This seems like speculation. Empirically, do a search for "@justinbieber" (click on "live") or look at any of his tweets, and you'll see innumerable 16-year-old fangirls who have found some incentive to tweet at him. There's also the subphenomenon of these 16-year-old fangirls getting incredibly excited when those tweets do get seen and interacted with, which indicates, one, that they don't go into the ether, and two, people have a genuine hope of interaction.
I've seen this in practice, because I do actually follow certain parts of popular culture and music and trashy television (not Bieber, as it happens, but enough others) and occasionally look at what they're up to on Twitter. It happens without fail for every celebrity.
So I wonder if the author is actually reporting on how actual people actually use Twitter, or extrapolating from the eyes of a non-16-year-old non-fangirl who cares about things like reply threading.
I'm peripherally aware of someone who is one or two orders of magnitude smaller than Kayne presently doing this. I believe the vernacular is "killing it."
(Think of the economics for a touring band which can sell out a 100 seat theatre. The approximate lifestyle is "They plow 80% of their meagre revenues into the costs of producing music, make McDonalds wages, and live in a van." Now, give that band the ability to tweet for two hours, glad hand some fans, and make $10k with no venue cut and no label cut. The specific example I heard was "DM fan123: Hey Dave. Enjoyed seeing you at the last 5 concerts. Got a VIP event coming up Thursday: 12 people, live in studio with us, light drinks to follow. Thought you'd want to know. Tix & details: linkylink. Hope to see you there.")
P.S. Before anyone on says "Wait, Patrick, the economics do not make 2 hours of Kayne's time affordable on the budget of upper middle class Americans unless he is sharded between so many people to not even have the pretense of interacting with all of them" think less "movie tickets" as a comparable and more "season tickets to an NFL team" or "a set of golf clubs" or "a cruise around Europe" or any of the host of big-ticket items which upper middle class Americans actually do purchase frequently when given the chance.
And, while it's at it, twitter could provide some kind of AI analysis of his followers to find the ones who are the most positive and have said the most positive things about Kanye.
Hell, they could even advertise they're doing that. Imagine being a rabid fan and learning that if you say lots of nice things about Kanye all over twitter that it'll bring you to his attention and he'll start personally replying to your tweets! Oh the algorithmic cult of personality...
That's what I want to see, and I'm willing to code it, just not now.
P.S. I like how my grand parent comment had -1 score before you replied but is now recovering well.
FWIW, it's easy to read that as a reddit-esque throwaway oneliner, which HN doesn't really encourage, rather than serious commentary about social media optimization for a musician. When I have a comment like that, and I do occasionally, I generally thicken it out a bit to signal "No, wait, actual thought happened." (An example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10177005 was originally just the first two sentences, which taken alone read like middlebrow dismissal, so I added a bit of supporting detail.)
Ableton have built this: https://blend.io/
Note the remixes competitions listed further down the page. AFAIK it doesn't have much traction, although I think their execution was very good.
There have been quite a few online collaboration products built into sequencers. Rocket Network back in 2000: http://www.1000tracks.ru/remembering-rocket-network/
Everyone had a different reason for using Twitter because there were so many apps. Now, those apps are gone. How do you go and tell the developer community to come back? How do you trust Twitter? The answer is you don't.
That quote sums it all up.
Most of Dustin's suggested extensions are things other people should have built on Twitter. Of course, it also keys into Dalton's App.Net plan where Twitter should have been the stream and people should have used a countless applications to make the stream more discernible and allow Twitter focus on ensuring the backbone stays in place.
Funny enough, that is how twitter originated. Others built their clients and they focused on the core. They lost that direction and wanted to "own it all" like Facebook. But they took that direction rather too early.
Take Tweetstorming as an example which is a niche need. My team built a tweetstorming app http://writerack.com. It pulls and pushes all it's content from and to Twitter. In an ideal case, Twitter should support it and similar ones rather than making Twitter.com more convoluted with the aim of doing everything themselves.
