I can show you why they aren’t in two tweets. More on that in a minute.
I joined Twitter in March of 2007. I actually started hearing about Twitter from online friends in the Summer of 2006, soon after the site launched. At the time, I was working hard to grow my first blog, and wanted to focus my attention there. But more and more friends told me to get on Twitter.
Then SXSW happened in 2007. Twitter made a very smart decision to have a presence at SXSW, because the startup knew that many of its more influential users or potential users would be there. TV screens were set up all in the hallways in the convention center showcasing tweets as they happened. Anyone who has been at SXSW can tell you, the hallways are where the magic happens.
After SXSW in 2007, EVERYONE I knew online was gushing about Twitter. I finally relented on March 31st 2007, and joined Twitter.
If you joined Twitter after say 2010, you honestly do not know what you missed. Twitter from 2007-2009 was amazing. It was the most incredible social site I’ve ever been on. Nonstop organic conversations with the most amazing people, from all around the world! At its peak around 2011 or so, I was spending up to 10 hours a day on Twitter, every day. DMs essentially replaced my email inbox. I met new friends, made new contacts, did business deals. All on Twitter.
I loved Twitter in the early days. The days before the celebs and the media and the trolls found it. Everyone did.
But the reality is, Twitter never loved us back. I specifically remember a conversation a group of a dozen or so of us had on Twitter, sometime in 2009. As most conversations were at the time, it was organic, and lasted for at least an hour. It involved several ‘power users’ of Twitter, who all had 10,000 to 50,000 or so followers. And this was in 2009, when you didn’t see Twitter users with over 100,000 followers every day, if at all. So we are talking pretty big and influential users.
The focus of our conversation (on Twitter) was how it was time for Twitter to officially hire a Community Manager. We wanted Twitter to make an effort to LISTEN to its users, and incorporate our feedback to improve the experience for all. At the time, Twitter was growing like mad. It wasn’t mainstream yet, but it was on the cusp. You had so many smart, passionate users that were so hungry to see Twitter explode. We had so many amazing ideas for how Twitter could become huge.
And what infuriated us, was that Twitter completely ignored us. I think our pleas reached Twitter, because shortly after, Twitter put out a statement clarifying that Twitter wasn’t a conversational platform, it was intended to be a ‘discovery’ or ‘broadcast’ platform.
Twitter said they never intended for the platform to be a place where people went and talked all day.
We were crushed. How could such a popular company totally misunderstand how its core users use and love their site?
But Twitter always has. Twitter has so many creators who have gone out of their way for over a decade to evangelize the site for years. Twitter has done little or nothing to highlight these creators. For instance, at its height, #Blogchat was regularly the Top Trending Topic on all of Twitter during the chat each Sunday night.
Twitter never reached out to me or any popular chat host (that I know of) to even say thanks for bringing people to our platform.
They just never seemed to care. That has always frustrated me.
Now about those two tweets…
Ever since Twitter launched in 2006, users have begged Twitter to add a way to edit tweets. This is by far the most requested feature that Twitter users have ever asked for. And Twitter, as Twitter seems to always do, has always ignored completely that its users have wanted this feature. I can’t even remember a time when anyone in Twitter leadership has ever even addressed the feature request or why it hasn’t been implemented. It comes across as if Twitter simply doesn’t care that its users want this feature.
So imagine my surprise (and frustration) when I recently saw this tweet:
With Undo Tweet, you have up to 60 seconds to preview and make changes to your Tweet before it’s public pic.twitter.com/vv3erIPrkH
— Twitter Blue (@TwitterBlue) November 9, 2021
Twitter is finally giving users a way to edit tweets (sort of), but it MAKES YOU PAY FOR THE FEATURE. It’s only available if you purchase Twitter Blue’s monthly subscription.
To Twitter users who have begged for the ability to edit tweets for years, this comes across as such a slap in the face. Totally tone deaf, yet somehow completely consistent with Twitter not understanding its core, passionate users.
Now let’s look at the second tweet:
— Clubhouse (@Clubhouse) November 15, 2021
While Twitter seems to go out of its way to ignore its top creators, and always has, Clubhouse goes out of its way to promote and highlight its top creators. And for extra irony, they are doing a lot of it on Twitter, as you can see above.
This matters. One of the most pressing problems that startups face is growing a community of passionate users who will help the startup’s service or products grow. Many startups bootstrap their core operations at first. Marketing is one of those areas where the startup typically tries to give it a go themselves due to a lack of funds initially. So community management is vital to the early days of the startup in order to retain and grow the customer base.
Clubhouse understands this. Clubhouse knows if its creators/room organizers are successful, that the platform will be successful. So Clubhouse is investing in supporting its creators via its accelerator program, and also by promoting them on the platform and by having constant ‘townhalls’ on Clubhouse to discuss what’s happening with the platform, and to review user feedback.
All of this communicates to Clubhouse users and creators that the platform hears them, and appreciates them. Clubhouse has done more to listen to and engage its users in the last year, than Twitter has in the last 15.
And that’s a shame. As well as a huge missed opportunity. If Twitter had started in 2006 with the same commitment to engaging its users and listening to their feedback, then Twitter would easily be the biggest social platform in the world right now. I have zero doubt in my mind.
But even though I hate how the platform keeps its passionate users at arms length, I do love the people I’ve met on Twitter, and the conversations that happen there. Speaking of which, I’ve been asked by Social Champ to join their weekly Twitter chat as a co-host. Our session is tomorrow at 10 am Central, hope to see you there!
Topic of discussion: How To Create Trustworthy Content
— Social Champ (@SocialChampSays) November 11, 2021