5 ways to "mainstream" Twitter
Twitter's founder Jack Dorsey, who is returning to become the company's product chief, said at the Columbia Journalism School on Tuesday that he wants to mainstream Twitter. How does one mainstream such an already engaging platform?
Here are five ways that he might actually accomplish the task, making the site more engaging than it already is:
Improve trending topics
Does anyone really dissect and/or discuss the trending topics? That's what I thought. And yet, it occupies some highly valuable real estate on the microblogging site. Clearly there is work to be done there, because it is not such a bad idea.
Twitter should do something along the lines, for example, of what Twitscoop's Hot Trends does. Twitscoop displays a tag cloud in real time on the right side of the page, with buzzing words. On the left side of the page are detected trends from their far more relevant algorithm.
Maybe Twitter, with an $8-10 billion valuation, should just out and out buy sites like Twitscoop. There are so many great third-party apps out there, and Twitter should not be shy about purchasing some of them and integrating them into the overall user experience.
Who better to provide analytics on user social capital of a social media site than the site itself?
There is a great demand now for platforms scoring social media influence, which employs today's hot topic: gaming mechanics. Why doesn't Twitter go all in, providing "definitive" Twitter scoring? Why let Klout have all the fun?
"It would be good to have some sort of rating system that lets you see the true value of following someone before you take the plunge," writes Paul Sawyers of TheNextWeb. "Perhaps a score that considers how many of their tweets have been 'favourited' or 'retweeted,' with '@mentions’' and 'Lists following' feeding into this rating somehow."
Further, why not reward some of the best -- funniest, wittiest, most spot-on -- tweets? Why isn't there a "Tweet of the Day" And why not, while they are at it, get a corporate sponsor for that?
Not all tweets are created equal. I certainly have my favorites, what about you?
Joshua Kim at Higher Ed, who claims to be "Still lame at Twitter," has a great idea in prioritizing the microblogging platform. "Maybe we would have train the system, going through a couple of days of the Twitter stream amongst our followers until the system figures out what we like to click on," he writes. "Or maybe it is smarter and prioritizes tweets from people in my LinkedIn network, or Facebook network, or from folks that I've linked to in my blog or have linked to what I've written."
Users should have the option of prioritize tweets. Which brings me to ...
Users reply to tweets, yes, but it is not the best user experience. It somes off as noise in the Twitter feed, particularly because at 140 characters it is difficult to provide context for the conversation. Might the comments become longer than the tweet? Sure. But so what? Those "conversations" might even provide added value -- another reason to make this happen.
I've integrated my Twitter account to LinkedIn, which actually allows for comments. It is a lovely but unfortunately arid format, the LinkedIn comments section. Alas.
Who to follow?
On only two occasions have I actually Followed someone that Twitter suggested on Who To Follow. Facebook's "Friend Suggestions" are much, mush more effective in my opinion. Twitter's algorithm built by the site's user relevance team as to people I should know just doesn't reflect my interests. Again, like Trending Topics it is a fine idea. I would love to "meet" new Twitter followers with interests in, say, publishing. Their process just needs some fine tuning.
How would you "mainstream" Twitter?