5 Changes Twitter should consider – Part 1
Below, I present some changes that In my opinion would enhance the user experience and take Twitter to another level. I know any or all of these changes could be risky as Twitter has had no problems growing in its original state, but it does seem the growth has slowed and user retention seems to be an ongoing issue. In my humble opinion, the platform could be greatly improved.
Yes, I realize that some of these changes are currently available in third party clients, but as for me and many other users (especially new users), Twitter.com is the place we use to access Twitter the most.
I know some of these changes I propose may be not in line with Twitter’s vision, but I definitely think they would grow and retain their userbase if implemented – which is in line with the goal of Twitter growing and becoming a major player in digital media.
If Twitter’s ultimate goal is to be a global information network, then I think some of these changes will aid in that goal as well by attracting and retaining more users to fully realize their vision of being “the” global information network.
Twitter has now hired over 150 employees and is looking to double its workforce . I suspect some big changes are coming soon, so if you like the ideas presented below please ReTweet this post and maybe someone will take notice.
So here are 5 changes that I think Twitter should consider:
Take connecting on Twitter a step further.
One of the main criticisms for most people is that Twitter’s platform limits the ability to truly connect with people on a more intimate level. Think about it for a minute and I’m sure you have some Twitter friends that you know well and like, but really don’t know at all. How nice would it be to be able to take the conversation to a whole new level beyond a daily tweet here or there.
I know you’re probably thinking that it would be hard to implement with the number of friends you have and might become overwhelming, but Twitter could limit the service to invitation only – where someone would have to invite you or has to be invited to be able to chat, just like Gmail does.
To take it a step further, they could limit it to 50 new connections a month, which would accomplish two things. Number one, it would make it more sincere if someone accepted your invitation or vice versa. Number two it could provide an excuse or reasoning to offer if someone was disappointed you did not accept his/her chat request.
This should not be just any regular chat, but a chat system similar to Gmail’s with voice and video capabilities. Chat would provide an additional way to make deeper connections and enhance user experience.
Link posting limits.
Tired of seeing 1 million links in your home stream?
80% of the tweets that come across my home screen are links. I can remember when the ratio was the opposite and people used Twitter to communicate. It seems anymore that everyone wants to share something or a spammer. This is where limits could be nice. This could be accomplished in a few different ways.
A set limit – 15 links a day and you’re done, or it could be broken down by hour, where you can only post 5 links an hour with a cap of 15 daily. Spammers would hate this as it would force them to open more accounts to reach there same level of link penetration.
Ratio of links to other tweets – Example 1 link to every 3 other tweets. This would force those hellbent on sharing every top 20 list they can find to actually converse with people and respond or engage with those that follow them and interact with them.
Home Screen Options
This would take lists to the next level.
Can you imagine having the ability to determine what you see when you click the “home” screen link? How nice would it be to have the option to see your favorite list? How nice would it be to be able to set a default “home” screen option of the content that appeared there?
The list feature is a great one, but it would be really useful if you could set a certain list as a default to display when you click your home button.
Be honest with yourself, how often do you check your lists? If you’re like me – not enough, and this change would make seeing my favorite tweeters’ tweets an easy one.
I remember when I had a few thousand friends and I could actually pay attention to the home screen. I used to sit there and hit refresh every minute or so and enjoy seeing what my friends were up to. I would jump in and out of conversations and find some great things to retweet.
A picture is worth 860 more words than a tweet.
This really needs no explanation, but Twitter should implement the ability to add a photo section to your profile.
Photos are probably the most viewed medium on Facebook, and probably where people spend the most time as well. Photos give you the ability to share your life beyond 140 characters. I love sharing photos, but would also love it if people could come to my profile and check my photos without having to search for a Twitpic link.
Speaking of Twitpic – this and many other apps are a few of the obstacles that Twitter faces. The developer community has created some amazing add-ons or features that have made Twitter what it is, and by implementing a change like this they risk pissing off the developer community. Also some developers are crushing it and a change like this could affect their livelihoods – so a fair solution would be to buy out Twitpic. In my opinion, failure to implement enhancements like this it is hurting Twitter & its users more than it is helping them.
Targeted advertising based on real conversations.
I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but get over it! Twitter needs to make money and I’m guessing the recent search deals will only go so far. This could be achieved in an unobtrusive manner that would not harm the user experience. If you own a business, think about how exciting it could be to be able to have your ad displayed based on keywords in a user’s stream.
Twitter could really step their game up and become a player in the ad space. I know my clients would be thrilled at the prospect of targeting users based on what they are tweeting about.
Think about it. You tweet that you are hungry for pizza, and a local pizza place ad pops up with a coupon for mentioning you saw the ad on Twitter. You mention to a friend that you need to get an oil change, a haircut, new car insurance, etc., etc. The possibilities are limitless and could be an exciting platform for advertisers.
I drew several comparisons to Facebook in this post for good reason. I think Facebook does an incredible job at rolling out changes and making the user experience a more user-friendly one.
It’s obvious Facebook is doing a great job when you look at time spent on the site. According to Alexa, Facebook users spend almost 3x as much time on the site when compared to Twitter.
There are several reasons beyond these changes that can’t be ignored that lend to Facebook’s numbers, but nonetheless I think these changes could help bridge the gap and drastically improve the user experience.
These are just a few modifications I see that could drastically improve user experience, make Twitter more profitable, more fun and make it a platform that is here to stay and compete with Facebook from a user experience standpoint.
I think these changes would drastically improve the platform we love called Twitter. What do you think?