If Twitter had supported third patrty developers, someone/people would have built a killer app for using twitter to follow and interact live events. That would have brought another set of people into the platform and that extends to other use cases too.
Hopefully, Twitter gets it right because I have come to really find Twitter useful.
The tweetstorming thing, for example, conveniences particular writers at the expense of all the other writers (and quite a number of readers). I hate it, and will unfollow anybody who does it regularly. It's the tragedy of the commons for an attention economy. Twitter's demand that people be concise is a large part of its value to readers. The more they control the UI, the easier it is to nudge people in particular directions that shape good user experiences.
But that's a small thing next to making money. To experiment with various ad products, they need extremely fine grained control of and reporting on user experience, and they need to be able to rapidly change that as they come up with new ideas. That's hard enough even when they control everything; getting a zillion developers to do that is impossible.
Focusing on the core was great, but nobody was paying them for the core. They're spending ~$1.5 billion/year. Anybody who says, "Twitter should do X" without explaining how their plan will help pay the bills is not going to get a lot of consideration at Twitter HQ.
Re: Annoying Tweetstorming.
People should be able to mute content from certain apps. Just like you can silence your Candy Crushers.
Re: Making Money.
On a sarcastic note, "I'll think of a way if I am paid 6 figures a year" :). But seriously, we are making content more valuable by adding more people to its service. Twitter can retain the rights to serve ads on those third party services while sharing some of the ad revenue.
It has? I don't follow any news organizations or famous people. Well, a couple of Hugo-winning authors. But than's not like Beiber famous. And my timeline is a vibrant place full of friends talking with each other. It's like an IRC channel where I get to decide who's there. And it works great for that.
> Second–and this one is obvious to almost everyone–Twitter needs to focus on realtime events. When I open Twitter during a major debate in the US, or when a bomb has exploded in Bangkok, there should be a huge fucking banner at the top that says “follow this breaking event.”
Whenever there is a major thing going on my timeline will tell me about it. Because my friends will be retweeting stuff, or tweeting news articles they saw about whatever the thing is elsewhere. I know when there are conventions going on. I know when riots are happening. I know when there is a videogame speedrun charity marathon happening. Well, I used to until I decided to preemptively block the hashtags for those. I know when my friends are musing about their gardens, or their resumes, or their angst about their core skills. I even know when some of my friends are feeling frisky if they've trusted me with access to their private accounts where they occasionally post half-naked selfies. And in the middle of that I get all these weird blips of surreality from various art project bots I follow. I don't need a "huge fucking banner" telling me to follow a breaking event, because my friends will be talking about it.
When I have a problem with some software or some corporation, if I use their @name while bitching about the problem there is a pretty decent they will reply and help fix it.
Yeah, every kid who tweets at Beiber isn't going to get a reply. Duh? Would they expect a reply on other social media? Does Beiber even run his own account? There's a lot of celebrities with mostly-dormant accounts run by their social media specialists, and they're boring as fuck because they're not really there. But a lot of people who are famous, but not Mega Corporate Media Distribution Famous, actually do run their own twitters.
Who the hell is Dustin following here? Does he actually have any friends who use Twitter as his primary mode of communication? Are all his friends on Facebook or G+ or something else instead? Because it sure sounds like he's not using Twitter anywhere near the way I use it.
If you have a stream of garbage on Twitter, don't follow people who post garbage.
I follow people primarily in tech and programming. Most of them use Twitter to talk about things they work on, issues they have, things that are interesting. Occasionally they share something funny, but I rarely see something distasteful or annoying. Sometimes I follow somebody and after a few days I feel like I'm not getting any benefit from what they are posting--it will be annoying or I will realize that they are trying to reach an audience with a different set of values--and I unfollow them. That's OK, they are not meeting my expectations.
The argument for Twitter being broken because signal/noise ratio is like saying email is broken because your inbox is full of newsletters for sites you don't like. The problem isn't with email, it is with how you are using it. Unsubscribe, clean it out, make a new address...
