Twitter is caught between two product visions. Which should it choose?
This is really good. I have pondered that question of purpose a lot. My stab at it? "an API for ideas" - what do I mean by that? The joy of twitter for me was the combination of its ubiquity (everyone in the same chat room, or at least a huge number of them); its timeliness (when I see a massive cloud of smoke pouring from a city building, I don't look anywhere else than Twitter search for my first clue as to what's happening - there's almost certainly someone on the scene with info and pics); and its search. Again, real-time, and very easy to find people or topics. So for me it was always a vast database of sentiments, news & ideas, and careful interrogation and structure could so easily make useful things from that. Or even just silly things. I created the data structure for #uksnow on exactly that basis in 2009, and a few months later, started the tweetbike service during the tube strike. Write-ups here: https://paulclarke.com/honestlyreal/2009/02/a-flurry-of-uksnow/ and http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/mobile/talking_point/8093595.stm (somewhat degraded UI now, sadly)
Whilst I am very new to Twitter, I did spend 5 years on Reddit which has the (unique?) selling point of having the replies upvoted (as well as the original post). This means that the best ones rise to the top. This disincentivises low effort replies (they sink to the bottom never to be read) and makes the conversation better to read by highlighting the best. This "crowd shaping" of the thread seems to be a key missing ingredient from Twitter.
As a compromise, perhaps do away with quote-retweets, including screenshot ones? Limit users to either joining the conversation (reply) or marking as worthy of attention (like). Also, if someone retweets something with a link in it and they have not clicked on the link themselves Twitter should quietly file it in the bin. More radically, you could score users on constructiveness of engagement. Users can set a threshold of constructiveness on what they see or who can reply / retweet. A users constructiveness score is affected by abuse, ratio of orig content etc. Basically, herd all the trolls into a corner of the platform the rest of us can ignore.
Hi, random guy here... Screenshot tweet is the final boss here, the one that is made just to make your followers angry about someone anonymous or not anonymous, and that removes any control from the creator. And I am seeing it everywhere in my timeline.
I left this comment on Twitter (schoolboy error, I know...) so thought I'd post it here as well.
Interesting article. Not sure I agree with all these ideas but I think most important is to educate people to use all sorts of social media politely and that needs to be taught in school (and everywhere). So the idea of user-edited replies & being able to remove abuse seems good to me, although I'd still prefer replies to be more thoughtful and polite in the first place.
If we allow replies on Twitter to be edited or controlled, should Twitter introduce a 'dislike' option as well as 'like' so people can register disapproval without being abusive or rude? A net score on posts could be an interesting metric for anyone looking at a post. If there were some really awful posts that appal a large number of people then it would immediately highlight that fact to anyone coming to them fresh (although that could I suppose backfire if the awful people pile on the likes).
P.S. Copying and pasting my tweet here makes me realise how bad my typos were (I literally don't see the errors - it's a brain malfunction and illness, not laziness, honest. Would an edit function on Twitter be such a bad idea ? (even if it is just for a short period after posting rather than a permanent thing)
One of the joys of Twitter for me is finding new (quality) people to follow, through quote tweets and retweets, although that's also how negative voices are amplified too. Solving discoverability of the 'good' without amplifying the 'bad' is a challenge, although personal definitions of 'good' and 'bad' people on Twitter depend on personal preference.