As I mentioned in my WordCamp talk, Twitter, in its most basic form is a content management system (CMS). Given how incredibly popular the platform is, one would expect that users could manage content on it with ease. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Here are 10 ideas that Twitter can use to improve their features and user experiences.
1. Tag Posts
I think that if people could tag their posts, especially for heavy use Tweeters who use Twitter for business, lifestreaming, and so on, then individuals could choose which tag stream to follow. This type of filtering capability would be greatly welcomed. In some cases, I don’t care about a colleague’s baby’s first everything, but I do want to read what they have to say about topics in their field. If I could filter and follow just the professional posts, that would be helpful. Similarly, using the tags to help with topic/theme-related threading in general would be useful.
2. Filter Your Searches
Currently, Google has a flexible way to search through old tweets, help identify trends by time/date, topic and location, in real-time, and even provides a graph. This is a feature that Twitter should have implemented from the start. Twitter users should be able to easily edit their searches by simple filtering, in the same manner that “Google Updates” does this.
3. Older Posts
Twitter could make it a lot easier to search for older posts. Almost every single time I look for an older entry, a message appears saying that they are not available at this time. Argh!
4. Third-Party Integration
Rather than making users rely on third-party software such as TweetDeck, HootSuite, and so on, why not simply integrate the most popular features of those products right into Twitter. This company called Microsoft seems to have done that very well (even if they did end up in trouble for it from time to time). A handful of small features is very different from a full operating system, after all.
5. Better Social Media Platform Integration
In addition to the point above, Twitter could benefit by making it easier to integrate other platforms. For example, I would like my tweets to appear on Facebook without the use of third party software.
6. Allow Editing of Past Tweets
We don’t have to fear changing history as we already have self-interested, incredibly biased school boards to thank for that. Rather, I don’t like typos and as a prolific writer, they do appear from time to time. I would like to be able to go back and change my wording, links, and so on.
7. Allow Text in Links
I’m an SEO expert and always cringe when I see links with anchor text such as “click here” rather than useful, somewhat descriptive text. Twitter makes this even worse, as it only allows for gibberish-looking URLs and shortened URLs. Even if there is a “nofollow” in the link, I’d prefer to see text with a link.
8. Twitter Groups
I”m not talking about lists where you can add others but rather opt-in groups where people can join. If you want to send a group message, it will be limited to those who have joined.
9. Pre-established Posts
While some people think that automated, timed posts defeat the purpose of Twitter, that’s a short-sighted view. It’s like saying that using WordPress as a CMS is stupid because it was originally designed as a blogging platform. The nature of today’s technological innovations is such that people will often find new ways to use them, beyond their original intended purpose. Twitter is flooded with marketers and companies using it for marketing and branding purposes so it’s logical to assume that there is a need for prepared posts. Currently, you can use programs like Later Bro, HootSuite, and TweetDeck to do this but it’s something that I would like to see in Twitter itself.
10. Catch & Kill the Fail Whale
It’s time to land the fail whale and gut it so that we don’t see it anymore! It would be best as a relic of the past, to be listed in Wikipedia but no longer encountered or discussed by Twitter users, only to be mentioned as something from the “old days.” Improve monitization through advertising, upselling of features, whatever, just do it so that you can afford better servers and the whale will be history!
Just because there’s gold in simplicity, it doesn’t mean that Twitter has to be so limited. A mere handful of features can add a tremendous amount of value to the service while still maintaining its quick, easy, on-the-go-updates, and industry-leading microblogging status.
What Would You Like to See?
People with varying degrees of needs and use will have their own needs. If you have your own suggestions, please go ahead and add them below.