Twitter, My Darling
A year ago, I knew nothing about you, Twitter. And now you are the darling of my social media world.
At first I was a little scared of you. Your reputation is one of unpredictable power, and I was worried, quite reasonably, that I would be lost in your endless seas.
And then there are those hash tags – your courtiers – proving to us, time and again, the reach of your reign.
“The other kids are doing it” is a phrase that has never worked with me, and I resisted learning anything about for you for a long, long time. Finally, the Godfather talked me through my fears and I gathered the courage to set my first footfall in your kingdom.
A handful of steps later, it was love. A business extraction of the emotion, naturally, but when a person enjoys his or her work, I do believe an element of love is woven through the day.
I’m pointing this out because I am a tad distressed with you, Twitter.
Some funny business has been going on since you swept through with system-wide changes about eight weeks ago. Maybe it was ten weeks ago.
Please know that what I am about to say, I say with love. What have done to yourself?
Twitter, whoever talked you into this latest round of upgrades did you a grand disservice.
The changes you made have turned your ingenious tool in a cumbersome, lopsided, hard to manage headache. You’re the top of the top. Your team has moved mountains to achieve this level of global success. Don’t sacrifice those gains, those achievements, to Pinterest, now at number three and, if momentum holds, positioned to pass you.
It is going to be tough to hold on to the territory and the followers you have carved out.
When I first understood your abilities, your lures, I thought “how did I resist you all this time?” Eight months into the joy ride, you put on the brakes. Hard.
For example, since the changes, you keep cutting me off when I’m responding to community members on my “Interactions” page. Does the new system not recognize that I’m responding to people who have reached out to me?
That’s not spam or self-aggrandizement. It’s called “community building.”
How can I have such a small number of replies allowed before I am locked out for hours at a time? You are making it literally impossible for me to ever catch up.
If you read my blog, Twitter, you know I do not use auto-follow. I like seeing who is out there in Twitterland, and reading bios, clicking on links to blogs and books, retweeting cool/interesting/relevant things they’ve said. You’re locking me out on retweets, too.
So. Unbelievably. Annoying.
Worse than either of those, frankly, is that prior to the changes you made about two months ago, I could move around on Twitter four times faster than I am able to now. That's a productivity loss of 75%!
I am self-published author, Twitter. You’ve probably noticed the surge in numbers we’ve added to your population. Please keep in mind that we are responsible for every component of creating, packaging and marketing our novels, short stories, and poems.
For us, efficiency is job one.
These days, when I reply to a tweet, you change the screen on me by scrolling to some other part of whatever list I’m interacting with after I click the send button. I have to search out where I was in the list every single time.
Man, does that get old.
Especially when I have hundreds of “Interactions” waiting for a reply.
By the way, whole days are dropping from my “Interactions” page. I can see some of the tweets in HootSuite, but none of them in my Twitter account. That seems extremely odd. It also makes it nearly impossible to community build.
In the Twitter community, acknowledgement of one another is very important. I appreciate it when others show me the courtesy of a reply, and I work hard to do the same. But if my “Interactions” disappear in twelve hour chunks, it becomes impossible for me to know who has reached out to me, much less respond to them.
The list of problems and inefficiencies that have arisen since the changes were installed on your system is longer than what I have written. If you would like to hear the rest, Twitter, I’d be thrilled to have the opportunity to share it with you.
Some people in my Twitter community have talked about problems with random follows or unfollows since the changes were made. I’m happy to tell you that I haven’t experienced that problem.
The only rational conclusions I can drawn about your sudden morph from Bugatti to Yugo are that either you don’t know these problems exist, which is why I’m writing this post, or you are intentionally driving Twitter users to the apps.
Perhaps you have a stake in every Twitter app that taps into your site and that is how you are planning to add new kick to your stride. Everyone knows there is big money to be found in them there hills. Good for you for looking for ways to grow your stake in the marketplace. You are a business, and businesses need new revenue streams, new capital to innovate and thrive.
But if the cost of those innovations is a permanent loss of your previous speed and agility, I can only wonder how many of us will be looking for a new star to rise.
You have created an amazing tool that gives each one of us the social media equivalent of a golf handicap. From a communications standpoint, it is a great equalizer in the best possible way.
You hold a lot of power in your hands, Twitter. Perhaps you’d be willing to consider putting some of it back in horsepower department.