Twitter’s Employees Just Don’t Understand


The discussion under this tweet, in which a Twitter developer — Andy Piper — chimes in, is completely bizarre. I don’t know Andy, so I have no clue if he’s trolling or being extremely sarcastic — it sure seems that way — but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Tim Hetzel answered one of his questions with the following

What makes Twitter work?

A real-time reverse chronological stream of short text messages, with images, videos and links, served through an API open to any client. That’s it. It’s a utility like email.

Andy’s answer is baffling.

One of his follow-up questions asks about “what is happening in the moment”, which I assume means the search tab in the Twitter app, which surfaces local or worldwide content. The problem with this is that I have to manually check that tab to find things which could potentially interest me. Twitter profiles every user — they know exactly what I write about, what I link to, what I read, who my followers are, and who I follow. They should be able to automatically suggest trends and topics as they happen and evolve by now. Instead, when I was catching up on the latest news from the Genoa bridge tragedy, Twitter was able to suggest I follow some sort of local Italian football club, a former athlete (I assume), and a neuroscientist. Why a neuroscientist? Probably because her surname is “Genova”:

I wrote an open letter to Twitter in 2013, in which I mentioned what I would like to see in the future. It’s 2018 and we still have no timeline sync, the native apps often reset my current reading position, and threads reappear at the top of a timeline, whenever someone replies to one:

Twitter has (near enough) all of the resources that it needs to do whatever they want with their product. It’s been seven years or so since they launched and they are still missing fundamental features. A sensible search engine is one of them. Sync is another. In car terms, Twitter is currently a luxury vehicle without climate control, electrically operated windows and an annoying squeak coming from the dashboard. Sure, it gets people from A to B, but it does so with us cussing all the way. It’s simply not a great experience if you try to use their native clients and web interface.

In fact, its even worse now. Twitter only has native apps for iOS and Android, their design is utterly terrible, and the web interface is substandard. Tomorrow, push notifications and other features are going away for third-party clients. This is one of the reasons I have implemented my own microblog here on Infinite Diaries, where I control my content. It’s not as easy to post, but it’s already possible using and the apps that support it. I still need some more specific features for it to work exactly as I intend it to, but that would mean talking to either one of the developers or making my own app.

In the meantime, you can follow me via RSS/JSON in English, RSS/JSON in Polish, or find me on Mastodon I’m still on Twitter @morid1n, but this might change in the near future.

Chcesz zwrócić mi na coś uwagę lub skomentować? Zapraszam na @morid1n.

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