Dear Twitter, Change or Die
With the news that Twitter’s CEO for the past five years, Dick Costolo, will be leaving the company, I couldn’t help but go over in my mind everything we’ve all been asking for years from Twitter. If it wants to continue to improve the user experience, Twitter needs more innovation, adaptation and demonstration.
Twitter has been one of the most stagnant platforms out there. The news of Costolo’s forthcoming departure came around the same time the company announced that it was removing the 140-character direct message limit for a 10,000 character limit. Hold on, stop the presses! Seriously, that is not innovation.
At the beginning, Twitter was two things to people: a source of news and information, as well as a fast messaging and communication platform. It is rapidly losing the communication side to messaging apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp and sharing media via Instagram.
Related: Dick Costolo Out as CEO of Twitter
My social-media firm Fuel Online has polled random users, as well as clients, and discovered that while people may have not deleted their accounts people have simply uninstalled the app, or turned off notifications. So they may follow you, but they aren’t seeing your tweets.
I know my own retweets, favorites and replies are 10 percent to 25 percent of what they used to be. That’s a huge problem. Twitter is still a powerhouse for receiving up-to-the-second breaking news, but even for that to remain useful the company needs to clean up the noise and help ensure we see what we want to see.
As Twitter searches for a new full-time CEO, the company better make change and innovation a real priority. Here’s a look at Twitter’s big issues and some potential fixes.
Too much noise.
We want to subscribe to people we like but we don’t want all of trolling, or the noise like tweet chats. People are constantly unfollowing in hopes of getting less “noise.”
Solution: How about filters that allow us to hear what we want to hear. Specific hashtags would allow highly talkative people or tweet chats to remain invisible to the masses.
Another idea is a Tab for verified actual news accounts or sources.
Limited shelf life of a tweet.
Very few people go back through their time lines and read through hundreds or thousands of tweets every day.
Solution: Create a way for the content of our favorite personalities or people to remain at the top pinned, highlighted or have it resurface when we bring up the app or website. Also, content with high engagement should have longer shelf life. In other words, the tweets that get the most retweets and favorites.
No incentive for people to engage or retweet.
Seems like all anyone does today is consume content. Engagement numbers appear to be 50 percent to 80 percent less across the board, from individuals to brands.
Solution: Reward engagement with reputation -- maybe similar to an eBay score or forum rating mechanism. The higher your number the more likely your engagement will be noticed via a highlight, notification or display in streams. Or perhaps create a perks system for the highly active users. Enticing people to engage will reward content producers for their time and effort with a simple retweet or comment, and it will go a long way.
Another perk here would be to allow people to select what level of reputation score they want to see on a daily basis or maybe have highlighted to them with a notification.
So, Twitter, please change before you die a slow death, turning into nothing but a news aggregator, or celebrity fan machine. Having users is one thing, having users that actually use your product is another.
Listen to your user base, and listen to the social-media experts and journalists who championed your product. A partial pivot is needed now. Aside from fixing the issues, how about innovating a bit, please?