In the past, on occasion – I’ve Tweeted out a few ideas I think would make Twitter better. But more importantly I’ve mentioned a few things that would likely turn Twitter – as a company – around in no time.
I’m talking profitable – if properly executed.
As a power user, on since 2009, I can’t help but think that the management has simply given up on making it “all that it could be”. I suppose this is implied by virtue of the fact they supposedly have themselves up for sale and rumors of an impending buyout sporadically surface with ever increasing frequency.
I consider Twitter to be a utility – vital to National security as it provides a free exchange of news, ideas and critical information in the timeliest manner of any modern media.
But let me get to the point here.
I’ve thought of all sorts of cool things Twitter could implement to take it to a whole new level… make it great again. Maybe whoever buys Twitter will steal some of my ideas (providing ample compensation of course).
Some of these only make sense and some may be far-fetched, but this post is meant to be a brain dump of all most of the things I think would improve it and – full stop – turn the company around and make it wildly profitable.
Before I start my list let me say this. IMO web twitter twitter.com is lame (for the power user).
Tweetdeck, on the other hand is a masterpiece ‘web app’ on the Desktop. One day I’m gonna get a monitor 4-feet wide.
If ur not using Tweetdeck on ur Desktop, ur doin’ it wrong.
Funny thing about Tweetdeck (web version) – I don’t get any ads or promoted Tweets. It’s an ad-free experience and I wonder if they will ever possess the technology to serve ads to someone such as myself, who probably views 2k Tweets a day.
Perhaps it’s a gift to us power users but it seems to me they are leaving a lot of money on the table. Let me just say it here – I’d pay a few bucks a month just for the privilege of using Tweetdeck as opposed to the standard web version the masses use. BTW I have the iPhone app which ain’t bad when I’m out and about.
If forced I’d pay ninety-nine cents to download the app each time I get a new phone or tablet. I probably shouldn’t give them these bright ideas.
Before I get into some more complex innovations I’d like to see, let me just throw out a few obvious things they could do if they so found the inspiration and could competently execute.
1) Partner with Amazon and introduce “Buy It Now” Buttons into everyone’s stream – tailored to their personal interests. When it was suggested that Google might buy them I envisioned something like this.
Imagine the 1-time “Special Deal” Buy It Now for a Huge Discount Today Only ads they could serve. Imagine the impulse purchases they could get me to fall for if they only had the technology to show me an ad for something I’d buy on an impulse – like a necktie for my cat.
It only makes sense…
2) Here’s an idea – more from a usability standpoint. When someone new joins Twitter the experience is fairly lame to say the least. I know this because I set up a Twitter account for a friend just to get him hooked up. The biggest problem setting up a new account is who to follow and what they are doing now is terrible – who cares about following all these stupid celebrities?
I want to be able to click a drop-down list and follow Finance Twitter, Comedy Twitter, Cat Picture Twitter, News Feed Twitter, Technology Twitter, Conspiracy Nuts Twitter, Political Twitter (not really) etc. I think you get the point. There are so many genres of Twitter and being able to select a pre-curated list of the best follows in that genre would maximize retention immediately (for new users). Just create some bots to curate and update the pre-defined “genre lists”. (a feature like this would make it so much more sticky and keep new MAU’s engaged).
Curating a great list is time consuming and difficult. It would be easier to subscribe to a genre and then just unfollow the ones that you don’t care for, rather than the other way around. How about being able to clone someone’s follow list?
Speaking of features, it would be great if users could “tag” tweets, sports, politics etc. and let other users filter out tweets with those tags. At this point I’d pay ten bucks to not see any more election related Tweets until after inauguration day.
3) Twitter could charge a nominal fee to remove ads for users. There are likely people that would go for that. They can stuff my Tweetdeck stream with ads and then demand I pay $50 a year for an ad-free experience. That’s a no-brainer, even though I hate to give them the idea. But no ads in Tweetdeck is just leaving money on the table and seems stupid. Maybe it’s just me…
I guess they haven’t figured out a lot of this stuff yet.
4) This is an odd one… do you know what a Collection is? It’s an extra feed different than lists that allows you to drag any Tweet to a custom timeline. What they screwed up is the fact that I can’t Tweet directly to a Collection without it showing up in my regular stream. Therefore I can’t post certain “marginally appropriate” content to my inner-circle, which would be incredibly cool. I don’t want to screw around with having multiple accounts to accomplish something so mundane.
Being able to Tweet directly to an alternate custom stream would open up all sorts of possibilities.
People actually sell services that provide content to locked Twitter accounts, and Twitter doesn’t even get a cut. Are you kidding me? Imagine if they facilitated the transaction for anyone that wanted to start a “paid feed” – handling everything as a service in which they’d take a cut. I’m sure there are users that would pay a buck or two a month to subscribe to some “extraordinary content” and people that would be inspired to produce said content if they were making a few bucks off of it.
Before I forget to mention this – I once said that I think they have their ad strategy ass-backwards. They send me emails asking if I’d like to pay them to “promote” my Twitter stream of nonsense. Why the hell would I want to do that? I’m not selling anything and I’m just on Twitter to have some fun, learn something and stay informed. I get 10x more information out of Twitter then I put in and the idea of paying to promote one of my Tweets seems preposterous.
They should be paying me!
I think they have it upside-down – they should offer me a cut of revenue as inspiration to Tweet something that might generate revenue, sort of like Youtube does with their revshare commercials. They should DM me and say “hey would you like to do some product placement for Tidy Cats in one of your cat pics and we’ll cut you in?”. I’d be like “hell yeah”.
Imagine the “product placement” deals they could cut – and I’m not talking about celebrities just Tweeting out crap ads. It could be way more subtle than that.
By the way, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’d pay a couple bucks a month for the ability to edit typos and have Bold and Italics at my disposal.
In summary, Twitter if Twitter wanted to turn things around and take it to the next level they could:
Implement a Buy It Now button – and 1-click impulse purchase items (partner with Amazon)
Charge a nominal fee for an ad-free experience (for non Tweetdeck users)
Charge a lousy $.99 for their mobile app – I’d pay it
Charge ten bucks a year for the ability to edit Tweets and have Bold and Italics
Charge something for Tweetdeck (or even put some ads / promoted Tweets in there) or perhaps strong-arm me into paying something for not screwing up the best thing they have
Strike revenue share deals, facilitate transactions and offer turn-key services – in an effort to capture a cut of some of the revenue that’s already being transacted on their platform
(this is where I’ll add a bunch more things at a later date)
Anyway I just hope whoever buys Twitter has enough inspiration and talented thinkers to take it to the next level. Twitter is a ubiquitous utility that can be used in infinite ways and there is no better source of real-time information available anywhere. If something important is happening anywhere on the planet, twitter is the go-to source to find out what’s happening.
I didn’t even scratch the surface as far as things they could do to improve the platform and generate revenue. I think I actually forgot my best two ideas.
But I do hope that the next owner of Twitter immediately removes all censorship (good luck with that). As an information platform it’s imperative that I see every Tweet from everyone I follow – there should be no exceptions. This whole “quality filter” and shadow banning nonsense is ridiculous.
I sincerely hope someone will step in and take all the potential just sitting there to the next level. Getting into broadcasting seems like a good start.
For more ideas and a different post in similar vein, check out this article by David Pinson that takes this topic a step further http://seekingalpha.com/article/3979097-twitter-potential-gold-mine
I particularly like the “buy someone a beer” idea.