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Friday, 5 February 2016

Improving Twitter

Over the past 16 months I have become an all too regular member of the "Twitter-sphere", that all- encompassing, ever-chattering network of Twitterati. I guess that would make me a Twitteratus, but I think accepted term is Twitterer.

My first year was very much a learning experience, an experience I shared in an earlier post  Happy Twitterversary) While even today I cannot claim to be an expert, I have a few suggestions I would like to share. Excuse me if some of these already have solutions, of which I am unaware. If so I would welcome some guidance. In any case here are 5 suggestions which I believe could improve Twitter for all Twitterati.

5 suggestions to improve the Twitter experience


1. Allow users to rate other users

While a majority of users are polite and use Twitter for civil discourse, there are some let's face it  who do not. Some are aggressive, rude, often resorting to foul language, and some use tactics which are lets say less than conducive to good communications.

To counter this why not provide a means by which a tweeter can rate another tweeter simply with a 'like' or a 'dislike'. This rating could then be recorded as a cumulative Like/Dislike total on their Twitter profile. Each user can only put one like or dislike (not both) against a user so the total gives an indication of how well this tweeter has interacted with the community as a whole rather than just one individual.
Adding this rating could encourage more civil interaction between users as they will try not to upset even those with whom they vehemently disagree.

2. Limit the Tweet-rate within the one hashtag

There are some individuals or indeed organisations who are really propagandists. They have a habit of sending out large numbers of tweets into a specific hashtag, which will correspond to a TV or radio program. Often it is an identical tweet but sometimes it comprises a whole stream of different tweets all with similar format and images. The problem is that they monopolize the available space. Other users have to wade through dozens of identical/similar tweets in order to join the underlying 'conversation'. I am aware the 'mute' function can get hide a tweeter for one session. This helps but it still leaves the user to 'Mute' multiple times on each session. It requires the innocent tweeter to take action to avoid the maze of tweets from the propagandists.

I suggest the problem could be avoided by limiting the rate at which identical tweets can be posted or indeed the rate at which a tweeter can post tweets under the one hashtag. There are of course many ways this can be achieved.  It could be done by limiting the number of identical tweets to say one every 10 minutes or even less frequently, or limiting the rate of tweets within the one hashtag to 3 per minutes or less.
The main advantage of placing such limits as opposed to the Mute function is that it is the propagandists who have to change their behaviour rather than us casual users.

3 Providing uniformity across Twitter Apps

Many of us use multiple devices to access Twitter. However the Twitter App is different on each device, so we cannot do the same things on each. For example, on a PC one can copy a tweet and use it as a template for a response/new tweet. However copying a tweet is not possible on the IOS app.  It would make it easier for Tweeters if all features were available on all devices.

4. Notify Unfollows 

Currently Twitter notifies tweeters if they get any new followers, presumably to allow the tweeter to reciprocate. However notifications are not sent out when someone Unfollows. Not sure of the reason for this, but I think users should be notified of any Unfollows as well.

Yes the immediate impact of such a notification could be a reciprocal Unfollow, but over time users would know that this was likely and would therefore be less likely to Unfollow in the first place. So it would reduce the extent of 'Follow' then 'Unfollow' gaming.

5. Improve Hashtag management

Currently a show will advertise their hashtag for viewers and listeners to 'join the conversation'. However, quite often, the short hashtag offered is quite general, and is not unique to the show itself. For example the hashtag  #viewpoint  is used by multiple shows around the world. As a consequence a user has to search through large numbers of tweets that do not relate to their intended stream.

One way this could be addressed is; -

  • create a Hashtag table that would allow duplicates. 
  • Shows could register their hashtag together with an extended description that uniquely described the specific show. This description would be have to be unique for the one hashtag.
  • In the Twitter app when a user entered any hashtag where there were multiple registered entries, the user would be presented with a drop down list showing the unique descriptions of the registered entries and allowing the user to select the one they want.
  • This same hashtag would then default for their next tweets. 
  • If there were no registered tags processing would remain as currently.


That's my wish list, at least for now.

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