads' and timings to judge whether or not an 'open conversation' is taking place between 2 or more people you follow. This would then be move this and subsequent tweets into a separate area, which you could view as you wish. This conversation thread could then possibly be merged back into the general timeline a while after it is finished (a conversation should be 'active' to remain separate).
I think that would be a good feature - it should be optional of course. Merging it back would allow for easy track backs. I would say it could be in an 'active conversations' section.
I believe Twitter should be an open platform so I say again that this is just an opinion. I find it interesting to see how people use it.
I'm interested to see what you think, so if you feel like it please drop a comment bellow.