Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Is Twitter Optimizing For Users Who Even Exist?

A widely dreaded new Twitter feature became a reality today, but it's optional.
You follow hundreds of people on Twitter — maybe thousands — and when you open Twitter, it can feel like you've missed some of their most important Tweets. Today, we're excited to share a new timeline feature that helps you catch up on the best Tweets from people you follow.

Here's how it works. You flip on the feature in your settings; then when you open Twitter after being away for a while, the Tweets you're most likely to care about will appear at the top of your timeline – still recent and in reverse chronological order.
It's good to see that Twitter's notoriously ever-changing and tone-deaf management is listening, a little, for a change. But there are obviously better things Twitter could be doing with its energy here, and by Twitter's own reasoning, this only solves problems for a subset of its user base:
You follow hundreds of people on Twitter — maybe thousands — and when you open Twitter, it can feel like you've missed some of their most important Tweets.
How big is that subset? Who has this problem?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that "important Tweets" is even a meaningful phrase, that a tweet which is important can exist, and that capitalizing "Tweet" is an honest example of clear writing. It's obviously a deliberate attempt to avoid trademark genericization, but let's just pretend that anyone else but Twitter employees, anywhere in the universe, ever capitalizes "tweet," for the sake of argument, and further assume that "important Tweets" are a thing which really exist.

Let's give Twitter all this bullshit that they're trying to get away with, and then just ask: does their argument even make sense under its own false assumptions? Who out there is bummed that they missed an important "Tweet" because they follow thousands of people on Twitter?