TwitterOS, my perfect Twitter in 10 points
I love Twitter. Seriously, I really do. But that unconditional love doesn’t mean I don’t think Twitter couldn’t be better.
Every entrepreneur knows how hard it is to create a successful startup and to figure out why your users — assuming you even start having users — like your product.
Knowing what we know now, what worked and what failed, I’ve tried to imagine a perfect Twitter that I’ve called TwitterOS — for Twitter-On-Steroids — and also because I think Twitter is a social Operating System.
Here’s TwitterOS, a new kind of Twitter based on a non comprehensive list of 10 features / changes that could fix most of the problems the platform has to deal with without taking away what makes it so powerful and interesting.
- Every account created is verified. That’s the most powerful feature of TwitterOS and I think it’s a significant one. Verified accounts on Twitter do not troll. They just can’t. They have to be careful when they share something as they’re accountable of what they post. Do you remember when anonymous social apps were trendy? Nothing great came from them but the darkest sides of societies and human beings. I understand it’s very hard to scale when you have to verify every single user but, yeah, no one said changing the world was a piece of cake.
- Limit is not 140 signs anymore but 200 without taking into account your TwitterOS name. The 140 characters limit was a fantastic idea — even if it was actually imposed by the use of SMS — but a bit short from my point of view. By increasing that limit up to 200 signs, you keep it short enough to force people to be clear and go straight to the point without inviting them — too much — to find workarounds like screenshots with more text. TwitterOS is about spreading ideas and information so let’s let people express themselves. TwitterOS Storms are OK too.
- Talking about limits, TwitterOS don’t let you use more than 3 hashtags in a single tweet. Spam is bad. Why would you need more than 3 hashtags if you respect your followers? Let’s say you use one hashtag to tied your tweet to a specific topic and conversation. Then, you may need a second hashtag to highlight your current location / venue, as being local may be key when you want to engage a community. Finally, you may want to use a third hashtag to be able to balance an information with your personal thoughts — like #WTF — or by being sarcastic. More hashtags turn your tweets in posts that are very difficult to read. You don’t want to do that as the attention you get from your followers really matters.
- TwitterOS learns a lot from Instagram and how powerful great photos can be. It offers great filters and photo enhancement features, but also a Pablo like feature. Adding a text to photos is OK and a great way to get people’s attention… and you have to keep it super short so it’s not really a workaround of the limit, don’t you think?
- TwitterOS doesn’t really need native videos. It’s a platform that aims to share in real time verified and accurate information. YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and other big guys do video pretty well. Do we really need another service when we have so many great ones?
- That said, TwitterOS offers a Periscope like feature, as what’s happening live IS definitively information, TwitterOS’ core business. What should we do with the videos once they have been broadcasted live? Should they be lost forever or stored somewhere? I let you guys decide on that point as I can’t make up my mind here... and I don’t think it’s key.
- As TwitterOS is perfect, it has a business model... No kidding! Each account being verified, we can build a powerful knowledge and social graph that allows to display highly targeted and personalized ads in users’ timelines, even better than Facebook does. After a short learning curve, Ads you are exposed at are really the ones you want to see or may like. Thus, transformation rate is on steroids too and clients are — hopefully — happy. That said, we all hate when User Experience is ruined with Ads… so Yes, TwitterOS offers a Premium version too. The startup charges you a couple of bucks a month to provide an Ad free experience and to respect your privacy. TwitterOS does not collect any data on Premium users. We all know that you have to pay for a service or you’re the product. The Internet has been built on that idea. TwitterOS too. And there’s a API that brings back some cash too… but we’ll see that later.
- You can’t see how many followers other users have because TwitterOS doesn’t want you to follow users because others do, but because of what they say and who they are. The Ego trip that goes with social media is not that useful feature everyone think it is. Take a closer look at Snapchat. They do well without showing off the size of your community. Of course, users — specially brands — need data and analytics to understand if they are creating the right content and how their engagement goes, so they have access to tons of metrics and insights, including the size of their community but TwitterOS keeps these information private and don’t show them publicly.
- You can’t follow more than 2,000 people or brands. We want you to pay attention to everyone’s content. When you reach that limit, you have to start choosing who you really want to follow and unfollow less interesting accounts. I believe limiting the number of users you can follow is a very powerful feature that drives your focus. It also force popular users to create better content as they are in competition with other popular accounts. Why 2,000? Well, why not?
- TwitterOS offers an API which is wide open for all. The platform loves third party developers and wants them to use its API as much as they want to build great apps (and fill the holes). Anyone can access the API for free, in a effort to support innovation and help incubating new startups. When you need more Data — which means your service based on TwitterOS API gets some decent traction — you’ll have to share a cut of the revenus you generate thanks to the platform to keep on using the API at a high rate. Fair enough, don’t you think? Non-for-profit projects can use the API as will, free of charge.
I could keep on describing that perfect Twitter with my crappy English — I hope you got most of the ideas I’ve tried to explain :-) — for hours as I think the world needs it badly.
If Jack Dorsey reads my post, he must be terrified by the idea of me creating the Twitter competitor I’ve just described and kill his precious company in a matter of weeks.
OK, I wrote that previous sentence for my ego :-)
Jack won’t read that post and there’s no way a TwitterOS can kill Twitter. Actually, only Twitter can kill Twitter.
Twitter has changed for ever the way we deal with information. I just hope — selfishly — Jack will drive that ship in a way that will bring the startup as close as possible to TwitterOS, which may not be the path the market wants it to follow.