That's Twitter's problem, not the user's problem. Your comment is akin to the old open source saying, "It's open source, go fix the bug yourself."
That's very true, and I'm surprised I didn't remember that while reading this article. There are news stories that I've seen first on Twitter, and had trouble finding an actual news article.
Of course, it's not going to cover every last "major debate in the US" or "bomb has exploded in Bangkok" mention. It'll only cover it if people I follow think it's interesting enough to tweet about. If I wanted CNN, I'd have a cable subscription.
I don't personally know one single person I follow on Twitter, I use it mostly for following muscisians and dancers in a weeaboo reality thatonly exists for me inside my head and on social media/YT. I'm never going to see any real news, but it's a service Twitter should be designing and pushing, it would be better than the other guff they inject into my timeline.
Except no one is discussing anything and topics change every other tweet.
I follow ~20 people and even that I cannot keep up with. But then again maybe I simply don't use Twitter enough to know how to use it well.
For some, it's about the same reason one would report spam: a dislike of abuse.
I feel both of those a little, but for me it's mostly about having a real connection with my audience. I definitely pay attention to who's following me, who favorites my stuff, et cetera. When I write on some social medium, I write for my audience. Writing for a bunch of spambots, marketroids, and scammers is... offputting.
Additionally, I'm obsessively organised and spend a lot of time thinking about the tiniest of details and this may be a product of that tiring (and somewhat problematic) personality trait. This is the same reason why I delete my tweets the day after I tweeted them.
And I'm definitely a 'tweet deleter' after reading this article and agreeing with the premise that Twitter messages aren't that important to preserve. I'd rather deny data miners the ability to better profile me than keep old messages. The article's linked-to Ruby script to archive & delete messages stopped working recently but I found a newer one which works very well. Set it up as a cron job, set the preferred threshold for RTs, favorites and time, and it keeps your feed tidy. If that old message was so great your followers will mark it as such and the script will preserve it. The rest disappear after X days.
Data mining is a concern, though not a big one because I'm pretty sure twitter keeps my deleted tweets anyway. If I don't want to say something I don't want to be found on the internet, I just don't say it.
I don't tweet a lot, so I've been deleting them manually. Which isn't a big hassle for me. I wanted to use scripts to automate the process but they all require API tokens and twitter doesn't let you have them without giving them your phone number, so I decided not to use them. I try to keep my account as anonymous as possible. If I had been tweeting a lot more, I would've definitely used them but currently they're not for me. Thanks for sharing it though. I'll bookmark it just in case I need it in the future.
Somewhat related, but my follower count stays about the same on average. I go through spurts where I post a lot and then don't post at all. I don't use Twitter that often for direct engagement with individuals, but do from time to time. About a month ago I woke up one day with over a thousand new followers. I thought for a second I had tweeted out something great the night before and was curious what it was that drew so many new eyes. A quick glance at my followers though revealed that ever last one of the new followers was a spam account. To me this devalues the entire ecosystem at Twitter. Twitter has this hard limit on following 2000 people until you reach some undisclosed threshold of followers (presumably close to 2000 followers). I believe that many of the spam accounts are created solely for the purpose of following people to bypass that arbitrary limit. To me though, Twitter has it completely wrong here. It would seem they are encouraging spam accounts by having this limit in place in the first place. There are better ways to detect spam accounts than saying if a user is following >2000 people yet doesn't have 2000 followers they must be spam. Twitter can tell if a user interacts with the systems and tweets on a fairly regular basis. This to me is a better determination of whether an account is spam than simply the number of followers an account has.
Facebook has a different problem - sold or hacked accounts.
There was an artist I "liked", let's call him Bob. Bob made maybe a post a week, and it was always worth seeing. Bob also had a lot of followers.
A few weeks ago, Bob's account was suddenly renamed to "BobMemes". It then became a spambot spewing clickbait several times an hour, often not SFW.
