Posts tagged with ‘Twitter’
This is 2014. September of 2014. Twitter was founded in March of 2006, so for over eight years the company has been caught up in a destructive love/hate relationship with private (‘direct’) messaging. At one time the company was actually considering the end of private messaging.
However, the rise of tools like SnapChat, Hangouts, WhatsApp, and WeChat has shown that private messaging is a huge business on the consumer side. And in business, work chat tools like Slack, HipChat, and Flowdock are growing considerable userbases very quickly.
So, Why hasn’t Twitter already released group private messaging? They’ve been talking about it for years.
Twitter’s new CFO, Anthony Noto, added his voice to the discussion about group private messaging, but didn’t say it was imminent:
The CFO also hinted that group chats might be in the pipeline. Direct messaging, Twitter’s private chat function, has traditionally been put on the backburner. Because Twitter’s service is public in nature, the role of private messaging has always been a subject of debate within the company. Over the last year, amid the explosion of messaging apps, Twitter has given direct messaging a more prominent role. Noto suggested direct messaging might become more social.
Today, users can only send a direct message to one account at a time. But if, say, Noto tweeted about a football game and a couple of his “college buddies” replied to it, “I’m not sure I want to have (that) conversation in front of my boss and the rest of the 271 global users. I might want to take that to a private setting which you can do through direct messaging. Today you can only do that one to one as opposed to one to many. So that’s an example of innovation around sharing or expression that we can pursue over time.”
This only reinforces the fact that Twitter continues to miss the huge opportunity for group messaging, even while struggling for more uptake and revenue growth.
Inserting random favorites in my timeline is small potatoes compared to group messaging, so why can’t they focus on big initiatives?
Dan Hon adds this:
— Dan Hon (@hondanhon)September 4, 2014
And Josh Russell adds these thoughts:
— Josh Russell (@joshr)September 4, 2014
Farhad Manjoo probes Twitter’s new model for favorites, and never quite gets to the heart of the matter. But he tees it up well:
Farhad Manjoo, Save the Fav, Twitter’s Digital Body Language
There’s a kerfuffle at the moment on Twitter about what should happen when you fav something.
Until recently, when you pressed the “favorite” button on a tweet — that is, the little star below a Twitter posting — almost nothing happened. Other users, including the one who originally posted, might see that you’d starred the tweet, but Twitter’s “favorite” was different from the “like” button on Facebook. It wasn’t taken to mean that you actually liked or were interested in the substance of that tweet.
This made the fav one of the few forms of online speech that were mostly disconnected from consequence. When it wasn’t being used as a bookmark to help you remember links for later, pressing “favorite” on a tweet was the digital equivalent of a nod, a gesture that is hard to decipher. The fav derived its power from this deliberate ambiguity.
But now Twitter is slightly altering what happens when you press “favorite.” In what may or may not be a short-term experiment, the service is beginning to use faves as signals in deciding how to arrange users’ timelines. Under its new policy, if Twitter notices that a lot of your friends have faved a tweet, it may show you that tweet, even if you don’t follow the person who posted it.
The reason this feels odd is that it breaks the convention we’re used to, and replaces it with something that doesn’t follow network connections. If Twitter changed the rule so that all my followers would see my favorites it would follow the retweet model. But in that case, why have both retweet and favorite?
The new model is a popularity-oriented approach, but what about something more semantic? What if twitter allowed us to tag ourselves in our profiles, and then would direct tweets to us that matched our preferences? This is the concept of groupings, or Chris Messina’s Channels concept, inverted (see Hash Tags = Twitter Groupings). A grouping is a collection of people related through the use of a tag. You don’t get invited to a grouping, like a group: you invite yourself by tagging.
So when someone in my social scene (like friend of a friend) tags a tweet with #postnormal or #hashtags I would see that in my feed, because I am a member of the #postnormal and #hashtags groupings.
Of course, Twitter could simply develop the new favorite algorithm in a way that does the same as self-tagging and groupings would. I’d be happy with that.
