Update: I wrote this draft in November, a couple weeks after the deal was done. I never got around to publishing it, so I'm publishing it now and adding commentary on what I wrote in italics (sounds fun to me, will probably be annoying to read).
I think Twitter is the best show not on television right now.
Granted, I'm watching the show with lots of help from the algorithm; it knows I've been reading about Elon Musk's potential takeover for months so it's serving me anything directly or tangentially related to that. So maybe you don't know what I'm talking about or have found it pretty easy to ignore. But the algorithm says I can't ignore it so I'm not ignoring it. There's no telling if this is accurate or if Elon-adjacent content was being artificially boosted.
I am, at this moment, wholesale addicted to the drama unfolding. That's probably weird but I don't want to think much about why I find it all riveting because that's probably gross.
Instead I feel like writing about how I want to use Twitter. A little more context: I primarily use Twitter in a browser on my laptop, so most of my references are to that experience.
Main Feed / Home Screen
- Only show me tweets from accounts that I follow (they added a Following tab, which I like much better than toggling a setting)
- Show tweets in chronological order, most recent at the top (done!)
- ^ I realize this is already an option, but it gets 'forgotten' constantly and I just want a checkbox in my Settings
- No retweets / liked tweets stuff here (there are retweets, which is OK but i wish i could filter those out)
- This is where I want to see tweets that people I follow are retweeting and liking, as the "For You" section (this tab now defaults to For You, but it is just a hashtag dumpster fire)
- All the other tabs are fine, keep them, I don't care about them at all (they kept them, there are less of them, Sports is one and I click that one sometimes)
- (Browser) Get rid of the right column entirely. Drop a search icon in the left nav and bury the other stuff elsewhere. (Still there but feels a little more tidy. Yet still feels mostly useless.)
- Lists are conceptually useful but I haven't built one since 2010. A quick way to add an account to a VIP list would be neat, with custom notification settings for VIPs. (I think there should be more focus on Lists. It would be like creating playlists. Everyone loves creating playlists. Instead, Twitter has now buried lists in a menu that opens by clicking an ellipsis inside a circle with the uninteresting "More" label)
Here's a list of other stuff I think would be fun for Twitter to try:
- Free to read without an account (but you can't do anything until you create one). Done?
- Free tier accounts can post, follow, and be followed but can't do anything else (like, retweet, DM) without paying.
- Paying accounts can like and retweet and hop into threads and DM people. (I think 2 and 3 help fight spam but maybe not)
- Tier II paying accounts (Twitter...Gold?) can restrict who can interact with their account. Example: only allow DMs from people that follow me and that I also follow, or only allow comments on my tweet from other Twitter Gold people. I think this would reduce noise for famous/popular people.
- Revive Vine, but don't release it until it has feature parity with TikTok (minus the foreign government surveillance bit). (They really should be working on this now that the TikTok ban seems to be gaining momentum. YouTube Shorts and Instagram...whatevers are NOT it)
- Groups - I want Facebook Groups but I don't want to use Facebook. Copy subreddits. Have user roles. Only paying Tweeters can use Groups.
- Beefier messaging tools. I would love to never check Facebook Messenger or GroupMe again, and I would move the group chats I have on there to Twitter in a heartbeat. I want Slack with less business-y features.
- Integrate with long form writing tools (like Ghost and Substack and WordPress). Example: if I have a list on Ghost, I should be able to send stuff to that list from Twitter. Revue apparently wasn't the direction they wanted to go, but email should be part of feature conversations.
- Launch a long form writing tool that extends core Twitter features and could replace a Ghost or Substack or WordPress site.
- Kill threads. They are no fun. I mean sometimes there's a great one but they're just choppy blog posts and that's why I think Twitter needs a writing tool. (They made a move in this direction with the superlong tweets)
- Take an itty bitty tiny cut for creators that monetize. Substack's cut is too big, and forces creators to leave once they grow. Also, the cut should be even smaller or maybe zero if the creator pays to use Twitter.
Twitter Blue is goofy but I'm going to sign up. (I did) As a first tier paid offer it doesn't provide much, but it's an experiment so whatever.
What I really want to see is the death of threads. If that's all that happens that's fine. Thread people can go hang out on LinkedIn and Facebook. (Today self concurs with past self)