Anybody who knows me knows how big of a fan I am of Twitter. I use the product daily, and I think my friends are probably tired of hearing my evangelize for the platform. As much as I've grown to love (and frankly depend on) Twitter, I do think a few changes could take the platform to another level. Here are just a few of my suggestions:
If you follow me on Twitter, you may have witnessed my many suggestions of companies that Twitter should acquire. From Foursquare to Circa to Soundcloud. Some might have been a little bit more off-base than others. But THIS one, I think really makes sense: Flipboard. I know there had been some chatter several months back about Twitter considering buying Flipboard. The buzz around this idea has since died down, but I think this acquisition would fit really well into the existing product, and add value to "power users" and newbies alike.
The consensus among Twitter users seems to be that they use the platform to stay informed. Whether its a sporting event, a tech conference, an award show, or just new happenings, users want up-to-the-second content (and archives of content) to keep them abreast of what's happening around the world, and in spaces aligned with their own interests. For this reason, I see Twitter's competition less as other "social networks" in which the focus might generally be sharing and discussing personal milestones, but instead, I see the competition as other platforms where being informed is the focus. Oh, hey Flipboard.
Flipboard has a clean and intuitive interface that is built for informing. Twitter has a talented product team, and I think buying Flipboard and building it into Twitter would bring tremendous value by allowing the act of "following" to stretch beyond its current frame of people and publications, to enabling users to also follow things, subjects, and events. This would cause for a positive, but potentially drastic change in the way people use Twitter, which brings me to my next point:
I have been starkly opposed to an algorithmic Twitter for a long time. I always thought that the free-flowing, reverse chronological nature of tweets was what partially made the platform attractive. While I haven't completed departed from that line of thinking, I am having a slight change of heart.
I only follow about 300 accounts on Twitter (which I think is a relatively small number) and I find it nearly impossible to keep up with all of the tweets in my timeline. I could only imagine that someone following upwards of 1,000 accounts only gets to see a small fraction of their timeline on any given day, and misses tons of good content. I've resorted to using the list feature to help slim down my pickings. I have multiple lists, but one in particular that takes precedence over my timeline most days. I usually go straight to this list when I fire up the Twitter app. It consists of about 20-25 of the accounts that I feel give me the content most relevant to my interests. On my busy days, even this list is hard to keep up with. Mainly because of the redundant tweeting nature of many publications. Naturally, they want users to have access to the most important content throughout the day, so they tweet the same story multiple times, and I'm forced to try to vet out new tweets from tweets I've already seen. This can get pretty difficult and time consuming.
I think an algorithm helps this. An (optional) algorithm that bubbles the most important/relevant tweets to the top. An algorithm that knows what I like, and that knows what I've already seen on Twitter so that I don't see it over and over again. This is probably much easier said than done, but I think a streamlined approach in which users had the option to slim down the free-flow of tweets to only give them the most relevant, timely, and new content would be beneficial.
Twitter is probably better positioned than any of its peers to win at video due to the suite of products it has to offer. The combination of Niche, Periscope, and Vine gives them extreme leverage, in my opinion, in the video arena.
I don't have stats, but I would imagine Youtube still dominates on what I would call long-form (a couple of minutes or longer) and/or cached (does not disappear after a certain amount of time) video. I'm still developing my thoughts on this, but I think Twitter might benefit from expanding its video suite to include videos that are lengthier than Vines, and have a longer shelf life than Periscopes. Right now, a lot of the long form video links I click in Twitter direct me to YouTube. Probably 90% of them. What if Twitter users had the ability to create/share/discuss these long form all within the Twitter platform? Not only would this open up the functionality (and probably the user base) of Twitter, but this also opens the door for increased advertising revenue for the company.
With all of that said, I am LONG (very, very LONG) Twitter. I think Twitter in its current state is great. As I said I earlier, I use it daily and am dependent on it. It's my primary source for information. My suggestions are only ideas for making the platform even better than it already is.
I'm watching closely to see who Twitter chooses to lead its company going forward. I have a feeling it will be Jack (though I'm not sure how The Street would feel about him running two companies). I'm also keeping an eye out to see who will be Twitter's first CMO. I think a strong tandem of CEO and CMO will prove valuable to Twitter as the company moves toward organic growth of both active users and revenue.
Thoughts? Leave a comment, or hit me up on Twitter.