There are a lot of changes happening over at Twitter at the minute. They recently updated their Terms of Service and now they’re working on Project ReTweet, where sharing someone else’s tweet with your connections will be performed differently from the current user-generated method.
As is usual when wide-scale changes happen at a company (or, in this case, on a digital stream), there are both fans and dissenters to the new proposals. That’s normal. But what if Twitter could bypass the need for changes like the retweet one?
Twitter’s reasoning for the change is that it can be a confusing mess for new users, and it’s one of the reasons a lot of new users give up within the first month.
While that’s true, a lot of that comes down to the fact that Twitter itself doesn’t offer a great user guide for newcomers. A really simple FAQ or intro sheet emailed to new users would make all the difference, and then they could advise of user-created options, how they fit in and how best to use them.
This would help settle in new users and create something similar to the WordPress community, where you’d have the official tools as well as the community-created ones that existing users can help with. It’d help people settle in more quickly and get the sticky factor that Twitter needs (if reports that 40% of all new users quit after one month is accurate).
But why stop there? There are other areas that Twitter could help keep new and existing users stay happy.
Kill the Private Spam
This is a major problem for Twitter. We know there’s a chance our public streams will have some spam content. But I don’t recall signing up for private message spam from third-party platforms that I didn’t even register for. Pirate games and mafia clans are just two current examples. How can they get into my private message area when I’m not a user? Not good, Twitter.
Make the Suggested Users List Relevant
When you sign up for a new account, Twitter gives you a list of suggested users. The problem is, this list is usually filled with either celebrities or Twitter “power users”. These accounts can often be amongst the most active and busy as far as content goes – how can that be a good introduction when you’ve just joined? Instead, why not work with something like Twellow, ask a couple of simple questions and use these keywords to offer suggestions that actually make sense? So, people in your locality, industry, interest zones, etc, and ease new users into the system as opposed to scaring them off with hyper feeds to follow.
These are just some options that Twitter could take to make the experience better. They’re nothing major, yet they could possibly make a big difference (at least from a user-friendliness viewpoint).
How about you – how would you make Twitter more sticky?