Ten Things I Like and Don’t Like About Twitter

Twitter is old news now. Trust me. I know. I still use Twitter almost every day though. It’s my go to source for breaking news, technology updates, and interesting projects from people in my community. Most of the people in my inner circle don’t use Facebook and Twitter is their main outlet for letting other people know what they’re up to. Let’s face the facts though. More than anything else I use Twitter every day because I’m addicted to it. I need it like I need my morning and post lunch coffee. Since it’s one of maybe three or four products I’ve been using for over half a decade it deserves writing about. So here’s ten things I like and don’t like about Twitter.

  1. In the grand scheme of things Twitter is still a baby of a company, but in the start up world it’s forty-five year old dad of three kids with another one on the way. Through it all, the product has retained it’s identity. Everything on Twitter centers around the timeline. If you’re not following anybody on Twitter you’re going to be very bored. If you are following at least half a dozen interesting accounts it’s likely you’ll come back at least once a day. And if you’re following at least a dozen or so accounts the timeline gives you, as the user, a constant fear of missing out. I, for one, want to see every single Tweet in my time line. That’s incredibly powerful and I hope they never abandon it. The timeline is the core of what they do and anything that distracts from it is a net negative.
  2. One way following is still amazing to me. Before Twitter most social networks survived on the idea of “friends”. The friend model, of course, only works if both parties are willing to participate. In this world we live in who’s really got the time for that? I want to pay attention to my stuff and move on. The follow model works under the premise that you’re either adding value or you’re taking value away. There’s no middle ground. You take this away and Twitter falls apart.
  3. The 140 character limit is still brilliant. I don’t know why, but it’s the perfect amount of characters when needing to make a quick point about something. If you need more than 140 characters you should write a blog post. If you don’t want to write a blog post find a way to fit it in 140 characters.
  4. I don’t really understand Twitter’s direct message feature. More than maybe anything else it feels like a completely ignored feature. On one hand I appreciate Twitter’s reluntance to trying to become an email replacement (which it’s not), but the 140 character limit on direct messages is usually a nuisance more than anything.
  5. I very much appreciate Twitter’s willingness to stay close to it’s roots. As I said, Twitter is still simple at it’s core and that matters to me. On the other hand, I don’t really understand what they’re doing with the more personalized profile set up. I like the idea of having just one profile picture for a user. The profile-header-thing they have going on is usually pointless and at best distracting. The same goes for the customizable colors that Twitter allows. The colors in particular are not even a discoverable feature and most colors you can use look plain bad. It’s just not necessary.
  6. To this day, Twitter Trends are one of the most interesting things to follow on the internet. It’s not only addictive, but it’s the one piece of information on every Twitter account that is informative. Thirteen year old brony’s may not ever know what’s going on in the news, but if they have a Twitter account they know what’s trending.
  7. Creating something, especially in written form, is usually intimidating for most people. Twitter somehow rips that barrier away. People who may otherwise never write anything at all will write on Twitter. I don’t really care if it is just a sentence here or there. All thoughts and opinions matter and in a world that’s getting increasingly timid and regulated Twitter still allows people to say what they want, how they want with little judgement.
  8. I’m still not a fan of the “who to follow” feature. When I really want to follow someone on Twitter I will find the organically. The “who to follow” might be useful for new accounts but for someone who’s been on the network for over five years it’s no bueno.
  9. The robots. It’s incredible to me that anyone out there is wasting their time by making Twitter bots. Why? What do people get out of doing this? More followers? Please. It would seem to me that if you’re automating your Twitter account you’re getting virtually zero value out of it.
  10. The amazing thing about Twitter (most of the time) is that you really feeling like you’re connecting, in however small way, with real people. Following Kanye West I really feel like I’m hearing Kanye’s thoughts. Following Aziz Ansari makes me really feel like I’m getting to watch him grow as a comedian. Active Twitter accounts aren’t just webpages that are frequently updated. They’re the manifestation of a life that I get to watch from across the world. If there’s anything that keeps me on Twitter, it’s that.