First sighting of a buy now button on Twitter.
Richard Holden of the OED (@rchrd_h) credits me as the first twittered use of ‘hash tag’ and #hashtag, but I’ve been left out of the OED citation itself. Odd, especially since Ben Zimmer came to the same result a few years ago).
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo apparently decided that the tug-of-war that had been apparently going on between him and COO Ali Rwoghani was a waste of energy. Rowghani is out, and Jay Yarow has the deets:
Jay Yarow, Why Twitter’s COO Is Out - Business Insider
According to a person familiar with the situation, Rowghani leaving the company is “really about product, and the speed of the product.”
All product decisions had been flowing into Rowghani. CEO Dick Costolo wanted those decisions to come to him directly. Cutting a management layer between the product leader and the CEO will help Twitter make faster, more efficient changes to its products.
This description — if accurate — reflects a serious cultural problem at Twitter. Should the CEO — or the COO — be making product decisions? Yes, Costolo recently hired Daniel Graf from Google — only the most recent product guy to be tapped to goose the sluggish development culture there — but the legacy of past product regimes led by Ev Williams, Jack Dorsey, and Mike Sippey seem to hang around, and no one person may be able to fix that.
In a healthy company of Twitter’s size, people much closer to the platform are experimenting with product features and capabilities.
For example, shouldn’t some product manager — someone working with a small team of developers — build a version of the curated topics that Tumblr has? Why would that have to be decided by a C-level executive? Do the experiment, look at the results — what works or doesn’t — rinse and repeat, right?
Twitter feels like a company that has become lumbering, slow, and timid, where bias toward action has been suffocated, innovation prohibited, and the product is the sad result of design-by-committee.
They have been fumbling the future, and if it keeps on, it might be Costolo that will be leaving next.
Twitter is adding a much-needed feature: muting. This will allow me — when I eventually get access to the slow-to-roll-out feature — to mute people when they are at a conference and I can’t take it any more.
The best use case is when someone I do want to listen to retweets someone I don’t want to hear from. Apparently, if I mute the loudmouth, those retweets won’t reach me. But I guess I will have to first follow the people I am trying to avoid to avoid them by muting?
As I predicted (see Announcing an audacious proposal by Dalton Caldwell), there really isn’t enough interest in App.net as an alternative to Twitter. The company have announced that there is enough money in renewals to keep the lights on but no one will be home.
The company has announced that there will no longer be any full-time employees, including the founders Dalton Caldwell and Bryan Berg, but those two will continue to be responsible for the service, which is still online and available.
An interesting side effect of Twitter’s inability to articulate their core value prop is that anyone and everyone has advice for how they might improve (including me!). Combine that with the fact that Twitter serves so many different use cases – real-time news, de facto RSS reader, public chat, just to name a few – and you have a paralysis of choice not only for new users but also for Twitter’s marketing and onboarding teams.
So why not embrace the complexity? Instead of trying to teach new users how to built a curated follower list, build the lists for them. Don’t call them lists, though; embrace Twitter’s TV connection and make them “channels.” Big basketball game? Go to the basketball channel, populated not with the biggest celebrities but with the best and most entertaining tweeters. Build similar channels for specific teams in all sports. Do the same for Apple, Google, and technology; liberals, conservatives, and politics in general; have channels for the Oscars, the Olympics and so on and so forth. And make them good, devoid of the crap that pollutes most hashtags and search results. If the ideal Twitter experience is achieved with a curated list, then provide curated lists and an easy way to switch among them.
Now you have a value prop: easily join the conversation about what is happening in the areas you care about, without the months-long process of building a perfectly customized Twitter feed. Oh, and by the way Ad Person, here is a very easy-to-understand ad unit built around a specific topic filled with self-selected followers.
Let 360 degrees of hashtags, notifications, and updates swallow you whole. - What It’d Be Like To Step Inside Your Twitter Feed