2. allow the apps to be used without a login - with the default view showing 'what is on now'. almost every member of my family has attempted to use twitter at some point and just been confused.
3. reformat all the explore pages into ordinary twitter streams
4. acquire nuzzel. their view of 'whats on now' is better than twitter's view
5. drop the video passion-project nonsense. you don't need to own content to use twitter alongside it. strike deals with the content providers instead where tweets are shown alongside (this is already being done) and become a partner to content owners and distributors rather than a competitor
6. improve the core product for users. group messaging, longer tweets, only show replies from people who are authenticated or two degrees away from you by default, etc. etc. (and pro accounts, if you wish)
7. let people pay to get a checkmark, and then let users pay to flair tweets they like
8. better tools for businesses who provide support on twitter. let them pay to use it as a platform and properly authenticate their customers on twitter
9. ditto above but for marketing
> 1. cut costs by a lot. they shouldn't be spending $2B per year
Really, is Twitter doing poorly? $2.52 billion in 2016 is more than enough revenue, I'd wager, to maintain a solid company. Twitter seem to me to have an explosive-growth mentality - spend like crazy and grow our way to success - in a post-explosive-growth reality.
Fix the cost structures, and make ~$1 billion in profit, and you have a solid company. With continued YoY growth of say 5%, and a valuation of $20 billion in the near future, about double their current $11.33B, is not out of the realm of possibility. Sure, it isn't Google or FaceBook sized, but is a $20B company in anyway failing?
Preemptive reply: no, nobody reads Twitter over SMS anymore.
So many prole would want to finish a sentence for a few cents that would hesitate for $1/mth. Then have a $3 (or something smaller) minimum so people instantly have credit for future use to train behavior for some time. This would also give credit cards for future organisation and easy purchases. For power users 100 character a month would be nothing so it would up earnings there.
Then initially launch with a 'charity' test month. This helps get people using and people accepting longer tweets with good will. Doing a charity month will help reduce the invariable haters of anything new, and offset bad-will if trial goes down like a lead balloon. And then monitise assuming trial goes well
The format is the entire point of twitter. It forces the condensation of thought. Increasing the limit would fundamentally change the service.
The images hurt accessibility, and the streams make it harder to share the discussion (which is partly the purpose of being a social app to begin with).
Is there data to suggest that people will just rant all the time if they're permitted to?
 Anecdotally, my current top 20 posts in my FB feed: 17 under 140 chars, 3 greater than 140 chars.
Its like daydreaming if the next version of Microsoft Word were reskinned EMACS with a new splash screen. Superficially that sounds pretty cool. But six months later everyone who wanted EMACS continued to use real EMACS and everyone who didn't want EMACS switched away from the MS Word clone of EMACS, leaving MS Word with zero users.
That's twitter's problem, the people who are really into "twitter 2016" are just going to leave if things are changed, yet the number of people into "twitter 2016" is seen as too small.
Perhaps their best bet is to abandon acting like a startup. Absolutely no one wants my local electric company to pivot into water and sewer services or open an office on Mars. There's nothing immoral or lower class about operating a respected public utility.
What twitter should be terrified about isn't finding the next billion users, but avoiding the 1970s CB Radio bust or the decline of BBSes in the 90s. The odds are much higher that twitter is going to be out of business and forgotten in 20 years than they're going to be ten times bigger in size/revenue/profit. Essentially twitter is a fad or a utility or in between and has to be monetized as a fad or a utility.
At some point "condensed" thought just means reduced quality of communication. If some users want to say more, let them pay a dollar. I doubt users would be rattled to their core because some people can put two tweets in one.
Bottom line, users don't care about what Twitter's agenda is regarding character limit. Nobody decided to use Twitter because they were excited about a 140 character limit, they use it in spite of the limit. Twitter should be focusing on what the "in spite of" reasons are, because those are the reasons that define the intrinsic value of their service, not the character limit.
I believe most people use Twitter because it gives them the attention of an audience. If you can acquire the same size (or redundant, since most are on multiple platforms) audience elsewhere, then what reason is left for a user to tolerate any annoyance or quirk of the service?
But after the 140 limit, Twitter's other annoyance is how public your comments are. You can't remove them and you're extremely liable for them. Making them private (actually, that option exists) would make it look like Facebook, so it isn't the solution, and making them anonymous won't solve trolls.
Liability on twitter currently doesn't prevent stupid people from harassing others, while a lot of clever people avoid using it because they understand the consequences of a mistake. That's pretty much the opposite of what we want. Twitter should think about reducing liability while moderating trolls better. A bit like on HN, where we have much less liability, but many more CEOs.
There's a large distance between 140 and infinitely long.
