Twitter suffers an irrepressable flow of negative criticism from the media and Wall Street. Today we hear that Twitter’s CEO is stepping down. As a media force of our time we all have a stake in what happens to Twitter.
Eight days ago the investor Chris Sacca published a popular and very long recommendation called What Twitter Can Be. He gets into ideas about live events and hand curation I’m skeptical about, but I think he nails the high-level solution:
- Make Tweets effortless to enjoy.
- Make it easier for all to participate, and
- Make each of us on Twitter feel heard and valuable.
In my book I wrote a case study on Twitter vs. Pownce. Pownce had more features. Pownce had better visual design. Pownce didn’t crash everyday. And yet Twitter won and Pownce closed down. Why? Twitter focused on making it easier to join, read, and tweet.
- Pownce restricted new accounts to keep its backend from overloading whereas Twitter let everyone in.
- Pownce focused on rolling out great features whereas Twitter focused on integrating with everyone else’s platform.
In other words, Twitter was focused on growth at the expense of what we traditionally think of as good product design, resulting ultimately in a better customer experience because they provided a microblogging service with a critical mass of readers and tweeters.
I’d love to see them double down on that original approach that made them great. Ignore all the bells and whistles that make the products cool for people in San Francisco and get radically easier to participate.
Here’s a video where I talk about the Pownce v. Twitter case study.
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