My problem with Twitter’s journey forward started with the limits placed on the people who first help create the whole thing — the developers. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue if their own apps were sterling, offered timeline synchronisation and set the trends for everyone else. Realistically, both Twitter for iOS and Android, as well as the Mac version, are appalling. There are many, many better apps out there and my personal favourite is and most probably always will be Tweetbot (for iPhone, iPad and OS X). I am certain that a time will come when Twitter will cut off third-party developers and that will be the day when I most probably leave the service, never to return. I wrote an open letter to Twitter last year, detailing my gripes with them — obviously they don’t care much for my point of view.
Twitter’s CFO, Anthony Noto, detailed some upcoming changes to Twitter’s core function — the reverse chronological timeline:
Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better.
One of the sole reasons I stopped using Facebook was because of their Edge Rank bullshit. Many of my friends are still on there and I still have my account, but I check what’s going on perhaps once a week — usually once a month. I just cannot be bothered anymore and when I am I only check my notifications panel anyway. If it is Twitter’s goal to copy Facebook’s worst feature and simultaneously mess with my timeline, which I have carefully curated over the years, then all I can do is wish them luck in their future ventures.
I did come across a different point of view of why Twitter should not rely on algorithms yesterday, written by Zeynep Tufekci. She makes some very interesting points and cites a viable example of how technology at this point in time is still not able to do what we can.
Twitter’s uncurated feed certainly has some downsides, and I can see some algorithmic improvements that would make it easier for early users to adopt the service, but they’d potentially be chopping off the very—sometimes magical—ability of mature Twitter to surface from the network. And the key to this power isn’t the reverse chronology but rather the fact that the network allows humans to exercise free judgment on the worth of content, without strong algorithmic biases. That cumulative, networked freedom is what extends the range of what Twitter can value and surface, and provides some of the best experiences of Twitter.
At this point I’m extremely dejected and starting to look for alternatives. I still have my App.net account to fall back on, however with so few people there in comparison, I doubt Dalton’s dream platform will make a comeback. I wish it would though …