Twitter is about the tweet. It's how they got big in the first place. It's the word they added to the dictionary. If you're thinking of pivoting away from what you are, you'd better consider it carefully and be sure it's not the main irreplaceable source of your claim to fame.
PS 10 years is hardly long enough for "always," "traditional" or "nostalgia" to apply.
> PS 10 years is hardly long enough for "always," "traditional" or "nostalgia" to apply.
Not in the real world no, although people are nostalgic for the pre-crash US, but on the Internet I think it definitely is. Put another way, if you changed Twitter into Medium people would be talking about "the old Twitter" with nostalgia.
Why are youtube videos mostly 5 to 7 minutes? Why are pop songs 3 minutes long? Why are sitcoms 30 minutes long?
Forms of expression are defined by their constraints. I think of twitter's relationship to prose as analogous to a haiku.
Songs can be as long as you want.
TV shows can be as long as you want.
You think you're arguing the value of constraints, but you're actually arguing that different media formats have different points of cultural optimization.
If that's true, then is there any need to enforce an artificial length limit on tweets? If shorter, pithier tweets are better, then most tweets will be short and pithy--naturally.
I think we read very different Twitters :)
That's common knowledge. They were asking, why is it STILL the right length?
If Twitter want to encourage short form content, there are other ways to do it. Either hide 141 onwards behind a [+more] link or style the long ones differently so they have less impact.
Better yet, create multi-panel tweets so content is still presented bite-sized, but in a way that people can delve as deeply as they like.
Tweet storms are only getting more common in my experience. Further, entire newspaper articles could be presented as a series of bite-sized pieces. Just limit the first one to 140 IMO.
Then they should make it a word limit and give you stop words for free (a, the, and, etc).
I think it requires more attention to decode the messages of people trying to work around the character limits (with bad spelling and dropped punctuation, etc).
People would work around that by dropping punctuation so the algorithm would not see word boundaries. Or by writing in German...
A better (but more opaque) system might try to estimate the "quantity" of semantic content in a language-specific way.
Condensing your thoughts to 140 characters takes effort. This would allow trading the effort to money. The per message fee would limit the usage of this feature, encouraging people to still keep things short and only use the extended feature when they really need it.
The size of SMS messages is still fixed at 160 characters, but now they can be transparently chained to send longer texts. This is quite unlike IP protocols which have much larger maximum packet sizes.
Whether Twitter should ever have taken a cue from SMS is moot: apparently the Twitter creators were inspired by the way police and emergency services use radio, so terseness was an aesthetic choice.
The last time I tested it aaages ago, Twitter didn't enforce the encoding-based limitations, and if you sent a 140 character tweet full of unicode, it would actually send you several concatenated SMS.
It'd be interesting to see a Twitter clone where people could only communicate in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Q_code (i.e. a code + its predefined strongly-typed parameters.)
could? You still can:
If these were fresh potential customers it would be one thing, but convincing someone to come back who already tried your product is much harder
This article is from August, but nothing has especially changed since then.
As someone not in the social network, what it looks like is that there may be some value to me if I get involved, but I'll likely have to deal with bullshit to do so, and the perception is that the bullshit is much more assured than the value. Whether this is valid, or more specifically whether the relative assessments of each feature are accurate, is unknown, but that's how it feels.
I do use it to follow some devs, but every time I step out the established circle into an hashtag or suggestion is nothing but marketing bots oneupping each other.
On the other social is easier to have real social interaction, while talking on twitter is more like people screaming in a crowd plus there are these big tv set all over the place loudness to the max splourting ads.
It was a nice way to grow an asymmetric network built on shared interest as opposed to shared connections when there where genuine people on it but I hardly even login anymore.
Beyond that, using a card would force users to attach a real identity to their account, even if it's not public. A lot of people wouldn't like the idea of that.
I think the majority of consumers have zero issues with it. And the people who do and ALSO care about identity/anonymity definitely could just get some pre-paid card.
My guess is less than 10,000.
I'd say more than 10.000 in just USA alone. Even if you up it to $5 a month. Twitter is used a lot by those who use twitter.
I do, yet I still think this should be experimented with. If an account I follow tends to post longer messages, I can deal with seeing only the first line of them.
(Note: I'm not convinced long-tweets are "the killer idea" others seem to think - like someone else put it, the reader's attention is the limited resource, not the service's ability to publish characters. I don't scroll thru Wordpress/LiveJournal/LongReads on the train or while waiting for coffee...
And RCS is being deployed. Eventually the character limit will be irrelevant anyway.
Isn't (or maybe "wasn't") the intention of the check mark to differentiate legitimate public figures from those who would attempt to create fake profiles and impersonate them? Lately it seems like anyone who has had any sort of notoriety has been getting one, but if you could just pay for it instead that would completely defeat the purpose.
