Photo Credit: pexels
At the very end of 2016, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent out a brief tweet, asking the users of Twitter what they wanted to see changed in 2017: “What’s the most important thing you want to see Twitter improve or create in 2017?” Within hours, he was flooded with more than a thousand suggestions of how to make Twitter better.
Asking the crowd for help
You can view this as either exhilarating – the CEO of one of the world’s most popular social media platforms asking the crowd for help – or as downright depressing. Has Twitter lost its way so badly that it’s now turning to help for anyone who can encapsulate a new strategy for the company in 140 characters or less?
The problem, quite simply, is that Twitter doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up. Is it a publishing medium for people to share their pithy thoughts? Is it a place for people to have conversations with each other? Is it a full-fledged social network like Facebook? Or is it a new multimedia platform?
Top suggestions for how to improve Twitter
One of the popular suggestions that Dorsey received was that Twitter should “replace TV” as “the place we watch video together.” And, indeed, one of the major focal points of Twitter over the past year was the embrace of video – both livestreaming in the form of Periscope and live broadcasting in the example of Thursday Night Football broadcasting live via Twitter.
Other popular suggestions called for Twitter to re-think how it’s used by everyday users. After all, how many people can you realistically follow on Twitter before your Twitter feed blows up? If you’re away from the Twitter Machine for more than a few hours, you’ve likely missed hundreds – if not thousands – of tweets.
Some people have called for Twitter to create “channels” to follow certain topics or people. Some have asked Dorsey to make it easier to follow conversations that people are having. (How many times have you checked out someone’s Twitter feed and had absolutely no idea what two people were actually talking about?) And still others have asked Dorsey to make their Twitter feeds more relevant to certain topics or interests.
Stop the bullying and trolling
And there’s one more thing that people can’t stand about Twitter right now – and that’s the non-stop trolling and bullying that goes on via Twitter. In many ways, Twitter is the single easiest platform for people to vent about brands they don’t like, celebrities they enjoy mocking (just ask Mariah Carey after her disastrous New Year’s eve performance in Times Square!), or politicians they loathe.
On Twitter, anyone can have an opinion, and since you don’t necessarily have to be coherent in just 140 characters, it’s made Twitter into perhaps the snarkiest social media platform. People enjoy using Twitter while watching TV because it gives them a chance to turn up the sarcasm factor even higher. Just check out what’s happening to your Twitter feed during any presidential debate or any live sports event.
Ultimately, the answer of how to save Twitter is not going to be an easy one. Simply making a few incremental changes – such as enabling people to edit their tweets after making a typo – isn’t going to help. Just as people ultimately moved on from Friendster and MySpace (remember those?), it may be time for people to move on from Twitter if there isn’t a major change made soon.