Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Why are Twitter threads so common? What makes them better than a real and accessible blog post? I don't condemn threads, but the user interface and reading experience is so awful that I cannot like them as they currently are.

It's difficult to navigate forward or backward in a thread, specially when there are a lot of tweets, as every few tweets it has to load more. Plus, every tweet can have its own replies, so it's hard to read comments or reactions.

The only thing I find useful in threads is that, since every sentence is a separate tweet, it's easy to share a particular point in a conversation by sharing the URL for that particular tweet.




#1 reason has to be the low overhead. You could say having to include a counter is overhead, but it's still less than setting up your own blog and fragmenting your online presence into some other platform that wants you to publish there all the time.

#2 is that your followers are much more likely to read a thread, since a thread of length N will appear in your timeline at least N times. I often scroll through my feed and see a (28/30) marker, view the thread and read the rest of it. (Yes, 30 whole tweets!) If you tweeted out a link to an article you wrote 30 times, nobody would follow you. Some people will tweet twice for people in other timezones, but that's all you can get away with for out-of-band links.

#3 is that a thread often evolves out of discussion that's already on Twitter, and must participate where that discussion is happening at the time. Reacting to fast-paced news is a key one. Take this example: Josh Chafetz (the constitutional law professor, not the Congressman) watches Twitter respond to the Arpaio pardoning, and tweets a thread on why people are hot-taking it wrong[^1]. The next day, he turns it into an op-ed[^2]. But what good is an op-ed about rushed hot-takes a day late?

[^1]: https://twitter.com/joshchafetz/status/901244717115080706

[^2]: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/0...

Edit: I wouldn't be surprised if Twitter made thread counters a first-class feature. People use the platform how they want, and it will stretch to do what is needed.


Regarding #1, you could post it to some site like JustPaste.it (no affiliation, just found it via Google) and tweet the link. Chirr App itself could publish it on its servers and tweet the link with a single button.

#2 and #3, fair enough, though both of them sound like anti-features (spam, and fast soundbites over longer explanations) to me.


I can't say for others, but personally, for me, threads brought back the interest in Twitter. A thread allows to express much more than a single tweet, yet the limitation forces authors to be concise. Reading replies allows to discovering opinions from outside of the social circle from people, I don't follow. Also, threads are a nice way to tell a story.

As the maker, I'm definitely biased and the Twitter UI isn't perfect, but I believe it's a step in the right direction.


> What makes them better than a real and accessible blog post?

The audience. You want people to read your stuff, put it where the eyeballs are. And while threads do have a bit of friction to them, it's quite a lot less friction than opening J. Random Link, especially on mobile.


Twitter threads are still more concise than a long form blog post where you have no limits on the verbosity of your thoughts.

Twitter helps me as a writer to communicate more concisely. The same goes for Twitter threads.

Also, as others have mentioned you post where your audience is if your goal is for others to read it.


I think this is pretty straightforward actually: the UX of a Twitter thread sucks, but only a little bit less than opening a link and waiting for the page to load. People don't want to leave their Twitter client. Twitter needs to allow long tweets, which they could do with virtually no disruption to the existing Twitter UX.


Except it'd change the whole dynamic of Twitter as the restriction forces people to communicate in a certain way. Allow "long" tweets and people will just use the space and it'll be a nightmare to read a timeline, like a giant multi-user Tumblr..


They wouldn't have to change the timeline much at all, except to add some kind of 'expand' feature.




Applications are open for YC Winter 2022

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: