Twitter is probably my favorite thing in the entire world, amongst other candidates such as alcohol, making that paper, the Mets (reluctantly), and the love of a beautiful woman. I love Twitter. I’ve done my part in keeping it afloat for years. I try to engage, stay active, post unique content, whatever I can do to keep the engine running. But Twitter as a company is dumb dumb dumb. They often don’t know what they’re doing, have no direction, and/or make bad decisions. I can romanticize the pros of Twitter ad nauseam, but the platform and company have legitimate problems. Their stock is in the toilet. Nobody wants to buy them (I nominate Amazon – shopping straight from Twitter $$$$$). Their monetization strategy stinks (they’ve yet to turn a profit yet FYI). And on and on and on.
I am going to fix Twitter with some (8) simple yet powerful changes.
I am very comfortable with the 140-character limit. That finite number has given me some headaches over the years, and you all know what I’m talking about. I can’t even guesstimate how much time I’ve spent trying to reduce a tweet down from 144 to 140 characters, abbreviating words, removing apostrophes, changing adjectives, it’s a fucking grind out here. Sure, I’ve done the chain thing because I had a lot to say, but generally speaking, 140 is more than enough. If you can’t get a witty/salient point across in 140 or less, maybe Twitter isn’t for you. It’s a challenge for the average person, but I’m not average. Being able to thrive (generate decent analytics despite having <800 followers) in a character-policed environment is not easy. But if that’s what it takes to separate the “good Tweeters” from the joe schmos, so be it. I was salty that I didn’t get the invite to the 280-character test group, but it’s all good. Don’t need it. Let those people enjoy that freedom, I’ll be out here scratching and clawing for engagement. I recommend that Twitter stands firm on the 140 cutoff (cc: Jack Dorsey).
If you ask the average Twitter user what one change they’d implement to the Twitter platform, they’d probably lobby to add an ‘Edit Tweet’ feature. I’ve read tweets about this for years. Any time Twitter makes any change, the vocal minority shouts from their rooftop how Twitter refuses to add the editing feature. I strongly, passionately, vehemently disagree. Twitter does not need an ‘Edit Tweet’ feature (cc: Jack Dorsey). With the ability to delete tweets altogether, what’s the benefit of having the option to edit? If you misspell a word or commit a little typo, just delete and redo. Am I wrong? I’m thinking long term, too. If I go back to an old tweet that has 100 RTs and change the subject matter of the tweet, that ain’t right. If the editing feature ever comes to fruition, it should wipe clean all engagement and analytics. Zero RTs, zero favorites, etc. And while we’re talking about deleting tweets, maybe let’s set a limit there, perhaps 1 tweet/day. If you say something publicly, it should remain public (to an extent).
As a self proclaimed wordsmith, Twitter has served as a great vehicle for me and my words. I feel that I can drive home a point in 140 characters or less better than most. It’s an equal playing field, right? We all have the same limitations (280 group excluded). Bold and italics would be great for Twitter. Obviously nobody wants to see 280 bold characters in all caps, but the subtleties of a good bolding or italicizing make a world of difference for anyone who has a way with words. Certainly not a game changer, but something to think about (cc: Jack Dorsey).
Twitter needs to work on the way “favorited” tweets are organized. I think they’re technically “Liked” tweets now but I’m not here to debate semantics. Is it too much to ask for a filter function on favorited tweets? If an old tweet from 2013 surfaces on my timeline and I hit that cute, little heart button, it’s essentially gone forever because favorites are organized in reverse chronological order of the tweet itself, not when I favorite it. The newest tweets are seen first with no real way around that. How about a search bar to enter keywords and filter on the subject? Boom, genius. How about listing them in the order in which they’re favorited? Boom, genius. Maybe even just archive them by month so I can easily go back and browse through some old, good tweets. There should be a practical way to sift through the archives of tweets I’ve engaged with in the past. I’m just spitballing here. This is the very first change I’d recommend for Twitter (cc: Jack Dorsey).
Speaking of liked tweets… there’s no reason why I should be seeing tweets that other people like (cc: Jack Dorsey). If the folks at Twitter want to add a “Popular” tab or build off of the “Trending” feature, then fine; add in a section of “Tweets you may like” or something like that. But I hate seeing random tweets on my timeline from people I don’t follow just because one of my followers liked it. If I wanted to see that tweet I’d follow that person. The last thing I want to see when I’m getting caught up on my Twitterfeed is “Your ex-GF liked this tweet”. You know what I’m saying? There’s really no reason for it to interrupt my timeline. Even adding the option to “show less often” is a step in the right direction, an act of good faith even. Meet me halfway.
Sponsored tweets are nothing but a nuisance to me. I get it. Business is business. Paid ads are hot. Pay-per-click marketing is big time. I don’t even understand how most of it works, but what I do know is every single time I see a sponsored tweet from a brand I do not follow on the Twitter, I hit the little drop down arrow and select “I don’t like this tweet.” Or is it “see less often”? Whichever, it’s irrelevant. I go out of my way to let Twitter know I don’t want to see ads, but they’re persistent in their mission to earn my attention. I’d pay to eliminate advertisements (cc: Jack Dorsey). Twitter can probably start turning a profit with this implementation. Every single app in the world has a premium option where you pay for no commercials, no ads, etc. Why Twitter can’t figure that out is beyond me.
Quote tweeting is one of the best improvements Twitter has made to their platform over the years. Most users probably don’t remember the days before quote tweeting. I used to have to manually “quote” tweet.
The ability to quote a tweet or “add a comment to a RT” as Twitter says has changed the game for Twitter. I love it. We all do. BUT there are limitations. You can’t quote a tweet with a GIF. Let me quote a tweet with a GIF (cc: Jack Dorsey). The optics don’t sound great as a GIF would almost automatically steal the attention from the quoted tweet, but I have the utmost confidence in the tech and design teams in Silicon Valley to adjust the interface slightly to allow for a seamless process of quote tweeting with a GIF.
In my opinion, Twitter has done a superb job in preventing spam. Here and there I’ve unfollowed/blocked/muted accounts who started tweeting primarily ads, but for the most part, I have few complaints. Maybe I’m woefully ignorant, but it seems like they monitor the links that users are tweeting. I post links all the time, mostly to this here website (give your boy an extra click and yourself an extra read). My gripe is with the thumbnail image. If only Twitter allowed for me to hand pick my thumbnail image based on the link (cc: Jack Dorsey). The links without the images look ugly, so consider this suggestion me helping you (Twitter).
There you go, Twitter. These are all FREE FREE FREE. I love Twitter and all it has done for me, so I want to give back. People helping people, no need to thank me. I contribute to Twitter on a regular bases in 140 characters or less. But this is a real contribution for the betterment of Twitter, the internet, and society. Just doing my civic duty, nothing to see here. Back to work, scratching and clawing for RTs and attention.