I don't know if the account was sold or hacked, but this isn't the way Bob behaves, and several weeks on there's been no change (as I'd expect if there was a hack).
So it's not just about followers, it's about choosing who you "like".
So one of the core problems of twitter is that you are required to do that; it's work. That's fixable.
Certainly the front page for a new visitor should be rich with content.
You can get an even better signal/noise ratio by using Nuzzel, which extracts the most popular stories. Again, you can use it to read other people's lists.
I'm still stupidly holding out hope that one day Twitter will offer to take money to get rid of that stuff.
When people want to post more than 140 characters, they include it as an image (so not searchable), which is considerably more effort.
Why not allow longer tweets, and only show the first 140 chars by default (along with an indication of how long it's going to be), and then load or show the rest on demand?
That said, I think they could do it successfully if text were treated as another media attachment like photos or videos or links. People would still have to write a concise ~120 character intro; if I wanted more I could click to expand. But making main posts longer would be a great disappointment to me, possibly enough to kill my use of the platform.
most of the worst, most useless content you've ever written to anyone would be several paragraphs.
that's why it worked.
It worked, not because people want to "share" less, but because they want to read less. Same reason a lot of people browsing Reddit for example only browse it by glimpsing the headlines. The more news there is, the less people are interested in the details of the news - they want to let their brains fill in the details.
Say, for example (and please don't read too much into the example), you read an article that says "Police shoots an innocent civilian". Then a few days later, you read another article very similar to it. Then another. At some point you stop reading the article and you just glimpse the headline - filling in the details yourself, even if they are wrong. You do this for every article you come across, and you enter a cycle where everything you read ends up fitting your own learned narrative. Your brain autocompletes the content of every article... and if there is no match, you can just ignore it.
This sort of behaviour is something you see a lot of on Reddit. People are attracted to short snippets of information they can autocomplete. Most don't want to spend a lot of time on something they might be reading on the toilet, or on the subway. It's the same reason mobile toilet games are racking in millions, while the PC gaming market is taking a major hit.
Just off the top of my head, weibo has:
- the "event" grouping that dcurtis mentions and a better topic grouping system ("micro topics")
- rich multimedia as a first class citizen (photo galleries especially are very popular)
- payments built-in - you can donate to or pay anyone on the platform. This is especially used in time of disaster. Weibo escrows the money for a bit to make sure the recipient is legitimate, btw
- properly threaded conversations, easy to follow
- a much more fleshed-out verified account system and the dev integration to connect companies to the system
I'm aware that what works in china may not work for twitter, but looking at what they're doing seems like a pretty good starting point.
For personal: Facebook has network effect, complex relationships, share anything and everything, privacy, groups, etcs. Younger generations more focused on sharing are using Instagram, Snapchat, and all the messaging apps.
For work: LinkedIn gives value in seeing work histories, connections, companies, etc (although still a bad product but without competition)
For news: The mainstream just use news sites, search and Facebook or get alerts from all the other apps/networks/reddit and there's RSS which is way nicer for following blogs and niche news.
What Twitter has been good at is allowing people to have a easy public voice (although nobody might see it but its there) without being tied to a personal identity and giving the chance to talk to people you might never be able to reach otherwise. You can tweet at politicians, celebrities, top executives, companies and can reasonably expect a reply or exposure. That's really powerful and a great equalizer. It's also good for real-time obviously, working like a constant stream of consciousness of the collective you follow.
However like the article says, thats it. There's no movement on the product itself. Terrible UI with broken conversations, broken sharing, broken lists, no new features like deduping tweets, non-chronological ordering, better developer APIs, and the ads product isn't great either.
It's kind of sad that the network that originally began as messaging based around sms/phones has been completely overtaken by all other messaging and sharing apps while still keeping completely unnecessary limitations like 140 chars. There's just no focus here...
