5.12.2009

Twitter Feature Requests

I make no bones about the fact that I really like Twitter. I love its immediacy, I love its rambling community, I love sharing pics from the day, I love hearing from friends and some strangers.

But, as with anything, there are downsides to the up. There are people who use Twitter like a blunt marketing instrument. There are bots exhorting you to visit some sex site or some retail site. There are wonks that do nothing but spew links to fake giveaways, that post nothing but words other people have written and then there are people who follow you solely in the hopes that you'll follow them back.

I have one "follower" who started following me yesterday morning. By the afternoon, she'd stopped following and then followed me again. Now, I have my Twitter set to notify me of new follows and the only thing I can conclude from her actions is that she was trying to nudge me towards following her back. Only she's not a Tweep, she's a sales bot. Her sole purpose for being on Twitter is to drive sales for her hand creams and other whatnot. Sorry but I'm not interested and the passive aggressive behavior is seriously off-putting.

As I tend towards optimism mostly, I'll leave the downsides at those above. There are more, of course, but let's turn back towards the light, shall we?

How could Twitter improve? Here are some thoughts from the trenches.

- Create a setting to approve or disallow new followers. Or, even better, to automatically deny access by people with user-defined parameters (like filters so that I could, for example, auto-deny followers who use the word marketing in their bios or they have to ask for permission to follow me first).
- A means to collect, keep and easily share all of the very cool Twitter add-ons. Sort of like a Delicious bookmarking system but within Twitter. It could easily be expanded to beyond just Twitter links but I'd most like to make use of it for Twitter stuff, at least at first.
[Update: Upon further thought, this is actually a pretty good place to use the Favorite function to save posts that contain links to good stuff you want to be able to revisit more easily. Still, it would be good to have a specific function to save links.]
- A conversation setting that would remove any comments outside of a specified conversation across two or more tweeps. This could also involve incorporating response outside of a Tweep's follows. It could be a great way of adding to one's follows and followers lists.
- Categories - I exist in several spheres and it can sometimes be confusing, difficult or just plain taxing to keep who is who separate. This is the same kind of thing that TweetDeck is already doing for users but I'd love to see it incorporated into the site from the get go.
- Private Tweets - less a direct message and more of a private message that only followers noted as friends or in a particular group or category could read. I mean, do I really want people who think I might still be reasonably cool to know that I'm a Skyrates, fantasy baseball, Survivor nerd?

Those are just the ones off the top of my bleached blond head. What features would you love to see loaded into Twitter.

Update: Another one I just thought of. An easy, graphical way to see if someone you follow does not follow you back. All too often, I follow someone back, they eventually realize that I'm a blithering idiot and unfollow me, I'll reply to their tweet about something and they don't see it for a day or two because it doesn't show up in their stream but on their @fenriq (or whoever they are) page.
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