Mediaphyter – A Communications Cocktail


Twitter Love Day – A Proposal

Twitter Love Day

Today is TWITTER LOVE DAY!

After the pretty big Twitter outages on Monday and Tuesday many people asked if I still support my declared “Twitter Love Day.” My response? Of course! The most recent Twitter outages are all the more reason why we need to keep the talk going.

I’ve said it before – while I do not agree 100 percent with the some of the proponents of today’s Twit-Out we do have the same goal in mind: make the service better. We started out with vehement disagreement and now have come to a place of mutual understanding.

That said, as promised I’ve compiled a list of ideas that Twits (credited further down) put forth to make the service most excellent. Sure, some of these might not be new and some address features more than stability, but if we have Twitter’s attention let’s get the community’s interests out there:

  • Stability / Reliability: Of course this is the request that rang the loudest since its what got us here in the first place. Several people suggested Twitter move away from its Ruby on Rails code base and move to the open source backend model that Shannon Whitley wrote about.
  • Paid Model: The overall belief is that if Twitter moves to a pay service it may not lose influencers or businesses but it will lose consumers. One suggestion would be having a paid model for businesses who really want to power use. But the reliability issues would need to be solved before they can start requesting that companies invest dollars into services.
  • Further Limit the API Calls: With all of the third-party services calling into the Twitter API, it’s no wonder the traffic is hard to manage. Some third-party services that tie into Twitter limit the API calls. If you run these services, do you set API call limits? Yes, I realize if Twitter could scale, this may not be necessary but it’s something we could potentially do to help now. Perhaps Twitter could create a diagnostic tool as well that lets each user know who is using up their individual 70 requests per hour.
  • Disband the Overlap of Third-Party Services: There are so many third-party Twitter services or clients and many attempt to do the same thing. Some users are lazy and leverage duplicate services. What if some developers partner to reduce the redundancy? It’s also recognized that if Twitter were able to work some of these more critical tools (smarter add/follow features, statistics, etc.) into the Twitter Web interface there would be no need for some of the other services.
  • Take Control of the Spammers: There has been a lot of controversy about the Twitter blacklisting and who should be blacklisted or not, but some are obvious. Limit obvious bots spammers to only 50 adds per hour (Ben Jackson calls these “Spits” for “SPam twITS”- clever). And make it easier for us to block these spammers, too, in a way to discourage their abuse. It currently takes so long to block that some people don’t bother. As someone who works in security I know better than to suggest that ignoring spammers so they will go away, but if we can cut down on even 2 percent of the unwanted traffic, that could help.
  • Downloadable Tweet Archive/Easier Deletion: It’s a pain in ye arse to delete old tweets or DMs and there is no mass deletion tool (Damon Cortesi created a great hack that I tried to delete DMs – and it works – but it’s not a long-term solution). Perhaps a mass deletion tool that only pings the API once (is that possible, techie folks?) or a downloadable archive of tweets that removes them from the server would reduce some of the burden.
  • Groups and Tags: While Twemes and Hashtags are great what about implementing tagging within the tweets? Some people really don’t want to see my hockey tweets and others do, so perhaps a way to sort via tags would also be a good feature. Being able to sort the Twits you are following into groups according to personal, work, interests, location, etc., would also be very helpful – especially if we could set specific notifications for each group.
  • Search and Connect: More intuitive searching that would allow users to search the interests of their following/follower list to find those with more common interests. Also, give new followers an option to state why they chose to follow a specific Twit so the “followee” can better determine whether or not he or she should follow back.
  • Friendlier and Smarter UI: Some requests included having the replies/archive/recent tabs available from the DM page, automatically breaking content longer than 140 characters into two “smart tweets” that replicate the @ of the initial tweet, and cut us some slack with the length of Snurls and TinyURLs.
  • Talk to Us: Twitter, ask us for help – and tell us what you need. If you’re down, redirect us to a site that tells us why. Don’t just stop being there. After all, we love you. We want to know when and why you’re not OK.