If you're a big enough public figure to want/need the blue tick, you're arguably making commercial use of twitter already, so you probably have a marketing budget that can sink a thousand bucks a year into maintaining your verified status with Twitter (in addition to proving your identity in usual ways).
If some famous person doesn't want to pay, that's fine: either quit using twitter's platform to market yourself, or continue but live without the tick.
And a few have become the victims of imposters who attempt to disrupt their careers by taking on their identity and messaging comedy clubs or TV networks or whatever. I don't think they are an untapped revenue stream.
"The blue verified badge on Twitter lets people know that an account of public interest is authentic.
We approve account types maintained by users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. If you believe your account is of public interest and should be verified, this article outlines information about submitting a request."
I never understood why their home page is so basic. Is it just to reduce load on their servers from lurkers?
Which is an admission of weakness in the first place. If the product is good enough, they wouldn't need to resort to anything special to enroll users beyond a sign up button up top.
I can sort of understand requiring that to try to combat the creation of spam accounts, for instance. But it made the service pretty much unusable for me.
Unless it's as easy to create an account there as it is to create one here or at reddit, I'll never bother with Twitter.
Then flag immediately as a bot and refuse to let you do anything without a phone number.
Lame Twitter. Lame.
That's a great one. The current process is very clunky from the user end. I can't imagine how clunky it is from the business side. Probably like a ticket system with no priorities, dates, state [open/closed/etc].
Twitter generally needs to get a lot better at predicting what you'll be interested in (think Pandora.) Just based on the IP they should be able to tell a lot. Tweets that have been recently favorited, retweeted etc. in just your area would make a very decent default view (band coming to town! metro closure! the mayor is a jerk! etc.). Once you create an account they should also be able to predict a lot based on your activity. Oh, and please give us a Hide Tweet button. There are talkative people I'd still like to follow - but maybe a little less.
On a related note, we built a bot that recommends an event based on your tweet+profile. The amount of times we got banned what could be a useful service is off the charts. Twitter needs to engage more with devs rather than block them whenever they can.
The 140 character limit is what Twitter is most known for, and sets it apart from a typical social network.
It's something like a body-mark of Twitter.
It should stay.
Something has to change, and that something will necessarily not be held in common with Facebook.
Which costs would you cut?
It's a greenfield space no one else is really jumping upon yet. Focus may have turned to on-demand TV, but people still want to watch sports live, and Twitter already has acquired some of those deals as the sport franchises get more comfortable with online distribution. Trump's tweets, the presidential debates broadcast on Twitter and the fact people turn to Twitter during breaking news make it a logical extension to move into news and possibly finance too.
Twitter's modern-day utility seems very low outside of news/sports/politics and the average joe has moved their engagement to more visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat where it is much easier to create and consume more personal content and updates.
Twitter would also be able to focus their monetization and advertising efforts around a much tighter content and audience niche. Plus consumers are used to paying for some of this premium content, making monetization of a freemium model even easier.
Twitter has tremendous utility for the medical community. I am final year medical student and through twitter can follow worldwide leaders in emergency medicine (my field of interest). These doctors post clinical factoids, cases reports, unique ekgs, and other learning points live from the wards (all de-identified to protect patients of course). They also post opinions on the latest research publications. Twitter has become my best way to stay current in medicine.
Other apps targeted for doctors have attempted this. Doximity and Figure1 are examples. But twitter has done the best job.
As a public company, Twitter has to focus on the mainstream, big numbers.
I would also suggest that Twitter refocusing to sports and news would give the specialist apps you mention (and others) a better chance at super-serving your community. Is Twitter's ephemeral nature, mixed in with non-medical updates, really the best way for you to spot trends and identify useful links? If you don't fire up the app every few hours do you risk missing a crucial link or update?
Although it's niche, you could substitute almost anything else for 'medical' and have it work. There's an equally good and thriving literary Twitter, arts Twitter, gay Twitter, black Twitter, politics Twitter, dev Twitter.
Turns out that people like their news and sports mixed in with other ephemera anyway - it's a secret that TV networks have known for decades with late night TV and 'and finally' segments on network news.
For me the point where Twitter really lost its way is when it decided to focus on being a 'media company' and drawing attention to tweets from 'public figuresrather than finding better ways to enable people to tap into and contribute to communities that matter to them.
The monetization Twitter has been able to achieve from this niche content hasn't met expectations and that niche content has also seen stalled growth.
Ephemera is what makes a sport/news/politics-aligned Twitter a much more interest proposition that routes around the negatives of the product and the value proposition on that front.
