Twitter has changed much of its management, while questions about its ability to grow revenue and users abound. During this time, I’ve paid increased attention to what leads me to really like Twitter on some days and just tolerate it on others. I started keeping track of my thoughts about Twitter last spring/summer when everyone was abuzz about the need for change. As Twitter is dominating the headlines once again, I went back to my notes and realized I still have many of the same observations about the service.
I’d value the product more if the following changes were made:
Local: As others have said, paying attention to local and optimizing the natural crowdsourcing already taking place is a big opportunity. I wish searching for my current city would immediately bring up the events people are attending, the restaurants they're enjoying, or a sale at a nearby store they're shopping.Currently, the most valuable tweets or the ones from high-profile or heavily-followed users don’t rise to the top. And what does isn't valuable.
Search & filtering: I follow a lot of users who often tweet about topics that interest me. But they have other interests I don't share and I don't necessarily want to see their feelings about a sports game or reactions to a reality show. Make it easier for me to find what I want in my feed. Let me hide tweets and ask me why (since muting hashtags isn't foolproof) or let me search tweets (and see or filter them out) based on a remembered set of keywords.
Monopolization of the feed: Too many sites and publications tweet the same story, headline or link (if not the exact same tweet) hourly. This is an increasing nuisance and one for which I'd like to see Twitter find a way to penalize users. And while I do continue to follow some tweet-stormers, I dislike it more often than not. Further, when I'm interested in the storm, the experience of having to click into replies to see the diatribe also isn’t great. How about a maximum number of tweets-per-minute rule? Otherwise, why have the character limit (which I think is a distinguishing feature of Twitter that should remain)?
Summaries: I know Twitter would like me use the service incessantly. And because Twitter is an excellent source of information for me, I’m on it a lot. But there are days when it’s just not going to happen. It’s at those times when I’d value a summary of what I missed that I actually would've wanted to see. Which tweets by the people I follow got the most engagement? Based on tweets with which I usually engage, what does Twitter think I’d be disappointed to miss? What trended with the people with whom I most often engage? Note that Moments provides none of this! And Nuzzel, which is an incredible complement to Twitter, is helpful for links to articles but not for these other items.
Mobile UX: This is the most minor of my feedback and it's a problem not unique to Twitter. The iPhone 6 Plus is big. I'm right-handed and often hold my phone in my left hand while my right hand is, for example, holding onto a subway pole. It's hard to reach my thumb across the phone to the top right corner of the screen to search or compose. If you have small hands, try it and you'll see.
As we know, Twitter can grow by adding users and/or better monetizing its current users. An improved product will make existing users more valuable and make it more likely we’ll recruit others to the platform.