Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Has Twitter ever considered de-escalating its improvements?

tl;dr - perhaps Twitter could attract more users by going back to how it was 'in the old days'. In Twitter's early days not enough people knew about or understood what it could do (not just 'what I had for breakfast'). Presumably some of the slightly annoying tweaks that Twitter's been rolling out over the past few months are intended to make it 'easier to use'. But now that everyone knows what Twitter is my argument here is that all this fiddling about is unnecessary. What are they up to eh?

What I think a 10,000 character tweet might look like (using the example of Twitlonger which has been letting people tweet more than 140 characters for years now):

Apparently Twitter is considering changing (!) from a 140 character limit per tweet to something more like 10,000. I'm going to have to assume that you won't see all of those 10,000 characters as you scroll through, that really would be pretty dire. I'm assuming tweets will look a bit more like those you get with Twitlonger where you get the first 120 characters or so and then a link to the off-Twitter post which you can read in full. Or perhaps they'll do it with a pop-up / floating overlaid window, or even just a 'click to expand' (which we already do with tweets anyway).

It's all fine with me, I am pretty chatty on Twitter and a longer format serves me very well, so speaks the voice of one who has #TouchTypistPrivilege ;)

Twitter's forever tinkering with things and I'm never quite sure why. I suppose there's the pressure to innovate as opposed to stagnating but not many of their recent changes have really improved the service. I understand Twitter's very keen to garner new users and perhaps making it all look more like MySpace makes it attractive to larger amounts of whatever the target audience is.

If you've tried creating an account recently it's very different from how it used to be - you are basically actively encouraged to follow a whole load of (mostly US) celebrities before getting started. We didn't get that in the old days.

I wondered if, now that everyone who could ever want to know, knows what Twitter is and does if all this electronic hair-pulling and fiddling about is necessary. Instead of progressing ever onward have they ever considered scaling it back to how it was previously, getting rid of those awful blue lines that stick a bunch of threaded tweets together (completely unnecessary when you can click on any tweet to unfurl its threaded conversation).

De-improving your Twitter
Moments - use AdBlocker and another extension to remove Moments from desktop Twitter, instructions for various browsers here

Pic previews
Today @LouWoodley asked "Seriously noticing all the images/videos in my Twitter feed today. Is there a way to minimise them so I can just see text? #oldschool" and I don't know if it's possible on desktop Twitter, but @jonhew suggested that on Tweetdeck it's Previews > Off to adjust column settings. For phone Twitter it's the little cog symbol for Settings > General, according to @kenparry.

This post is a little over 3,000 characters by the way.

Further reading
Twitter shares hit new low on rumored shift to 10,000-character tweets
Tech company considers expanding beyond 140-character limit as it looks to grow user base under recently appointed chief Jack Dorsey (5 January 2016) The Guardian

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