One thing that's always bugged me about twitter - its so transient. when you log on you only get a snapshot of what's happening at that moment - scrolling back through the days or weeks traffic is next to impossible because of the sheer volume of content.
But in this way, the OP of this thread is correct - Live is most definitely where twitter is king.
You have to think a little differently to design for the long tail. You can't just design one consistent experience, you have to design tools that can be used in many scenarios.
The reality is Twitter has failed as a business more than anything and this is about repositioning Twitter as a business that can be monetized.
If you can't turn it into money or growth (which Twitter is failing at right now) it won't be a thing for much longer. Twitter exists primarily as a public company to make money not to provide a service to niche communities.
Thanks for explaining that to me.
I could see paying for a tool that helped collect, filter and organize what the top people are saying and pain points in general.
What I heard davycro describe above sounds a lot like the K-12 mathematics community on Twitter dubbed the MathTwitterBlogosphere #MTBoS. It connects everyone from kindergarten teachers in France to university professors and has been a source of tremendous professional development for me over the past four years.
Are there enough other communities like us out there to be material to Twitter's business? I don't know, but the #MTBoS derives great value from having Twitter as a gathering place.
The same goes for stock traders, the network offers incredible insights.
Twitter's open communication channel might not be suited for such infoshare. Telegram/Whatsapp has potential in that area.
Would love any feedback or suggestions on how it could be improved.
Happy to offer free use to anyone on this thread looking to test out the service.
anything tagged #FOAMed (Free Open Access Medical education – often has an EM focus)
My favorites though are docs I know from away rotations and the wards. They aren't famous, but their opinions especially matter to me.
Also follow @medicalaxioms
Are you involved with software development in an amateur or professional capacity? Are you interested in startups? How did you find HN?
Do you have CS/Math (or related) education in addition to being a student of medicine?
Hope I'm not too intrusive ;)
"Hello! Today, to make world more disrupted with innovation, we pivoted Twitter to become a sports TV channel! All your tweets are gone, instead open a bottle of beer and watch this great game! 20 well-fit males kick the leather sphere! Isn't it impressive?"
That will be day when I throw out my router to the window, flush smartphone into toilet, install MS-DOS and Fidonet software.
Arguably it saved the company from going under while still enabling the original functionality for those who wanted to use it.
FWIW I'm not a sportsball fan either, but you can't argue that those of us with MS-DOS and Fidonet are in the minority. Sport is a super-majority content area that is very brand and advertiser friendly.
Checkin-based spontaneous social organization just... doesn't happen anymore, so far as I can see. Shame, because I really enjoyed it. If a new service came along which looked like it wasn't going to be evil, I might sign up and try to get my friends on board - but I wouldn't trust the foursquare people at this point.
YMMV but most of my friends who were hardcore users switched over to Swarm upon the pivot. The migration was automatic btw - Foursquare told you in the app that checkins were no longer supported and offered easy install of Swarm with the same login credentials.
"Twitter is still selling the exact same value the service offered back in 2006 — 'live commentary, live connections, live conversations' — and the only product ideas are to do what old media like television does, but worse: becoming the first screen for what is happening now means a screen that is smaller, more laggy, and, critically, in the way of seeing the actual tweets one might care about. It’s also an example of the worst sort of product thinking: simply doing what was done before, but digitally." 
Trying to replicate live TV - a market whose margins are currently contracting - is likely to mean preparing for a bloodbath.
I've seen other posts mentioning timeline changes, protocol changes, and opening up the API ecosystem, but I don't see any of these changes actually affecting Twitters bottom line.
Twitter is a great place to discuss what's going on right now. Whether it be sports, a natural disaster, political debate, news, etc. Twitter needs to be the place to go when you want social commentary / news on what's happening RIGHT NOW.
I think there's something TV-ish that's possible, but Netflix level? That seems difficult both in licensing and execution. However, I will agree what you propose now appears to be their end game. #hattip
But the app brings in so much clutter, and the interface is poor for quickly incoming tweets...
What's the evidence for this claim? In academia, Twitter is super important, much more than Facebook or any other social platform. Academics are addicted to Twitter and I think you could charge them, e.g., for tweets longer than 140 characters.
"the switching costs for the user have to be reduced" The rise of smart TVs with apps will lead to ever easier delivery of streamed programming to traditional mediums such as TV, while also opening new viewing experiences on mobile, tablet and computer.
I would create a system where subscription to News on Twitter helps to automate payment for individual articles.
1. The lede or quote gets pulled into the tweet.
2. http://t.co becomes a payment-debiting gateway (402 Payment Required).
Almost everybody would benefit from this arrangement:
- Users would no longer need to buy multiple newspaper subscriptions.
