A few Fail Whale sightings yesterday reminded me of how far and how fast Twitter has grown up and out. It seems like only yesterday when a couple of million users sometimes went 2-3 consecutive days looking at nothing BUT Fail Whales.
Now it’s a rarity. And Twitter has done a good job, in my view, at bringing in monetization streams that are unobtrusive to users and relatively nonthreatening to our data.
But still there are some thing about Twitter that seem to need improvement. And, ironically, by using it to express my opinion, I’ve discovered there are quite a few others who agree with me on two new features that many people would embrace:
- Show number of times user has been blocked. Most of us have had the experience. Someone you don’t know jumps into your stream. They start pinging you frequently. They post comments that may be inappropriate, disturbing or just lame. You wonder if you are over-reacting. You go to that user’s home page and get some helpful information. But would it not be nice to know how many times this user has been blocked? Such a feature would also serve as a warning signal that the person you are talking with is actually a bot.
- Install a topical filter. There are people who I greatly enjoy following. But they have defaulted foursquare to post every visit to their local Home Depot or coffee shop. I really don’t want to know about it. Simultaneously, If either the Boston Red Sox or Celtics get into post-season games, I tend to post scores of play-by-play tweets. This annoys quite a few people who follow me primarily for social media content. I understand and wish they could do something about it without unfollowing me. A simple button should allow people to filter by topic without dropping someone they wish to follow.
I know, I know. The Tweetdeck zealots keep telling me that the client of their choice already has topical filters. But that just means that it should be easy for Twitter to incorporate one into their core technology where ALL users should enjoy it.
I also know that you can use FourSquare and opt not to send your posts to Twitter. But many of their friends like to see the geographic comments. Some may actually care about who is now mayor at the local Trailways bus depot.
They should have the right to post to Twitter and I should have the option to filter it out if I don’t want it.
I know from Twitter that some people agree with me. Perhaps you don’t. Please let me know.
And one more thing. If the Fail Whale is coming back, perhaps they could get a few more selections of the artwork–or some variation. Perhaps run a contest to name each of the 8 bluebirds with tweet user names and perhaps get a corporate sponsor for the FailWhale. If none will pay, then donate the space to GreenPeace.