How Twitter Can Save Itself (…and make a few bucks in the process!)

Jim StroudAre you an avid Twitter user? I am. I tweet a great deal which is why recent news of Twitter slipping in popularity concerns me. I do not for a second believe that Twitter is going away anytime soon. However, from a competitive standpoint, I do not want it to slip into irrelevance (Friendster?) or battle for significance when it was once a force to be reckoned with. (MySpace?) That being said, I would like to humbly suggest to Twitter a few tweaks (and a couple of acquisitions) that might work to keep their rivals at bay. At least, for a moment or two longer.

 

HASHTAG REGISTRY

  • Set up a system whereby people can register a hashtag. I’m thinking akin to buying a domain. For example, let’s say I wanted to register the hashtag #resumeforensics. I fill out a form and pay something, really, really cheap. Say… $0.99 a month / $10.00 a year. What does this get me? When someone uses my hashtag, they click on it and are taken to a landing page that explains what the hashtag is all about and any related content (pictures, videos, whatever). They also see who are the most popular people associated with that hashtag. The owner of the hashtag gets to see traffic stats and how they rank against other registered hashtags in the system.
  • If someone wants to register my hashtag (and not just use it in a tweet), Twitter sends them a message that says #resumeforensics has already been registered and suggests other hashtags. If someone uses a hashtag that no one has registered, business as usual (as of now), just no special landing page when you click the hashtag.
  • This option could go a long way to helping people figure out what a discussion is all about should they arrive somewhere in the middle of it and give advertisers more choices. It also removes confusion should users in another country altogether start tweeting around the hashtag as well. Make sense?

FAVORITES ARE REALLY “LIKES”

  • I bet if you were to take a poll that most people would say that they use the “favorite” option on tweets as if it were a “Like” button. Why not change that verbiage? Are there copyright issues regarding that? I mean, will you get in trouble with Facebook? If so, consider other words like: Approve, “Thumbs Up,” “Good one,” Cool, Recommended or Nice.
  • Hmm… while you’re at it, maybe a dual choice is appropriate. Can I have the option to “Bookmark it” and/or “Nice it?” If I bookmark it, then I want to get back to it later. If I “nice it,” I’m just giving kudos on what someone said and do not necessarily want to clutter up my (now) Favorites list.
  • In the event you ignore my suggestions about turning favorites into likes (or the equivalent thereof), can you make it so I can sort my favorites by date and/or adding a filter so I can search my favorites? (Same way you let me filter images and links in my Twitter searches.)

MORE TWITTER FUNCTIONALITY

  • I love the search engine Tweepz because it allows me to search the biographies of people on Twitter. I would like that functionality on Twitter as well. (Or, simply buy Tweepz and add it in.)
  • In keeping with your pithy roots, how about letting me share 15 second audio bites? Since SoundCloud plays well with your system, why not buy them and fully integrate it?
  • I wrote a blog post explaining how to search for lists on Twitter. Why is there no easy way to search for public lists on Twitter? Honestly, this makes no sense to me. Lists are a great way to reduce the information overload on Twitter and help me focus. I would also suggest making automated lists for your users to choose from based on people they tweet with the most, subjects discussed, location and trending topics. I would also make list suggestions based on your “Who To Follow” algorithm.

MAKE MULTIPLE ACCOUNTS EASIER

  • I have multiple Twitter accounts. I use my main @jimstroud account to discuss social recruiting and job search strategy.  I use @isearchologist to focus on search and technology in general. I have others as well. I would LOVE IT if I could log into one account and manage them all, instead of signing out of one to go into another.
  • Imagine this scenario, someone visits my @jimstroud account. They also notice that I have other Twitter profiles as well. They opt in to follow me on the other accounts. Now, when I tweet something about social recruiting, it goes automatically to my main Twitter profile @jimstroud. However, if I decide to tweet about one of the greatest TV shows ever made – 24 (or Breaking Bad or Dr. Who or The Walking Dead or… whatever) then by tweeting as per usual and adding a symbol like ^2, then my tweet will get posted only on my @isearchologist profile and not my main one. Make sense? I also would like to give someone the choice of selecting to get ALL of my tweets from each of my profiles in one stream.

TREAT USERS DIFFERENTLY

  • Okay, one last thing! I’ve read that you have a lot of changes in the wind. I will be eagerly anticipating them. No doubt more user interface changes will be gracing the web and my mobile. Why not let me choose the interface I want? For example, before rolling out your changes to the masses, give your legacy users the option to keep Twitter as it has been? (But let them upgrade their interface later!) New users won’t know any difference anyway. Make sense?
  • Also, create interfaces for certain audiences. New users get an interface whereby you mouse over a section and a help menu appears (until they turn it off). More seasoned users who are not as active on Twitter, but have been in the past, get another type of interface. Expert users, those who have been using Twitter consistently, get to pick and choose what functions they want to use on the web and on their mobiles.

Or… Maybe I am just obsessing needlessly over Twitter and my ideas are hardly worth a glance. Either way, I would love to know what you think Twitter and anyone else who stumbles across this. Leave me a comment?

-Jim

P.S. Feel free to follow me on Twitter. 😉

 

One thought on “How Twitter Can Save Itself (…and make a few bucks in the process!)”

  1. Twitter dominates only because they created and capitalized on the idea of the micronization of the blogging format. I think they’ve made enough money to get to the point that they’re wrestling with becoming an IPO, and they’re not going away anytime soon. I think the question now more becomes how do they stay relevant in the face of the massive youth revolt affecting Social Networking and Media Internet-wide and the (trending) non-commercialist bent that’s resurfacing more as the “Mashup” culture deepens its’ online influences. The kids have even less patience than their forbears, and, somehow, MORE LIQUID CASH. These are the types of challenges Twitter and their social ilk must resolve before they can make that march to FB-like profitability. All they need to do is redefine what it was that made them great and dunk it in steroids (lol!).

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