- Journalists would be better positioned to ask for revenue share.
- Publishers could gain a larger paying market without needing to
coax user's through the account creation and subscription signup hoops.
- Someone else owning and displaying their content.
- Someone else owning data on their viewers.
- Not being able to set their own prices.
For those reasons, I don't see any chance of serious publishers being interested in this sort of deal. There's just very little in it for them.
All publishers with paywalls have massive bounce-rates due to people not wanting to subscribe. This would help them make more money.
Facebook tried a similar approach with Instant Articles and the only publications that have jumped on it are the ones that are desperate for revenues. Big media companies are playing the long game. Content is king.
Regarding bounce rates, this is not as big of a deal as you think. There are many examples where paywalls have increased the overall revenue. https://medium.com/@getdrizzle/paywalls-are-on-the-rise-with...
In the end, news is a business like any other. The number of users doesn't matter, it's the size of their wallet that does.
> Micropayments on that level are a race to the bottom.
> Why read The Times content when you can be presented
> with a similar article written by some blogger.
I'm not talking about the big companies that publish clickbait and make money through advertising at scale. I'm talking about smaller, niche, high-quality magazines and newspapers that need to show people that they're worth subscribing to. And that would like a more granular version of a subscription that allows more people to read them (instead of having to make their content freenium or free).
 You cannot talk about fungibility of publishers in one paragraph and then turn back on that to say 'content is king' in the next: you either believe one or the other.
Most articles today can be substituted with lower-cost versions of the same articles (news/reviews are good examples of this). There's your fungibility. Regardless though, publishers still hold onto their content, because it's one thing that Twitter/Facebook is lacking.
The problem with this though is it would probably encourage more junk content and instead of annoying ads we'll get more clickbait.
Basically turn it into an online Newspaper stand where I can read gated content without having to give out my personal info. or remember a username/password (to anything but Twitter.)
This might cause some niche, non-clickbaity magazines that do not have good web presences to become more interested in publishing content online.
Let the payment gateway link to whatever payment method(s) you already have, set a limit for automatic payment per day, and make it one-click ("Buy this article"), or even optionally zero-click below a trivial threshold (e.g. 10¢).
If you hit the daily limit, ask for confirmations, passwords, etc.
- Have more options for blocking, including "block this person and everyone who follows them or followed them within last N days"
- Fix trending topic spam. Seriously, how is this so bad? Free advice: for every trending topic a tweet mentions over 1 in a single tweet, the probability that it's spam asymptotically approaches 1.
- Allow an unambiguous, never "played with", chronological timeline. Have a separate view that's your ML playground. The "In case you missed it" and "tweets you might like" features are good but I don't want them randomly appearing in my timeline.
- Allow alternate clients, even if you have to charge a fee.
- Similarly, create a separate free developer-focused API but clearly identify all tweets posted via that as "bot" and allow people to never see tweets posted by a bot, or tweets posted by a bot @ them. Tweets posted from the "alternative client" paid API would not be subject to this marking.
- Identify "sleeper cell" bots -- accounts inactive for a long time that suddenly become active, usually around a single topic, concurrent with many similar bots, and aggressively ban them.
- Do more and better things with Lists. Don't just show me 3 people to follow (usually clearly just based on the last person I looked at). Show me algorithmically curated suggested lists, popular lists, allow me to sort those by # of members, easily find lists that user X belongs to, etc., mark lists as low quality/harassment vehicles. Surface good content shared by my interest lists somewhere other than the timeline.
- My personal #1: give me the likestream of the people I follow. This is easily more interesting than their actual tweets, at least to me. Something like a quarter of my usage these days is visiting individual accounts "Likes" pages. At least use this data in the aforementioned algorithmic curation of Lists/suggested follows.
Turning Twitter around doesn't mean fixing annoyances for current users. I agree with all of your points, but I'm already a user.
1) Many people have already tried Twitter and gotten confused, then left. How does Twitter get them to try again?
2) How do you increase revenue per user? How do you monetize on the massive accounts (e.g. @POTUS)?
3) How do you improve engagement beyond news, politics, and internet arguments?
A lot of users are not comfortable with browsing using many tabs. I've seen it myself a lot of times, and I suspect it's the main reason FB and Twitter started using modals in the same window lately.
I disagree. The alternate to a vision you may not agree with is not having two visions. Use data to support one not both.
But you're totally right. For me, the "you might like X" or "here's what you missed" is garbage someone is flinging in my lap. But for other people, whose feed may be too chaotic or moving too fast, it's probably the perfect way to consume twitter.
At the very least, the topic attribution should be divided into separate buckets, the way search engines tried(do?) with meta-tags.
