Now that we know that Twitter won’t ever hit the billion mark on total users before the end of the decade, you have to wonder if Twitter if looking within to see why. In the last few years, if anybody said that a billion people on the planet would be using Twitter by 2018, you would have believed it. When you consider how many people used Twitter during some of the world’s most major disasters and historical events of the last five years, you have to wonder why not everyone intends to use it in future years.
Has there been some stigmas attached to Twitter lately that’s keeping new people away? Considering I’ve been an avid Twitter user for more than five years, I can see some of the major strengths and weaknesses the company continues to give to the faithful users. With those things in mind, there’s still plenty more that could improve Twitter and attract the extra 600 million they’d need to hit the billion mark within the next four years.
Expanding Character Space
While Twitter has always prided itself on forcing users to express themselves in 140 characters, it’s becoming an increasing challenge to do that when people want to express themselves more effusively about issues. With Twitter becoming a massive forum where nearly everyone who’s someone now resides, tweeting about world events may have to require saying something in more than 140 characters. Even if you can always just continue a thought in a series of tweets, it breaks up the continuity of thought for some people.
Some apps already allow you to expand your tweets, despite requiring you to click a link to see the expanded comment. Twitter should just allow an automatic character extension if we need it. Just having it as an option will remind us that we should still be as pithy as possible. And the only time we may have to use it is when we have a tweet full of links that requires more space to fit any of our own comment in.
For new users who don’t know how to write in short bursts, it may be frustrating them. It may be why they’ve perhaps left for other social media options that provide plenty of room for textual expression.
Better Ways to Read Tweets from Earlier in the Day
Have you ever gone on Twitter late at night and wanted to peruse tweets from earlier in the day that you missed? There isn’t any way to do that unless you scroll and scroll and scroll until it feels like you’ve gone to the center of the earth. The earlier stream even cuts off after a number of hours. It’s one of the biggest weaknesses on Twitter where tweets more than three hours old almost go the route of SnapChat and enter the halls of the Library of Congress, never to be seen again. While you can always read back tweets on individual accounts, it’s currently impossible in stream form. If Twitter had a feature allowing you to read tweets from certain hours of the day (and even from days before), they’d likely increase users. Far too many people find value in tweets now rather than considering them mere throwaways as they perhaps were in the early Twitter days.
Better Spam Filters
Spam has improved on Twitter considerably, though getting spam followers is still a major issue annoying many people. More so, the spam is so unconvincing that it’s almost pathetic in its attempt. When all you get on your follow list is spam day in and day out, it can easily make you feel like using Twitter isn’t even worth it. There must be a better way to keep those spam accounts from infiltrating your follow list, despite them using keywords to find followers as legitimate businesses do on Twitter.
Most of the spam follows are easy to scope out at least. Almost all of them have no interactions and only decorate their accounts with aphorisms from famous literary figures to give the impression of being thoughtful. The avatars are usually someone scantily clad, giving you hints it’s a porn spam ring.
As Twitter implements new profile features lately, though, they’re already on the road to improving things. If you were lucky enough to be a beta tester of the new profiles, you saw a lot of new features that may lure any lost users back. One is more freedom of expression on your profile page, including pinning favorite personal tweets. A pop-up box also comes up when someone replies to you, plus a number up in the Notifications box indicates how many replies you have.
By 2018, Twitter may look considerably different, yet easier communication and expression are going to be the keys to convincing skeptical people that Facebook will be the one considerably down by then. As major world events continue to unfold in the next four years, we may find out Twitter is still the best place to commune and be one as a world reflecting on the good and bad around us.