††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† TWITTER LIMITATIONS

 

While Twitter remains one of the best of the Social networking sites, it has its share of flaws and limitations. There is always room for improvement and this page offers my suggestions for improvements that I feel need to be made.

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† LACK OF A TO Z LISTINGS

 

For one thing, keeping track of your many friends and followers is quite tricky, especially when Twitter lists them from the most recent to the earliest, without allowing you to list them in groups or alphabetically by user name (or, when known, by real names). Facebookhas friends groups listings. Myspace has friends lists running from A to Z. Twitter currently offers neither.

 

                                EDITING TWEETS 

 

If you have written a Tweet you wish to delete, you can, no problem. However, if you write a Tweet and then spot a slight error in it that you wish to edit, you have to delete the Tweet entirely and repost it as a new tweet, in which case it will move the Tweet from where it was to the top of your page and treat it as a new page. An option to edit existing tweets should be introduced. 

 

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† HOW MANY IS TOO MANY?

 

The biggest problem on Twitter is the sudden imposition of a limitation to how many friends anindividual Twitterer can choose to follow. We are told that we are entitled to no more than 2,000 friends. This is believed to be a way of stopping people using the site for Spam, and superficially, that makes sense, as few people personally know 2000 people, and it would be difficult to keep up with the flow of tweets from thousands of people at once. The argument seems to be that if you need to communicate with 2,001 or more people you obviously are just trying to blanket sell a product. That is not in fact the case for many Twitterers with a large population of people to follow. ..

 

The limit is not an absolute. You may or may not be stopped as you try to gain your 2001st follower, as Twitter are using some kind of means test to make exceptions, based on the kind of usage you have, and especially on how many tweets you make and how many followers you yourself have, but Twitter won't reveal exactly what the measuring methodology and criteria are which makes it seem very Kafkaesque and needlessly complicated. Users will feel arbitrarily and randomly selected. 

 

The assumption by the Twitter elite is that everyone reads everything every friend who they follow tweets. Clearly, few can or do any such thing, unless they choose to limit their number of followers to a very few, and some do so, as should always berespected. In reality, most Twitterers, myself included, trawl randomly through the tweets posted by those being followed, and create links to the producing the most interesting, important or entertaining tweets to be able to keep up with them.It is also possible to look at the Everyone option and see all the current tweets being posted by any Twitterer who isnít blocked, regardless of whether they follow you or not.

 

As with other social networking sites, like Facebook and Myspace, there are many who simply accumulate as many friends as possible by randomly adding every Twitterer in sight regardless of whether they know them, share interests, or care who they are. There is an assumptionthat more is merrier, and for some, there is a bland sense of kudos in having more followers than anyone else they know. It can become a race to beat an admittedly pointless record, and Twitter can end up being been played like a pinball machine. The same happens on other sites, like Myspace.

 

I currently follow 1,649 people. (6th March 2009).Why so many for me?I personally know about 200 of them,and they are friends, people I drink with,fellow performance poets, writers I admire, etc. 

 

So who are all these others? I am developing a strong reputation as a writer myself, and many find me because they have read my work. Some like my writings on Facebook and Myspace and my own website and choose to follow me because they want to see more of my work here and it is a quick way to update the various communities on what I am up to on each other to post messages around the whole range of groups,though it can belike plate juggling Ė it does help to keep my readers intriguedenough to keep pace with me. My own website stats have improved a great deal since I started using Twitter.

 

Similarly, my writing on the current trends and performances in the Burlesque arena have gained me a reputation among those in the industry. I recently found a chap on Twitter who plans to launch an online Burlesque magazine and he was asking for volunteer writers knowing the scene and wiling to contribute.. When I tweeted him to volunteer, he replied that he had just been tipped off about me from an independent source.That would not have happened unless I had been casting my net widely around Twitterís seas instead of limiting myself to the shallows. I have searched for and found many interesting Burlesque performers and fans through Twitter.

 

Twitter unfortunately, see fit to push me back from the deeper currents now and ration my social networking potential.