Why? I use twitter maybe once in a few months, why should I get banned for that?
like, if they implemented every single one of your suggestions -- you think that would "turn Twitter around"? i'm not sure i believe it.
What I really want is a global, public messaging protocol with Twitter-like pub-sub and integration points for secure third party apps including rich-media support and federated/individual controls for trust. And a flying pony.
Twitter's payroll (to say nothing of its stock-based compensation expense) is bloated. Slashing staff isn't a popular play. This is a textbook private equity deal.
Twitter's habit of ringing in the year with $500MM losses could be single-handedly cut with a 2/3rd staffing reduction (which costs lots in payroll and $800MM in stock-based compensation expense). How much of Twitter's $2bn in revenue would evaporate post-cuts. Over half? Still leaves $750MM of pre-tax income before R&D ($800MM in the FYE 2015). Cut that R&D budget in half, say you lose a further 25% of revenues, and you still have $160MM before taxes yielding $100MM of net income. That's worth $1bn to $2.5bn.
If you can grow that to $500MM over 4 or 5 years, you could sell it for ~20x. Discount back at 10% or 20% and you have an optimistic valuation of $4 to $7bn.
Twitter's trading at just under $12bn. I suppose I'd bid $3.50 per share and be willing to entertain someone talking just under $10 a share.
It would be even better to find a buyer at ten times the current price! Unfortunately, reality isn't so pliant.
Twitter had, as of the end of 2016, $3.8bn of cash and short-term investments on their balance sheet . They also have $500MM of current liabilities and $1.6bn of long-term debt. This leaves $1.7bn of "free" cash.
Excluding financing activities, Twitter's operations and investments have lost about $450MM a year for the past three years ($1.0bn in 2014, $520MM in 2015 and a net gain of $165MM in 2016). So we're talking a few years until Twitter's face meets dirt.
It's a better bet to wait than lock yourself into an unsustainable valuation.
OK, so you've found a buyer; what's the buyer to do to turn Twitter around?
I want twitter to be a feed of thoughts an opinions from people I respect, or important updates from companies I'm interested in.
I see a secondary value from twitter by people contributing to a conversation around an event, be that a sports game, a site outage, a traffic jam or an unfolding natural disaster.
Filtering out / systemically discouragingly a lot of the countless low-value/self promotional posts alongside a better hashtag (channel) view would be a great start.
Twitter could be so much better by fixing a few low-hanging UX fruit like this. Three others:
* let me zoom in on a picture without having to right-click and "Open image in new tab". I can't believe I actually have to point this out.
* text docs as attachments (like pics/videos). A stream of tweets from the same author, replying to each other is kinda cute once, not so much the next n000 times.
* it would be nice if any videos actually played in my incredibly weird rare browser (some thing called Chromium)
This just reflects real life. It's not a Twitter problem.
I'm not saying its easy to find quality Twitter users to follow - but its certainly easy to unfollow bad users.
Twitter could certainly improve their algorithms that recommend people to follow, surface good content, etc.
Without getting into specifics, I was constantly blown away by the trends we were able to discover just with simple techniques.
Twitter sells its data, so it really only pencils out for analytics companies like Crimson Hexagon to be B2B. If I were Twitter, I might recognize this as an opportunity to build good in-house filtering tools that are available to their users.
...write books. It was never so easy buying books like today, so I don't get why I should waste my time reading #random #unimportant #stuff written by some social media managing intern from Bangalore.
Whenever we strive for both 'quality' (of information, talk/debate, etc.) and 'brevity', we end up with the exact opposite of books: traits d'esprit as they say in french, #randomWordPlays of the empty kind that made Levi Strauss hypothesize that humans didn't really form sentences but rather patched together chunks of expressions they had memorized (he was proven wrong by linguistics later on, but damn was his assumption so impeccably fitting much of the anthropological data). See any bland instance of "cheesy jpeg + logically flawed pensum" boasting thousands of likes/reshares circa 2017 to prove this point.
It's nothing new either, for as long as documented human societies existed, mind-numbing memes apparently were part of the landscape. For about as long, some (always much fewer) people prefered reading books. Or even writing them.
I don't think Twitter can ever be anywhere but at the far opposite side of books and quality discourse. Or it would become something else. Twitter is meant for remarks, quick-shot killer moves, and plugs. It's basically an ad board for opinion, and you've made a sale when someone likes/shares your tweet. Some people might defigure the sacred columns with a Shakespeare quote here and there, but vandalizing its culture is the only way to make a smart tweet.
I think it's OK that Twitter is 'dumb', as in non-filtering. Neutral towards speech, unpurposed. We need that too, just like we need curated libraries. It's fine that people have a place to vent and unwind. So long as they don't mistake that for an actual forum of opinion, let alone representative of anything but the few 'influencers' and their circles.