Most worryingly, the founders couldn't agree on what the purpose of Twitter was, and illuminatingly people in this discussion still don't have a clear idea of its purpose. Is it a news broadcast system, to follow current events? Or is it about sharing your personal life with your friends?
From a technical point of view, I find Twitter very confusing. I read that they were at over a million users before having any kind of backup strategy. They rewrote their systems from Java to Scala, but then seemed to regret that decision, their decisions on shutting down API access to third parties have been really nasty... this kinda thing makes me worry that they don't have clear leadership.
And then there's the politics of infighting, and some of their executives being "overthrown" over time... I can't see how you can create a good culture when people at the top are behaving like that. It's hardly rocket science - just focus on the product and your users.
I think creating a culture from the beginning is a lot easier than changing an engrained culture, so my view is that Twitter is screwed. Failing a Jobsian turnaround, the best they can do is sell and sell fast. I can seriously see Twitter losing out to a startup. Any thoughts on whether they will survive?
Sorry, you're exactly correct. It was Ruby -> Scala and Java.
To be precise, according to Tony Pritezis from Twitter, Scala is the main language, Java is next, Ruby was still in use in 2014 but migrating away, C/C++ and Python for some specific tasks. He did also talk about some of the problems of using Scala, and I seem to recall someone saying that Scala may be less favoured at Twitter in the future.
There's a ton you could do to improve search, UIs on top of the feed, analytics, communities, twitter lists, conversations, media embedding and interactions.
On top of that social graph they had the potential to build a better, more real time, more community led Instagram, Snapchat or Youtube.
And yet it doesn't seem to move forward as a product.
One of the strangest things about Twitter is that its search seems broken. Sometimes when I'm trying to locate past tweets authored by myself or by someone else, I can quickly find them on Topsy, but almost never directly on Twitter.
Twitter has begun to feel stale. Considering how much I love learning from people like pmarca and pg through it, this is something that worries me.
Twitter has been working on excellent support (where "excellent" is defined as "good for Twitter") for embedding tweets inside news articles and the like. This means that if a celebrity (not a startup celebrity, a celebrity) tweets something important, it'll get picked up by BuzzFeed or something, and then you can use Google, the search engine people actually use, to find it. If it's not important, it doesn't need to be found; that's not what the platform is about.
That's not unexpected given their signup flow, it's pages and pages you have to click through where it automatically follows hundreds of celebrities unless you uncheck the boxes.
"There is zero incentive in the product to interact with celebrities on Twitter, because no one will see the responses."
Maybe true for the 1mm+ follower people, but ironically, this is 90+% of how I actually use Twitter. I tweet at a mid-high volume (100k->500k) individual, and occasionally get a response, more often get a fave, and ever so often get a retweet.
For < 50k follower people, I almost always get a response if what I sent was thoughtful.
Also, I love looking at the responses to tweets - and often respond to those responses, and get a thread going with the responder - often dropping out the original person who tweeted altogether.
I'm not saying all is well in twitter world - but I quite enjoy (perhaps too much) the back and forth/threading/responding that twitter offers. I really, really don't need any more.
As mentioned by the commentators, Twitter has a discovery issue. Twitter's solution is to put "suggested tweets" below the normal replies, but without any clear discernible division. (just "Suggested by Twitter" in light gray color). Way too many times I accidentally read suggested tweets instead of normal replies while instinctively scrolling to the bottom and I get very confused.
Conversations are almost impossible to follow. Once you locate a good tweet, its a confusing process to find all the related tweets. Sometimes, they are below the tweet (which is confusing as I don't read from the bottom up most of the time) and sometimes they are buried inside the tweet. Grrrr!!!
Finally, putting non-text media in a tweet is turning out to be horrible. At least when tweets used to be ASCII, I could reasonably read through them. Now, I have pages and pages of little silent movies that start playing when they come into focus. How annoying is that!?