 

Another major area of friend expansion for me ismy tendency to reciprocate. If a stranger starts following my tweets, I check their page out, and if I like them, I follow them right back. Everyone following me, has me as a follower in return. (unless I have inadvertently missed a few.625 of the people I currently follow are my followers.Now, it is a matter of time before I have more than 2,000 followers myself, at least if my own expansion is allowed to continue. Proportionately, people seem to attract about a third of their followers into following them. Once my ceiling of 2,000 followers is reached, the rate at which I find followers, (which no one has as yet limited) the number of people wiling to see my twitterings, will reduce in proportion to that, and that is plain unfair. Being treated as a spammer when you are not a spammer is hurtful and even slanderous. Besides, spammers have way round such regulations. They will just open multiple accounts under various aliases for one thing. 

 

Another angle is that of groups of Twitterers, such as the Star Wars community http://twitter.com/darthvader and the Experimental Dickensian characters community,†† http://twitter.com/AChristmasCarol†† or the Lost fans http://twitter.com/The_Island. Clearly following just a few of these will not give a follower the benefit of reading and interacting with the full community of characters and players involved in each group, and they are making Twitter into an art medium rather than a Spammerís launch pad.

 

My own writings cover a diverse range of genres, from humour, to non-fiction, history, science fiction, horror, etc, so I look at the moods of fans and other contributors in all those genres Ė I canít read everything everyone writes all the time, but I do dip in on as many as possible, regularly. Finding a fan of the TV show Lost, you will soon notice that other fans interact, and there are pages for individual characters from the show, though they are clearly fictional. Replying to their messages, and getting replies back. Now if you only follow one of the pair, you only catch half of the conversation, so there is a tendency to follow as many of the lost fans as possible, to keep up with the thread of conversation from all sides, and even join in yourself. I do this with several such groups, and that can soon accelerate the numbers followed closer to the 2,000 ceiling, beyond which wider exploration seems doomed to become impossible. Even people following me will not be able to have e follow them back, and in some cases, they may well leave for finding my inability to interact with them fully is incapacitated.

 

Twitter are right to nail stammers on the head. The best thing any of us have is the right to block any user, and I have blocked several, usually on first contact, as I do check the pages of any stranger who starts following me. If I dislike them, they are gone. Users should have an option to report such users as potential stammers to Tweet, and they can then decide if action (up to possible closure of an account) is necessary.

 

The ruling of 2,000 and thatís you lot being new, is unfair in another way. Many established users follow more than 2,000. Stephen Fry, http://twitter.com/stephenfry the most popular Twitterer in the World, at present follows a staggering 54,342 people. He has 266,516 followers of his own.Now to tell me that I canít follow more than 2,000 followers, is Mr. Fry to be told that 264,516 of his followers are to be deleted and for him to pick out the 2,000 he would like to keep in order to put his site in line with everyone elseís?

 

Now two things are obvious. 1/. Mr. Fry is mot spamming any one. 2/. Nor is he able to read each and every Tweet posted by 266,516 people, regardless of closely we (I am one of this multitude) follow and read his words.

 

I am unlikely to achieve the number of followers Mr Fry has accomplished.

 

Spammers can read a Twittererís pages without even signing in to Twitter themselves and many Twitterers, myself included, draw reference to our blogs, websites, etc, so the stammers can still target us.The way to deal with the stammers is by getting Twitterers to report them so that Twitter can delete them, and for Twitter to read the pages of its users for themselves. Itís a colossal undertaking, but it needs to be done.

 

There is speculation that Twitter will take on advertising, which will deter many from using the service. If they are going to allow ads, they should run something like Google Adsense, allowing its users a share of the revenue for visits and Tweet clicks.

 

Link - I'm not the only one opposed to this irrational Twitter policy.  See Robert Scobie's page http://friendfeed.com/e/0258d079-6727-4389-b5e2-e907d0b5ca44/I-m-seeing-that-Twitter-is-limiting-people-to-2/  

 

I hit the limit on March 17th 2009, as I tried to add my 2,000th friend.  How long I will be thus blacklisted for no offence whatsoever remains to be seen.

Arthur Chappell

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