Is Twitter A Spam Network?

It’s easy to see Twitter for the usefulness it has in marketing, the glimpses it can grant us into the lives of celebrities and even its convenience in helping us find solutions. Unfortunately though, with Twitter’s increasing popularity, it has also been the place more and more people turn to in order to promote their business or products. And, even more unfortunately, what that has created is a service that’s cluttered with overwhelming streams of retweeted news articles, promotions and other annoyances. Sure, you can unfollow particular people that are uninteresting or simply spamming advertisements, but even that doesn’t entirely cut down on all of the unnecessary clutter.

Still, there are several key ways Twitter can change its current platform for the better. 

1. Award Users That Offer Useful Information

Quora, a question and answer platform, is an intelligent system in that it grants people a reason to provide smart, intelligent questions or answers. Questions that are simple, concise and to the point are typically upvoted. Others that are dumb, targeted towards specific people or simply useless, are typically downvoted. This gives people a reason to ask good questions and give intelligent, well thought out answers because when they do,more often than not, they are recognized for putting in the time to help someone. Unfortunately, Twitter currently provides no way to weed out the good from the bad. Simply put, every user is essentially the same.

But what if Twitter allowed users to ‘grade’ the Tweets of others, and allowed users to prioritize and filter them as such? Twitter is a social media platform that allows people to post in the now, granting everyone equal opportunity to do so, so ‘grading’ posts may not necessarily be conducive towards that initial vision, I understand that. But it that doesn’t mean that it can’t be adjusted to better provide content that is relevant to users beyond simple filters. Having the ability to display posts based on how well they are ranked would encourage users to provide insightful responses or interesting content, thus penalizing those that simply post in order to get more followers.

2. Give Users An Incentive To Connect To Others Instead of Simply Broadcasting

Twitter, for all intents and purposes, is simply a broadcast engine. It’s a way to inform others about something interesting you’ve read or something interesting you’re doing. Unfortunately, because a heavy emphasis is placed on broadcasting to others, there’s little reason to connect to individuals in any meaningful way. “But that’s not the purpose of Twitter!” you cry. Still, there needs to be a reason, an incentive even, for users to engage their followers beyond providing tweets to interested users. Users that respond to, follow, click through links and interact with users on other levels should be displayed more prominently in news feeds, or be featured in other’s news feeds due to their exceptional interactivity aside from hashtags and @ signs. After all, social networks aren’t typically created to benefit a single user. They are created in order to benefit everyone within that particular network.

3. Separate Personal Accounts from Business Accounts

I recently spoke about how part of the reason why Twitter has become so successful is because it’s simple, and easy to use. It would then seem that this next point is counterproductive. A step back, so to speak. Currently, business accounts and personal accounts on Twitter are essentially the same thing. In a person’s Twitter stream, there is no way to differentiate between the two aside from the profile description. Like Facebook has with fan pages, I think it’s important that Twitter eventually creates a way for businesses to stand out from personal accounts. Additionally, Twitter can be set up as a way to simply communicate with customers or clients on the fly. Businesses are currently doing that in some form, but unfortunately those solutions, unless manually filtered out, are typically filed in among the usual banter that’s found on Twitter. So why not automatically separate the two?

4. Turn Linked Article Tweets Into An Interactive Magazine

Part of the reason why I still read these days is due to the likes of Twitter, Flipboard and Zite. Yet, despite my frequent use of the Twitter app it still stands (or sits) as the lesser of the three as far as discovering news content. Sure, reading is relatively intuitive, allowing me to easily open up an article from a news source within the app, but compared to Zite and Flipboard, it’s a very outdated, cumbersome way to read news. Which is why, from its database of probably thousands of reliable news sources, blogs and various other article feeds, Twitter needs to create a way for readers to access that information in a more visually appealing way, ala a magazine. Flipboard already allows users to create interactive magazines out of their Twitter feeds, so why can’t Twitter, too?

Twitter, obviously, is an entirely different form of social media than Google+ and Facebook. Therefore, its purpose and individual goals are also different. Still, creating a network that’s essentially become a huge promoting platform for companies is not, I can imagine, what the original founders had in mind when they came up with the idea. That’s why Twitter needs to come up with ways to cut down on that.

Sure, it’s important that marketers and businesses remain on that platform because that’s ultimately what allows Twitter to make money. But it also doesn’t have to be a cluttered mess of personal tweets, promotions and links. It has the potential to be so much more than that without stepping too far away from the simplicity that has made it such an alluring platform for social media.