Why Twitter Sucks
I found this in my Documents folder. I wrote it about three months ago, and haven't seen a hint of progress in the "right" direction, so I figured I should post it. :)
The Legacy of 140 characters
I realize that a large number of people will say that the beauty and elegance of Twitter is in the fact that it limits your posts to 140 characters. While it might be perfectly reasonable to assume that any given random thought such as, "I am watching (movie X here)." or "Hey, anyone want to meet at (meeting location here)?", this is a huge limitation when trying to communicate with someone for an extended chat, which leads to:
Just use Email/AIM/etc.
If you're going to communicate beyond your 140 character ramblings with someone, it's probably someone that you have some outside connection with. Given the wide variety of instant messaging clients out there, it's very likely that you already have a connection with this person on an IM network. Just chat there. Why do you need to use some obfuscated "d name (140 character thought here)" syntax to have a private chat with someone you already connect with? I realize that client applications make this a little easier, but still... 140 characters per line? Seriously, It's 2009.
Now, I'm certainly no social marketing "expert", nor do I have a 6+figure follower count, but I would expect that if someone "follows" my twitter posts, and I'm following theirs, that they're interested in my commentary, random postings, and whatnot. In a refined culture, my understanding is that it is customary to respond when someone says something to you, or comments on something you've said. Countless times, my replies and mentions have been ignored by these same people who started following my posts to begin with. The people that do respond tend to fall into the category of people that I talk to on other mediums, such as AIM, SMS, or Email. Maybe I have the wrong group of "followers". :)
It seems like Twitter is a great way to get instant news-like updates from various parts of the internet, but it's very difficult to section off the people that post things that you want to see on a regular basis, and those that post things that belong in a particular category. One might want a category for one's culinary peers, and another for one's professional peers. I might not want to see posts from my professional peers on the weekends, and likewise those from my "buddies" while I'm at my 9-5. I don't think that's an "easy" thing to get a grip on with Twitter, and definitely not one that's portable from my iPhone to my desktop Twitter client to the web interface.
(Note: I don't use any of these "apps". I tried them, don't like them.)
One the one hand, it's great that Twitter has an API that (sort-of) allows for extensibility, but it also leads to a fragmented experience. How do I keep "all this extra functionality" tied down? One app might auto-follow people that follow me, and another might auto-post something to my new followers to tell them a little something more about me, and yet another might recommend other users that I might be interested in following based on some criteria in my own posts. How does one keep track of all these bits of functionality? A lot of this stuff seems like it would make sense to have in the core, knowing that it's coming from a trusted source rather than some random "app".