A smarter way to use Twitter

A smarter way to use Twitter

Nexalogy is testing a new free product! It offers a new, smarter, way to use Twitter. It is based on the social discovery technology the company is known for. Get in touch if you’d like to sign up to the preview release.

Why did we build it?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve certainly been hearing about Twitter’s woes. The whole story got so big, it spilled from tech press into mainstream media. Every week brings numerous thoughtful critique pieces. I’d like to highlight just two.

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg recently called Twitter “too hard to use”. Yet, he’s still a user:

I like Twitter. I learn from it. I promote my work there and I cite the work of others. I take seriously civil criticism of my writing that appears there. Like a million others this past week, I shared snowstorm photos there. But Twitter needs much more than better news feed algorithms and 10,000-character posts. It needs a real rethink.

Joshua Topolksy went as far as to proclaim “The End of Twitter” — a serious statement made even more somber when typeset in iconic New Yorker font. Did he cut the cord?

There are hundreds of millions of dedicated users (I count myself among them) who still see tremendous utility in the service. The core ideals that made the product great are not lost, yet, even if they’ve been obscured. The directness and power at the heart of Twitter — short bursts of information that can make you feel that you’re plugged into a hulking hive mind — are still its greatest asset.

Even the harshest critics agree that Twitter remains an important part of the fabric of modern society. The internets are abound of advice of what Twitter should do, not do, or do differently.

Like Mossberg said, “Twitter needs a real rethink” and we agree. Rather than joining the sea of armchair corporate strategists and product designers, we thought it would be more productive to build a product that addresses the problems critics are talking about. We want to help people use Twitter.

If you take a closer look, most of the criticism isn’t about Twitter becoming a ghost-town like Google+. It’s the quite the opposite — Yogi Berra said it best:

Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

The root of the problem is information overload. There’s just too much of the good stuff to fit in a fast-moving timeline. As Mossberg put it:

While its attraction is the smart, funny, short comments people you follow make, you may never see them. Why? Because members’ news feeds update very quickly, and in a rigid, reverse chronological order.

Information overload is the problem Nexalogy has been solving for a while now. Our business has thrived on helping data-driven marketers and social media analysts to discover insights on social networks. Without the need to read every tweet, to look at every Instagram photo or to view every Facebook post. Now is the right time to to apply this technology to help regular Twitter users.

Ditch the timeline. Discover more.

The first thing you’ll notice when you login to Nexlaogy is that it’s UI looksvery different from the Twitter timeline. In fact, Nexalogy doesn’t have the timeline. Instead, you see graphical visualizations that show conversations and communities forming in real-time.

Hashtags used in a conversation are clustered together. This on is about #bigdata.

Here’s a fun analogy. If Twittersphere was a big bustling city, then the timeline of tweets in a sequence would be like a Google’s Street View showing rows of townhouses, one after another. What Nexalogy shows is an aerial view, a macro map of the city and all of its boroughs and communities but with the ability to zoom in to a micro level of detail.

The Hashtag Map is a great way to see multiple conversations at a glance. Enter a hashtag or two, and you’ll surely be surprised by the variety of adjacent conversations and related topics.

The User Map shows how people, brands, businesses and organizations — everything and everyone with a Twitter account are interacting with each other. You can clearly see whom is speaking to whom. People who participate in a conversation are displayed together as a cluster. This makes it easy to spot the communities.

In his recent critique of Twitter, Mossberg said:

Unless you are staring at Twitter all day, you’ll miss huge numbers of tweets, including some you might consider gems that weren’t retweeted enough to appear again and again.
Did you hear about lay-offs at IBM? From Salesforce CEO?

I couldn’t agree more. I follow 500+ people, but almost never look at my timeline. I often use Nexalogy to keep up with my morning news. People use Nexalogy to read the tweets themselves, but not in the way timeline lays them out. By clicking on a node in a cluster, the most important tweets are brought forward.

Discover any topic.

How do you track an emerging topic? Chances are, you turn to Google, like everyone else on the planet. You pull the best content from the Web. What you don’t get however, are the colours, the flavours and the nuances of human conversations about a subject. You don’t get the perspective, the buzz, the wit or the wisdom that Twitter has in spades. Twitter does have the search box, but the search results are delivered in the form of, what else, the timeline!

Next time you want to dig into a about a new topic, try plugging in a keyword into Nexlalogy. It searches all of Twitter, regardless of how many or how few people you follow. It presents the search results on the areal map, not on the timeline.

Twitter isn’t dead, it needs better tools

Twitter is important. It is the closest thing we have to the humanity-scale nervous system. It needs to thrive. The service remains as relevant as ever, but its core design element — the timeline — has outlived its use and needs to be replaced by a different design that can support discovery. We’re releasing a free version of Nexalogy and we we encourage others to help build better tools to improve the use of Twitter’s most precious resource, its community of individuals and the conversations they are involved in.

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