I really like the "World News Headline" feature that Dustin proposes and would probably use Twitter more if it has something like that. However, given that Twitter is transforming itself into a Vine/Instagram clone I probably won't be hitting the tweet box much in the future. :(
As for how Twitter can improve in that aspect, how about a horizontally-scrolling feed of users who retweet, and a less-annoying version of such for comments? They seem like relatively easy design choices.
Twitter needs to curate the content I see better - especially for newer users. Twitter is boring as sin until you follow a few interesting people, then it becomes overwhelming as it adds too many more.
Twitter needs to focus on the feed being more malleable, both with and without personal effort from me.
At the beginning of the year Twitter started testing out a "while you were away" feature that curates, currently on mobile only: http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/21/twitter-launches-while-you-...
Personally, my initial reaction was instantly negative. I've now come to grudgingly tolerate it; it's not very good, but it's limited to a small number of tweets at a predictable place in my timeline, so I know it's not messing with anything. I've never missed it when at a desktop, though.
However, Twitter does a better job at problem #1 than instagram does. Beiber is not replying to fans over Instagram - and I doubt people are actually communicating to celebrities via Instagram comments, have you seen Beiber's (or any music celeb's) instagram? Its a wasteland of spam, self promotion, and emoji. I doubt Justin Bieber has a higher reply rate on Instagram than Twitter - it's very easy to see that Justin Beiber engages fans on Twitter, not so much on Instagram.
That said, as someone who uses Twitter heavily, but never tweets - my most useful function for it is a realtime news feed (to not just news orgs, but people, parody accounts, comedians, tech nerds, sports news, ...). I place as much emphasis on the ability to "respond and have conversations" to the success of Twitter, as to the success of Buzzfeed and other news orgs (- I doubt you need an active comments section to have a good news site - most of it is garbage anyways).
The second and third points are apt though - Facebook's "trending" seems a lot more useful the Twitter's, however I'm not sure how useful either is without constant curation. Even if Twitter had a super sophisticated algorithm to automatically detect topics - without curation you end up with garbage. Facebook's trending is just as useless once you have the reason why its trending.
>Twitter has turned into a place where famous people and news organizations broadcast text.
I'm not sure how Twitter can fix this, but my response to this is if this is what Twitter has become, then its because you made it that way. Reddit now has a subreddit /r/BlackPeopleTwitter which would give you a very different idea on what Twitter is if your Twitter experience was like that.
I seem to recognise a pattern where Twitter & Apple's AppStore fail in the same way: Failing to give end losers (er, users) intelligent filters so they can decide what they want to see, and equally important, what they do not want to see. The conspicuous absence of those options speaks loud & clear as to the platform owner's intentions.
Disclaimer, I work for a startup doing exactly this, so if it's something you actually want to do for a paycheck, shoot me an email.
This is THE ONE THING they've done right. I'm come on Twitter to read what people wrote about stuff. Last thing we need is an emotionless machine generated feed.
I have been saying their problem is they have been too busy painting themselves into a corner:
[v] alienating 3rd part developers
[v] public by default - no organization level settings
[v] keep the cute 140 char limit that is now just an historic artifact
There is no point discussing about it should be this or that. Feel free to use it the way you want it to be.
-> Twitter feels too much like a one-way broadcast system. It needs to feel more like a community, with meaningful two-way interaction.
I totally disagree. If you follow a avalanche of people and brands your timeline gets useless within an hour. Twitter is place to build a community that you want to be in and participate if you want to get max out of it. If one expects it to be a community he/she shall participate. Why would I expect Paul Graham to be replying me on Twitter for nothing (just because I follow him and mentioned him some non of his business comment) ?
[Edit: added some reference from the post]
Twitter is still a faster and more reliable source of breaking news, but not that many people (apart from journalists) care about speed. And Facebook's threaded chat provides a much better way to discuss stories than Twitter.
In sum, for most people, Facebook's news feed is probably now a better Twitter than Twitter.
