Twitter Needs To Change

I’ve been warning about this for some time. I love Twitter and dont want to see it go the way of fads like myspace and friendster. About this time in July Twitter had rampant abuse of suspending people for anonymous things unknown to most users, and had created a huge paranoia amongst many large users and the community. Between that and if you remember in August I believe there began a ton of outages. Between these 2 fronts many people dropped their excitement for Twitter and people became fearful of it expecting to be suspended at any time. I’ve seen it first hand in companies I consult with and their employees conversations with me. At one point 5-10% of employees at given companies I’d found had been suspended on Twitter, alarmingly too high. On top of that during that time every media outlet was chatting about it everywhere, but if you’ve noticed the hype has subsided. It may have been Twitter hit the proverbial peak of hype which wears out an American audience of a disposable society. It may have “jumped the shark” at that time.

There are a few other things that I think contribute to it. Twitter needs better customer service and support. People trying to get help with Twitter, struggle to find help. One day the complaint form works, next day its removed. It needs to stop operating like a startup and like a billion dollar company (as funded) or at least a large company. It needs more employees (REPEAT IT NEEDS MORE EMPLOYEES to provide support) and needs to understand small and medium sized business needs more. Twitter needs to listen more to what the market is telling it to become especially with small and medium sized companies trying to advertise on Twitter. A community includes a marketplace. Everyone is a promoter on Twitter – the fact you think someone cares that your Tweet “I’m walking down a hallway” is relevant means your promoting something. To me thats spam cause its stupid but stupid is relative to opinion.

Twitter needs to be less defensive and treat its users like customers and appreciate them more. I dont have to worry about Walmart suspending me from using their service. Youtube was smart and promoted their top users and people who championed the service. They have big get togethers that help promote their top users and service. Youtube is one of the top searched services next to Facebook. It needs to champion the core middle class users that inspire people, like youtube did, thats where the meat is. Many core non-celeb users on Twitter have been told not to grow their influence anymore on Twitter. These are the people who really help promote the service and help users learn the system.

I have a lot of other reasons, I’ll have to get around to later, but I love Twitter and hope that they staff up and change or adapt some of their operations to be more open and friendly to its users. I think they are understaffed and should listen to their core of users more. I think its a matter of time but I have nightmares it will be too late. Myspace didnt listen to its core users and focused on the big business deals like google. Facebook has endeared itself more to small and medium sized businesses allowing them to advertise and create fan pages for themselves and its the #1 google searched service.