Improving Twitter with Channels

This week on our podcast we finally got around to talking about Twitter. After we stopped recording, I thought more about some of the issues we’d discussed, and came up with a concept for improving Twitter, which I thought was worth sharing.

Of the hundreds of people I follow on Twitter, many of them have second accounts, for additional tweets. Sometimes that’s because they’re tweeting on a topic they know their followers aren’t all interested in, and sometimes it’s because their second account is private, and this allows them to talk more freely, or to be free from abuse.

But a second account starts from nothing, and encouraging people to follow you in more than one place can be a challenge. Usually it involves repeated shoutouts to the new account, and adding it to your bio for new followers to find. I considered what could be a better solution to this problem.

Channels

I’m calling the concept Channels. Right now, your Twitter feed is a single stream of everything you say. With Channels, your feed becomes split. When someone follows you, they’re following your “All” channel, so they see everything that’s public. But you can add additional channels, such as “Technology” and “Politics”. If someone enjoys what you have to say about technology and other things, but not your political tweets, they can unfollow your “Politics” channel, or choose to only follow your “Technology” channel. They’ll be counted as a follower, but they’ll only see the portion of tweets that interests them. They wouldn’t have to unfollow your entire account to avoid the things they’re not interested in.

When you add a new channel, anyone following “All” will be added to that channel automatically, so there’s no need to persuade people to join.

Privacy

Channels can also be private, and users can request access, just like they do currently with a private account. A tweet in response to a private tweet would also be private, only visible to that channel’s followers.

Finally, a user could choose to make their “All” feed private, which would be effectively the same as what we have now with private accounts.

Tweeting

When it comes time to tweet, you do so as normal, only now choosing which channel to tweet to. It defaults to “All”, so you won’t have to do anything additional a lot of the time.

If you want to hear our shared thoughts in more granular detail, check out the latest episode of our podcast.