I’ve been a Twitter user for almost a decade. Twitter is having problems making money. Last year they fired some employees to supposedly sharpen their focus. Near the end of 2016 Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter asked users for ideas of how to make Twitter better. There are some issues that I can see with Twitter and the way it works. Especially now with a multitude of other social networks out there. But there are also huge benefits to the platform and before those benefits erode I hope Twitter is able to capitalize on them. Personally one of the top annoyances for me is the 140 character limit for tweets. Twitter has tried to work around it by providing unlimited characters for direct messages(DMs), not including twitter handles and links in the character count. I do understand the tight balancing act. We are humans and if you give us an inch we will take a mile. If the character count becomes unlimited that may lead to unwieldy tweets that are multiple paragraphs long. I also do give them credit for making a decision on the design of their platform and sticking to it. However time marches on and sticking with the decision doesn’t mean there aren’t better ways to enable the ability. I once thought that Twitter would be wise to open up their platform to other social platforms. Currently for example if you link an Instagram post to Twitter there is a link to the post itself. I envisioned Twitter showing the entire content keeping users on the platform instead of exiting out to another app. However now I think there may be another way for Twitter to evolve with time. I wonder why Twitter doesn’t take a two pronged approach and make an Instagram clone and messaging app that ties into Twitter?
One of the best things about Instagram is the lack of a character limit. It allows users to tell the full story of their pictures. Everyone is copying Snapchats features including Instagram. I ask again why doesn’t Twitter take a two pronged approach and make an Instagram clone and messaging app? First up would be an Instagram like app that would allow Twitter users to get around the 140 character limit when needed. The app would tie into Twitter and posts would be displayed entirely within tweets. There would be a … icon which would expand the normal sized tweet to the full size showing both the image and message. It gives users the control on whether they want to see more or move on through their timeline. Users routinely post to Twitter from their Instagram account so I don’t see why they wouldn’t use this instead. It would be more tightly integrated into Twitter. It would remove the need to make yet another social media account and it would also display entirely within Twitter instead of just linking to the content. It would also give Twitter another avenue to try and monetize.
The messaging thing is big. A while back my friends and I used Twitter to message each other via the DM function. It was convenient because it was cross platform and well established. Today there are so many messaging apps but the problem is that users are split among them all. Which means that if one person wants to stay in touch with family and friends they have to install every messaging app under the sun. It also means that if you have only one friend using a particular app then they might get left out in the cold. Twitter has been around for so long that it is well established now. There is a good chance that many of your friends and family already use Twitter. It’s probably the same reasoning why Facebook put out Facebook Messenger. Why Twitter doesn’t want to take advantage of their established user base is beyond me. Like Facebook another benefit would be that users would use their twitter handle instead of their number. Messaging might also be a lot easier to monetize. Especially with things like sticker packs and picture filters. Twitter is cross platform yet another benefit over some messengers. I keep coming back to this but the established user base is a major bonus to Twitter. The problem a messaging app has for example in iOS is that it’s not the default application. The app must get users to build the habit of using it as their default messenger. Users are already used to opening Twitter everyday. It’s a built in habit and if they capitalized on that habit incorporating the messaging app into Twitter. Twitter Chat would have already overcome that problem.
I’m a long time user and though I might use it a little less than I once did. It still holds a place on my home screen for a reason. I hope that Twitter finds its way and at the same time gives users more features for a better experience.