Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Twitter's changes

So this interview with Twitter's Kevin Weil suggests that (a) there will be significant changes coming to the user experience at Twitter and (b) I will hate every single one of them.

  • I'm already annoyed by the recently-implemented "while you were away" feature, since Twitter  doesn't show me everything that happened while I was away but rather what its algorithms decide is important. A very Facebook-like thing to do.
     
  • For me the single most unpleasant thing about Twitter is its tendency to create 24-hour obsessions: someone dies, or some pointless internet fight flares up, or some celebrity says something stupid, and for a day my timeline seems to have room for nothing else. Then the next day it's gone as though it had never been. Twitter's Project Lightning suggests that the company wants to make more of my Twitter experience like this.
     
  • "Twitter says it expects most people will like autoplay video" — are you freakin' kidding me?
     
  • Stopping abuse and harassment "is critically important to us," is "an ongoing area of focus for us," is "incredibly, incredibly important to us." But Weil has no announcements because, basically, nothing has changed. Call me back when it does.
     
  • I think Twitter has a big collapse coming. The leadership still doesn't know what the service is for or what they want it to be, but they're determined to exercise more and more control over the experience anyway. That's a recipe for disaster. In the end I think they're going to drive most of their users back to Facebook.

I know we've been through the Twitter-alternative search before with app.net and ello, but I am keeping a very close eye on Manton Reece's new project.

2 comments:

  • I can't help thinking that Twitter is a great example of a service where the desires of its most hard core users and the company's financial best interest are just deeply contradictory.

  • Thanks for the link to Manton Reece's website. I agree his project looks promising, and I'm interested in his post detailing how to set up microblogging+rss on your own site and then publishing that to Twitter or App.net ( http://www.manton.org/2015/06/microblogging-with-wordpress.html ); I'm going to have to see if I can figure out how to do that with jekyll+github pages. If he can figure out a way to turn microblogging into an open, interoperable protocol anyone can implement and support instead of keeping users stuck on a company-owned platform, that could be amazing and potentially transformative.

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