Would a 'Tweet Storm' Feature Kill Twitter?
Prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson says the social network should develop a feature that easily allows users to string together longer arguments via a series of numbered tweets. But would eliminating the platform's enforced brevity kill its central appeal?
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What is Twitter for?
The genius of the social network is that there's no one answer to the question. Twitter can be used for so many things: to broadcast updates about your life, to engage in conversations with friends, strangers, public figures and brands, to report and disseminate information, to react to or to chat about current events, from developing news stories to soapy TV shows. Its uses continue to grow and evolve; that's the magic of the platform.
Fred Wilson, a prominent venture capitalist and early investor in Twitter, made the case yesterday that Twitter can, and should, act like a running blog.
In a traditional blog post, he pushed for Twitter to develop a native "tweet storm" feature. Tweet storms, often traced back to investor and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen, allow Twitter users to disseminate blog-post length ruminations over the platform by breaking down lengthy arguments/opinions/lectures/musings into a series of numbered tweets. Interested parties can then follow the 140-character-at-a-time progression.
While Wilson concedes that this may be an odd use of Twitter when "there are all these awesome blogging tools out there," he insists that Tweet storming has unique characteristics that validate its existence. Naturally, he made his case via tweet storm. Points included:
4/ Like @tumblr but few other traditional blogging platforms, Twitter comes w/ a built in follow model which insures your posts will be read— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) June 28, 2014
As well as:
5/ But possibly the most interesting & unique aspect of #Tweetstorms is you are posting in real time and the reader experience is real time— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) June 28, 2014
You can read the entire tweet storm here, which includes the argument that a native tweet storm feature would offer a notable product and market opportunity for the social network.
Perhaps. As Wilson points out, a tweet storm ensures that your posts get read. Instead of passively languishing on your blog, whatever larger philosophical diatribe you're trying to make is thrust into your followers' newsfeeds, guaranteeing eyeballs.
For a time, at least. Despite Wilson's embrace of the feature, frequent tweet storming seems like the perfect way to shed followers fast. Even the most eloquent argument, when broken down into a string of tweets, comes across as spammy and a violation of what sets Twitter apart from other social networks: enforced brevity.
Tell us: Is a native tweet storm feature long overdue? Or does treating Twitter like your own personal blog kill its appeal?