Is Twitter trying to kill itself?
That’s the question I’m asking, because it sure seems like it. Here are a list of things I do not like about Twitter currently and many have to do with “innovations” meant to “help” and by “help”, I mean help Twitter not use as much bandwidth.
1. See Everything: Remember when you could see conversations with people even if you weren’t following both participants? I want that feature back, please. Make it something people can turn on and off. I found the best, most interesting people this way…by watching their conversations with other people. It’s a great way to learn, too.
2. Retweet: I read Evan’s rationalization. Here’s what he said:
If five people you follow retweet the same thing, you get five copies, which can be useful but it a lot of noise. This comes up even more in search. Popular users can get retweeted enough to saturate a search query.
This is a way, Evan, to ascertain the importance of a topic to people. I’m often shocked by what gets RT’d. In fact, some things turn into a trending topic because they touch a nerve. It is unpredictable. I don’t mind seeing 30 RT’s in my stream of the same thing. I like it. Now, I can see Twitter not liking it, because again, it takes up space. And this new innovation is all about saving space…for Twitter.
Then, Evan says this:
The other thing some people will not like is that, unlike organic RTs, there’s no way to annotate or leave your own comment when you retweet something with the new system.
This is a problem. Already, I have followers who think I agree with something because I RT it. Many times, I add a comment. It CAN get confusing. Whatever. People see the content morph and can jump in and question. It provokes conversation. And my comments, my take might make the RT relevant in a way that a random RT unannotated would not.
For example, a simple word | “Snort” after some stupid comment can indicate that this tweet is either stupid and/or ridiculous and/or funny. People usually get which.
Again, I only see Twitter benefiting from this feature, not the users. It makes streams less cloggy. Okay, fine. You know what? Make these “features” opt-in/out.
Twitter can be a messy, difficult to follow mish-mash. Oh well. It’s social. It’s conversation where a person is going in and out of the stream. What’s wrong with that? Why does it have to be “clean”?
Some of the fluff is dealt with in 3rd party Apps anyway. A person can filter. And Evan says that a person will only get the info they want. But that’s just it. People can follow the people they want who give the content they want or don’t want. Some is bunk, but every once in a while, there will be something really good. How do you control for that gem?
What I see Twitter doing is trying to take the humanity out of the Twitter–to make this social media less social and more pure information sharing. Yuck. I like Twitter because it’s like the best, hand picked group of friends I could ever want all sharing stuff but sometimes being amazingly juvenile (like the Star Wars Sex meme). That’s called being social and human. It’s fun.
Streamlining Twitter might be nicer for Twitter, taking less bandwidth and server space, but what of the user experience? I already don’t like missing so many conversations. What if I could just have a way to watch all conversations by the people I chose? What if I could RT w/o comment or with comment (tagged, for example) with a pop-out like the TwitPic–a cloud around the original comments with people’s comments?
The solution isn’t to pare information, it’s to make more information accessible. At least, that’s the solution I’d be shooting for.