That's EXACTLY what is is for me... because I only follow people I respect and companies I'm interested in.
"He who knows does not speak; he who speaks does not know."
I originally thought this was an Israeli saying, because that's the only people I've heard quote it (usually journalists, referring to bloviating politicians). Turns it it's originally Laozi.
Twitter is really an unpleasant site to use for following discussions of any sort. When I click a thread-view for a post, I want to see a clear tree-view of all of the posts and replies like any other sane website, not the current flat-layout bullshit wherein you have no clue what the chronology of anything is, or who is responding to what.
There are a lot of good ideas in this thread for how twitter can refocus and monetize itself, but I think before all that you need to make it a site that more people enjoy using beyond its original use case of "waiting at the airport -- hmu".
(It's more a visualization style than a reddit-like threaded conversation interface, but it might accomplish what you are referring to)
I'd recommend including the actual text next to or below the user's avatar instead of in a separate view.
"Imagine a Twitter app that, instead of a generic Moment that is little more than Twitter’s version of a thousand re-blogs, let you replay your Twitter stream from any particular moment in time. Miss the Oscars gaffe? Not only can you watch the video, you can read the reactions as they happen, from the people you actually care enough to follow. Or maybe see the reactions through someone else’s eyes: choose any other user on Twitter, and see what they saw as the gaffe happened.
What is so powerful about this seemingly simple feature is that it would commoditize “live” in a way that is only possibly digitally, and that would uniquely benefit the company: now the experience of “live” (except for the shock value) would be available at any time, from any perspective, and only on Twitter. That such a feature does not exist — indeed, that the company’s stated goal is to become more like old media, instead of uniquely leveraging digital — is as good an explanation for why the company has foundered as any."
Usually when going for publication, you'd replace these quotes with references to previous chapters, typically in footnotes.
2. Experiment and find the right point between monetizing users and those that get the most value out of Twitter. Right now users' eyeballs are being bled dry, and getting their experience ruined with tons of ads, and timeline shuffling. It feels like those with tons of followers are getting a free ride at the expense of everyone else.
3. Introduce meaningful timeline features such as:
3a. Ability to follow #hashtags/topics instead of just people and companies. Curated "Moments" are a weak substitute.
3b. Follow geographical areas of interest (e.g. Top Tweets in Oakland, SOMA etc.)
3c. Ability to explore Twitter geographically. Again, I feel this is a huge and untapped. Heard something crazy happen over your neighborhood? Pull up an map and explore what people are saying around there.
4. Actually do something about trolls (Perhaps a reputation system?)
5. Clamp down on bots. Why is it even possible to follow 300k or a few million people?
6. Slim down the workforce, by a lot, unfortunately. I don't think a sustainable Twitter can ever be a large as it is today.
7. Bigger focus on live TV + discussion
8. Fix search: Its awful and nearly useless unless you put in a ton of effort in "advanced search". Top results are often times just the same retweets and news articles over and over again.
I could keep going...
Offering the ability to follow hashtags in their current form would simply lead to more hashtag spam.
However I agree with your basic premise that following topics and geographical Tweets would be very useful. One of the main reasons I built GroupTweet. Allow people to form and manage "group" topical or location based accounts with any number of contributors while giving some admin controls like limiting approval to all or only select participants, moderation, etc.
Would love any feedback and suggestions on how we could improve to make your suggestions more of a reality.
1) Trolls love twitter. The legion of racist eggs sowing destruction for no other reason than their own nihilistic enjoyment is an existential threat to the business and must be culled. The company and the trolls cannot live together in peace. One or the other will die. It feels like twitter hasn't figured out it's them or you. There can be no 1st amendment compromise here. These guys are ruining you for fun. They gotta go.
2) Public figures. It's a good platform for them. Cull the trolls and they'll stay, bringing an audience of
3) Regular people, who need a nice feedback loop of people interacting with their tiny little voices. Twitter is pretty shitty at this right now-- if you don't have an audience, you're shouting into the void and are eventually going to figure out you're wasting your time and quit. This is shitty for engagement and it's sinking twitter. Facebook figured this out already. Just copy them.
4) The last group is "brands" and for-profit companies who are your actual customers, but who would like to free ride on the platform, soaking up the attention of the regular people for free. If they want access, they gotta pay. No free riding for non-people. Facebook also figured this one out. If you're not a human, and not a public figure, and you want the attention of humans, pay up. Twitter is also slowly figuring this out.
