Twitter needs a bunch of new users. The company’s future quite literally depends on it.
Even though millions of people come to Twitter each and every day to either sign up for an account or reactivate an existing one, Twitter added just four million new users last quarter, which means a small percentage of those that come to look through the window actually come inside.
The problem, it seems, is a product one. For years now Twitter has been saddled with two major criticisms: 1) The app is too hard to use, and 2) the company doesn’t move quickly enough when it comes to adding new features.
Thankfully, Recode is here! We think a lot about Twitter, and use its product more than we’d like to admit. We have a few product upgrades we’d love Twitter to build.
Add an edit button. I mean, this is the most obvious update out there — even Kim Kardashian has clamored for it in the past — so I almost feel bad even wasting your time by including it.
Twitter has argued that editing a tweet once it’s live could be problematic for those who have retweeted it or embedded it on a third party website. Fair, but there are ways to signal that a tweet has been edited. Or only allow edits within the first five minutes after a tweet has been shared to fix things like broken links or spelling errors.
CEO Jack Dorsey did say it was a “great idea” ... Please don’t make Kim send another email.
@KimKardashian great idea! We're always looking at ways to make things faster and easier.— jack (@jack) July 25, 2015
Bring Periscope into Twitter. We’ve seen what happens when you leave a standalone app and its community to fend for itself — #RIPVine. Don’t let that happen to Periscope! Twitter already lets you watch Periscope videos from within its main feed, but you can’t interact with them or broadcast live without downloading the Periscope app. If Twitter is all about live the way it claims to be, it should simply add a Periscope tab to the main Twitter app where people can A) broadcast and B) go to see what’s currently streaming without the need for a separate app. Seems like a no-brainer.
Create a Twitter news page. If you go to Twitter.com but don’t have an account, you land on what looks and feels like a news website full of tweets about current events under the title “What’s Happening?” It’s not bad. It’s also not an experience that logged-in users get to utilize. Twitter should take this logged-out homepage and make it the logged-in homepage on desktop — just add the user’s normal timeline in the column where it currently asks people to log in. Let people opt out if they don’t like it, but it would be a great way to get current users more in-tune with things happening on Twitter they might not otherwise find.
Make a “save for later” tab or clipboard. This is another layup. I use Twitter’s “Like” button to flag things I want to go back and read later, but I almost never do. And sometimes I don’t want to “Like” a story that I don’t have time to read but want to later on because of who posted it or what it’s about. (That’s right — no free “Likes” for you.) So Twitter should add a clipboard to post tweets and links you just don’t have time to get to while you’re catching up on all the great live content they want you to enjoy.
Better curation for live event feeds. If you’re watching the Patriots play the Texans on “Thursday Night Football,” imagine if Twitter did their homework and offered up a timeline of the best 100 people to follow for that game — former players from each team, local beat reporters, spouses and even chatty opponents. That would be cool. Way cooler than listening to a bunch of random strangers complain that so-and-so just cost them three points in their fantasy football league.
Twitter does not offer this yet, but good news: Something like it may be in the works. “We could make [the timeline] about specific areas of interest,”said CFO Anthony Noto on the company’s earnings call last week. “If it’s the Patriots versus the Chiefs, we could add a tab that’s just for Patriots fans and just for Chiefs fans. ... There are limitless opportunities to personalize that.”
Other ideas from Recode staffers
Eric Johnson: Maybe not a product per se, but I'd most like to see them show some evidence of effort on harassment — better tools to proactively get trolls out of your feed, ideally before they can even reach you.” A number of other Recoders shared similar sentiments. To state the obvious: The trolling issue needs to stop.
Ina Fried: I'd like some sort of spoiler alert/DVR that let’s you avoid tweets related to a specific sports or entertainment event that you have recorded.
Walt Mossberg: Mandatory, universal verification. It would be good to know that all those followers are actual humans on real accounts. Right now, account fraud is rampant.
April Glaser: I would like to see media and photo posts archived in a grid, like Instagram, instead of a backward chronological history of tweets. Sometimes I look for that one weird thing I tweeted a picture of, but it takes five years to find it.
Kara Swisher: I want more followers. Kara speaks for all of us here.
Have ideas of your own? Please send them my way via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Twitter (@kurtwagner8).
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.