Don’t get me wrong, I think that in a lot of ways Twitter works well because it is simple. In fact, I think that it likely stole a lot of users from Facebook, who were getting too overwhelmed with all the new features but wanted something simple. That was me. I liked the simplicity, but at the same time immediacy, of the microblogging service.
However, it’s always about the progress and the new. And keeping users of social media, which is used like a toy by many people (I know I have fun with it), entertained and interested. But more importantly, serving their needs, which for now has been largely done by outside third-party Twitter apps and desktop management platforms like TweetDeck, which by the way is still labeled as Beta – a bit surprising, but that’s a whole other topic.
The point is: Twitter needs more progress, and that might mean adding and heeding to users’ request for options that are almost standard in third-party apps such as a Retweet option, which even has websites that petition to have Twitter add the feature, groups, verified accounts and more. Twitter has been slow to respond to such requests, such as adding the @ mentions button and a search within the browser, as well as trending topics. This might be part of the reason why Twitter’s growth flatlined in May.
One can appreciate the thoughtfulness of the changes, but sometimes you need more doing than planning. Mark Briggs, who blogs at Journalism 2.0, recently had a post about bringing startup culture to the newsroom. The difference is that startup culture has 90 percent doing and 10 percent planning, corporate culture is the other way around. Maybe Twitter has been doing too much planning and developing the image of their product rather than actually serving its users.
Twitter has avoided becoming a Facebook-type service, which had extreme developments and updates in services provided and added features. In some ways these were extreme and users would get frustrated and start Facebook groups in protest, but ultimately Facebook has grown. We all adjusted to the features and use a lot of them constantly today. So what is gonna be the next big thing for Twitter? Is it going to be making their website easier to use so that twits don’t have to use third-party apps? Or will other services come along that cater to the users who want more features, such as Obayoo, which caters to the business folks who want to engage in private microblogging and includes threaded replies and more. Only time will tell, but what do you think? Are you happy with Twitter?