There's a virtuous cycle of engagement here, and Twitter is slowly getting it straight, but they gotta cull a lot of trolls, spammers, and free riders, and that's going to hurt their monthly usage numbers. The management of that haircut is probably over my pay grade, but it seems like they're slowly getting it together with the algorithmic timeline. Had to be done. Livelock is a real thing for people who don't tweet professionally.
I've been hearing this since trolling was invented on Usenet. No one is going to rid the Internet of trolls unless all of the big players enforce RealName™ and we all know how well that ended. "Culling the trolls" means different things to different people, and probably almost every one of us has at some time in our internet lives posted something that another group would consider trolling.
> they gotta cull a lot of trolls, spammers, and free riders, and that's going to hurt their monthly usage numbers.
From the handful of times I've clicked on a link to a tweet and then wandered around, I would bet that the trolls, spammers, and free riders make up something like 98% of their users, so I'm not sure this would really solve anything, since presumably their gross revenue is driven by the numbers of users.
And you're right-- there's a haircut that's got to happen at twitter. I don't know whether they'll survive it, but it's going to happen either way.
Revenue is driven by usage. Actual usage. They sell eyeballs. They can defraud their customers (the purchasers of said eyeballs), but only for a time. I think, as an article of faith admittedly, that you're better off being straight about it, but I've never piloted a ship that big, so what do I know?
Also, in a world of bubbles, how is a less free an open Twitter better? Is a Twitter with no controversy, with no argy bargy, really worth visiting?
I think Twitter's problem with trolls is minuscule compared to the problem of making it more entertaining, and easier to switch in and out of thoughts. If I like the NBA, cricket and South African politics, how do I switch between those three interests when, say, there is an NBA finals and a local election on? That is a problem much more so than trolls.
Twitter was fine and good and groundbreaking at one point, but the naive implementation of a social network they cling to as a moral stand is obsolete for a billion dollar company. One who is more than large enough to game for profit or lulz.
They're going to adapt or they're going to die. Possibly both.
This solves the problem of timeline being unreadable once you subscribe to enough people. Ain't nobody got time to read all that crap. Once everyone is rate-limited, everyone can easily digest their timeline. Without length limit, tweets become more thoughtful.
4. Fix the UI. Make it easy to view replies. Make it easy to view embedded images. Make it lean and fast. That would give Twitter advantage over similarly bloated services.
5. Anti-trolling measures. This one is really obvious! There should be no indication that you're blocked by another person, they just don't see you anymore. If the blocked person doesn't know they're blocked, they don't get the satisfaction of being blocked, and they don't know when they need to create another account to annoy you. This should be the basic rule when you implement a blocking feature.
6. Open up API. This one is obvious.
+10 to this. The signal to noise on Twitter is terrible.
Pretty sure I'm using it "wrong", but my likelihood of following someone on Twitter is generally inversely proportional to their number of tweets per day.
Of course, there are always counter examples, famous people that don't tweet at all, or people posting dumb shit and not getting followers. That tweet to follower ratio has some variation. Quality matters too and it helps if people have a following outside of Twitter.
But still, I'd say that your likelihood of following someone is not representative of other Twitter users.
That post length limit is what made Twitter interesting for me. This is being identified as a problem, however there's always Facebook and Google+ that don't have a limit. Twitter will not succeed by copying competitors.
> 2. Limit the number of tweets per day instead. 3. You can pay to remove the above limit.
People will never pay for removing such limits. They'll simply switch service once it gets annoying enough. This is the flaw in the logic of people that are anti ads as a business model. Basically people will not pay up unless there's scarcity and artificial scarcity doesn't really work.
Such a strategy would also be really unwise, because from my own observations, a majority of Twitter users are fairly silent, being content consumers rather than producers. So alienating those users that produce content for you is not the best strategy.
So what happens if instead of having 1,000 x 140 char tweets cluttering your timeline, you instead wind up with 100 x 1400 char tweets? Do you have time to read all that?
* Let Evan return as CEO (merge with Medium)
... this will restore Twitter management to the situation around 2010, then ...
* Reform or cancel the Trust & Safety council
* Restore open API access and app ecosystem
* Remove side wide censorship tools, add self censorship tools (a la Gab)
* Reverse the timeline changes
* Stop pandering to far left ideologues
Something like that?
The fact that Feminist Frequency is on the "safety council" should tell you enough about it and how useless it is.
Second, on a practical level, how did this happen? Someone from Saudi Arabia called up a Twitter executive and said "hey we think your platform could use more feminist perspectives" and they were like "oh yes, this makes perfect sense coming from you, and as you own 5% of our company we take your word as gospel"?
And obviously, what does Marxism have to do with feminism?
Sorry if you were joking, sometimes it's very hard to tell.
Whose tools are that?
I'm not aware of any such pandering. Care to give some examples?