Improving Twitter in 2018?

Dave Winer:

1. Eliminate the character limit, allow for linking, simple styles, titles and enclosures (for podcasting). The move to 280 chars was so successful, that should be a clue. Remove the barriers to expression and let the whole web in via linking. Handle length the way Facebook does with a see more link. It’s good prior art.

— Read on scripting.com/2018/07/22/155344.html

I remember having a conversation with Tris Hussey over breakfast at some conference or other in early 2007 where we discussed Twitter and its future possibilities. I was convinced at the time that Twitter would go on to see the light and open itself up as a protocol for the internet to facilitate public micro-messaging, similar to what IMAP and POP were for email. I was wrong, of course. Twitter actually reversed course from its early openness with developers and a flexible API and shifted towards the advertising platform model around 2009 as it sought out a way to monetize the service.

I’m still an avid user of Twitter, much more so than Facebook, ten years later. I remember the early talks and discussions about the need for more editing features and the ability to post longer entries and I always thought that was antithetical to what Twitter was. I still think that’s the case (think Old Man Yelling At the Clouds). What makes Twitter such an interesting and valuable platform for news and social interaction to me in 2018 is the brevity of content. Going from 140 characters to 280 characters is less of a paradigm shift and more of a realization that the perception of too much information density has changed in the post-SMS messaging world. Whereas a long text message was seen as rude and inconsiderate in 2007, a long iMessage is considered the norm in 2018.

So, I have to disagree with Dave here on his point that Twitter should eliminate the character limit and promote features such as styles, titles, and even enclosures. What makes Twitter so unique in a world of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, FaceTime, Signal, WeChat etc is the constraint of expression. People use Signal for privacy. We use Snapchat for its ephemeral and whimsical nature. Instagram is how we share visuals. Twitter is how we share quick thoughts.

We have blogs for the other features that Dave mentions here. Open the API’s and get the app developers back on board if we want to Make Twitter Great Again.

Posted by Sam Harrelson

I work with churches and nonprofits to find solutions for their strategic planning and marketing needs. Get in touch to see how I can help your group face challenges of the 21st century while keeping your authentic voice.

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