I’d like to credit and thank the following passionate Twitter users for their suggestions and conversation:

@amandagravel, @cnadeau, @dgcombs, @fifth_sentinel, @frankmartin, @greggscott, @hieronymus, @hrbrmstr, @innismir, @jjx, @quine, @sigsegfalt, @skydaddy, @tobkin, @swhitley, @zemote

I’d also like to thank @shey and @anjrued for sparking this conversation in the first place. Good luck with the Twit-Out. While we’ll be Twitting-In (barring any more downtime!), with hope altogether we’ll be able to achieve some change.


16 Comments so far
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I like some of the suggestions made so far, but not all. I think all we need to worry about right now is a more reliable service and a friendlier UI. Also, I like the way Twitter has generated a thriving third party app market, much like FaceBook has – I’d hate to do anything to quash that atmosphere of innovation.

Leslie Poston, Editor at Profy.com
@geechee_girl on twitter

Comment by leslie

I agree, I do like the third-party apps. But we *could* do without the redundancy.

Comment by Jennifer Leggio

Awesome post, Jennifer! I especially LOVE the smart tweet with the @ creation for the 2nd tweet. I an not a programmer so I do not know if it is even in the realm of possibility, but it should be looked into, as should all of your suggestions.

Comment by Michael

Since my weblog doesn’t send out trackbacks:

Twitter Love Day – ph33l d@ l0v3

Comment by Ben

It’s not only a shame to “quash” the atmosphere of innovation, but there are start-ups that rely totally on Twitter’s stability. They trust the company to be stable with their API. When they’re down, they are also left in the dirt.

And it’s @anjrued ;-)

Comment by Andrew Dobrow

Agree completely on 3rd party apps and asking (begging?) Twitter to reach out to us more.

Now if they would only listen…

Comment by Mack Collier

i just wish they’d fix it so that it could handle the user-load.

Yes, they’ve dropped the ball on explaining why there are so many issues… but it’s still:
a)free
b)just getting press(which is finally leading to $)
and
c) they’re still a tiny web-startup comprised of what seems like just a bunch of programmers who didn’t realize how fast this service would take off.

They created a communication platform and just realized they screwed up planning on it’s eventual mass-adoption/scalability… supposedly they’re working on it. Yes, they could take a cue from zappos, dell, jetblue, comcast, etc.. and twit a little more often to the masses with updates… but they’re just a new startup. Not every company can be expected to see the importance or relevance of quality customer communication. My guess is they’re more concerned with fixing their huge problem before the $ dries up.

If twitter is down, they don’t have a community… if twitter is up, then they can learn from their users, hopefully respond/reach out, etc. But i doubt that right now anyone is providing anything they (twitter as a company) can use to help their current situation without removing the part of eventually paying back investors

Now there is also a proposed “easy solution:
Decentralize twitter similar to p2p platforms.. but no one has stepped up with the backing to do that (as it asks the same question the movie/music industry faces, how to do profit from p2p?)…..

Comment by Brent

I love the ideas proposed! none of them are quick fixes, which may be what some people are looking for, but I think overall they will improve twitter in the long run.

my biggest gripe is with spammers. I wish there were an easier way of fixing that problem since not only is it a nuisance but it clearly goes against their TOS. I really like the idea of reducing the followers per hour limit, and I’m certainly for making it easier to block. Three links just to block someone? that’s a lot of effort.

I love twitter and I hope through either proposing new ideas or boycotting them it at least gets some attention and response from the twitter team.

Comment by Maggie Skacan

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Hi Jennifer – great post. I think you’re so right about the two way conversation that needs to happen with Twitter re stability.

And the paid model is certainly worth considering. Wonder if you’ve seen http://www.twitterfund.com yet – which is seeking donations for twitter partly to see if it could raise any money – but also partly to see whether the twitter community might consider a paid for model. Wonder what you think? Would you donate?

Comment by Chris Reed

@Chris – I hadn’t yet seen TwitterFund.com, interesting concept. I actually had a talk with Biz a couple days ago for my new blog and we discussed the notion of a paid-by-user model.

Would I donate? Sure. I likely will, not because I think Twitter needs the donations, but to show support for a service that I greatly like.

Comment by Jennifer Leggio

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