> First, for normal users, Twitter feels too much like a one-way broadcast system. It needs to feel more like a community, with meaningful two-way interaction. Right now, a reply to Justin Bieber by a 16-year-old fangirl goes into the ether, never to be seen again. There is zero incentive in the product to interact with celebrities on Twitter, because no one will see the responses.
Let's force Justin Bieber to sit down and read the thousands of replies he gets to each any of his tweets.
Let's also make it so when I click on a Justin Bieber tweet, my browser downloads a webpage of 50MB with all the responses so I can read them all.
No, please, please no, NOOO. Some of us are just simply not interested in real-time events and use Twitter to talk to our friends. If a bomb explodes in Bangkok, I simply don't care. If I did, I'd use the search engine. And by knowing Twitter, they would probably make the banner mandatory, or would make you dismiss it each time (along with a nice "Did you like this?").
> Third, Twitter has fucked up multimedia integration. Why the hell does adding a photo or video use up some of the 140 characters I want to use for my description? Why does it crop my photo? Why does it not show full-width images in the feed?
Because Twitter is a text-only social network... Or at least that's what it was.
> Fourth, let’s talk about third party payloads/integrations on Twitter. They have never felt native, and they are still–after three years–in a bizarrely dire state.
Same response as before: I think media integrations should not be encouraged.
> And that leads to me to the final thing I want to talk about, which is also the most important: Twitter has fucked up its platform. Twitter has turned into a place where famous people and news organizations broadcast text. That’s it.
So don't follow them. Follow only humans with real feelings that are not using Twitter to earn themselves money.
> The fact that automatic tweets from apps are considered rude is one of the biggest failings of Twitter’s product team–Twitter should be the place for apps to broadcast realtime information about someone.
So you want to read automated tweets all day? Don't be silly, who wants to read "Johnny has favourited this vid on youtube!!" "Mike has uploaded this pic to Instagram!!" all day? You? No, nobody, that's why these integrations with automatic tweets are RUDE. If I want to know what you uploaded to Instagram I'd follow you there, jackass!
There, I vented it.
That said it must be understood that tweetbot is probably the only worthy 3rd party client as of now. There are lots of Android clients but they are all of a very low quality. Whether this is because of the lack of incentives to build an app that uses an API that could close at any moment, or just reveals how bad Android apps are overall, remains to be seen.
Four years ago or so I used twicca, which was pretty good at that moment, but it hasn't been updated since then.
According to Ryan Sarver, former Twitter Platform Director:
"Developers ask us if they should build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience. The answer is no." "We need to move to a less fragmented world, where every user can experience Twitter in a consistent way."
It struck me as odd to have a public API that serves the same content twitter is serving themselves, while they actively lower the quality of their own content by introducing ads! Maybe they have finally realized that, and will just keep strangling the API until they own their own content once again.
You couldn't imagine youtube having a free API that served the same videos without ads.
As Twitter is a publicly-traded company, it would be impossible for that person to satisfy all of the major stakeholders.
If twitter wants to survive they need to get content onto their platform which means loose the 140 character.
In some ways and ironically, Medium could be a kind of replacement for twitter if they found a nicer balance between long and short posts.
After spending some time on tumblr, I've noticed the 140-character limit is great from a reader point of view. What it ensures (like you are alluding to) is that one user doesn't dominate my feed/attention with one really long post. I don't need curation on Twitter, because the time it takes to read 100 twitter posts is constant. It's harder to get trapped in an platform-imposed filter bubble on Twitter this way too because there's less pressure on the platform to algorithmically rearrange your newsfeed as well.
(139 characters, maybe I should use twitter...)
I literally wouldn't have had time to read a wall of text (which is what 5,000 characters is, it's 850 words, i.e. a dense, full page and a half in a word processor, if 11-point text.)
this is why twitter took off. it makes certain communication possible that just wouldn't be! it lets a celebrity talk to people who wouldn't read even a single page interview by them, for example. sorry if people don't get this.
A multimedia site can justify the heavy asset loading.