back to article FFS, Twitter. It's not that hard

With the news that Twitter is looking for yet another head of product – the fifth in under three years – it's clear the social media company is still at a loss over what to do next with its service. So here is a simple guide to turn things around and go from the company that everyone shakes their heads at to a bastion of the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's SO simple

    Millennials are basically retarded narcissists right?

    Make a platform that gives the illusion of interaction, but is really just 100% bots. The bots pour praise on every post saying everything is wonderful, and that the user is a special snowflake, even if what they post is complete drivel. The bots can occasionally emit a pop-culture reference.

    Then have the bots post the occasional sponsored product recommendation, and also increase the tweet size to about 500 characters.

    Done and done.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Your plan is evil and insulting to the millennials!

      I love it!

    2. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: It's SO simple

      Brilliant! Up voted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's SO simple

        Wait a minute, how do we know you're not just one of the praise bots?

        You look down and you see a tortoise crawling towards you. You reach down and you flip the tortoise over on its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs, trying to turn itself over but it can't. Not without for your help. But you're not helping.


        1. Michael Thibault

          Re: It's SO simple

          What's a tortoise?

          1. Def Silver badge

            Re: It's SO simple

            What's a tortoise?

            A turtle with toes.

            1. Def Silver badge

              Re: It's SO simple

              I did so not choose that icon. wtf iOS? And wtf with the 10 minute limit?

              1. illiad

                Re: It's SO simple

                hey be happy you GET TO EDIT!!!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's SO simple

      I like Jack Dee's twitter app. Every time someone sends you a message, it replies "So what?"

      You find that after a week or two, your life is refreshingly free of interruptions.

      1. tfewster Silver badge

        Re: It's SO simple

        Sorry Kieren , you lost me at Point 2: "...I like that comedian – wow, I can now follow his daily thoughts and life experiences..."

        Why? Celebrities (as opposed to celebutards) have done $A very well and become famous for $A. It doesn't make their opinions on !$A more valid - If anything, they'll likely have focused on $A to the exclusion of !$A, so their opinions on !$A will probably be distorted. Just another application of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        Oh, you mean _stalking_ $CELEBRITY? Pretending to live someone else's life and thoughts to get away from my pwn humdrum life? I can see the attraction, but let's call it what it is - escapism.

    4. illiad

      Re: It's SO simple

      yes, and how about changing the strange formatting to more like a webpage, with PROPER linking of photos/ videos..

      some newspapers have been using a 'twitter embed' that many browsers cannot handle! (except for the idiots who let ALL the pownd crap in...

  2. Julian Bond

    make it go away

    Please just make it go away.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: make it go away

      Yes, really I like so called "Social Media" companies failing. If only Facebook would follow in footsteps of Myspace, FriendsReunited etc and Twitter would finally go bankrupt.

      Parasites that are helping to destroy civilisation and raping your privacy. People can use email to talk to their friends and we already get too much of so called Celebs on TV, Radio and Websites.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        Re: make it go away

        But if it went away, journalists (I'm looking at you Grauniad) would have to do some actual journalism...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: make it go away

          They haven't done journalism in 100 years. The Watergate story was handed to Woodward and Bernstein.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or just ignore it

      And stop giving it credit for "changing world events in the Middle East". Oh please. Should we also give the AOL chat rooms of the 90's credit for opening up China to trade?

  3. Cosmo

    Be brave - charge for the app

    Make it like WhatsApp used to be and charge £0.99 a year. That's £300million a year and less need to worry about advertisers. If trolls get booted off, then they're less likely to keep signing up and paying for it.

    But please, please, please keep the designers away. I'm sick of Google Maps and Instagram changing the UI every few weeks and shifting things around that were fine

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be brave - charge for the app

      I think twitter users generate more like $4 per quarter ad revenue. That's average, so if less are willing to pay then you'd need to pay more.

      Are you willing to pay that much for twitter?

      (Facebook is much higher)

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

        Re: $4 per quarter ad revenue

        Really? Companies think they can get $4/quarter of additional profit per narcissist user by punting ads on Twitter?

        Am I lacking in marketing and business nous, or is that a seriously deluded return rate?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be brave - charge for the app

      WhatsApp is free

      1. Da Weezil

        Re: Be brave - charge for the app

        Before picking fault with the comments with other posters, at least do them the courtesy of reading and understanding their comments first!

        Whatsapp used to be free initially, then charged a nominal fee per year if you continued to use it beyond the initial period, Personally I wish they had resisted the lure of the ars*burk* borg and not taken the tainted money. It became "free" when it changed hands, I guess you haven't used it / been using it long enough to know, but all the information was there in the post!

        I use it less now, I just don't implicitly trust anything associated with facebook, no matter how "independent" it is claimed to be.

        Given the user spread of Tw*nker even a similarly small annual fee would bring in a decent amount of scratch.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1. Cheer up / Act like a start-up again

    Nope, there are shareholders to answer to now, so there's no going back. Squeeze the users balls for maximum monies.

    2. Turn twitter into the real-world

    Nobody has ever achieved this, and it may not be possible. But it's also a myth because people act like total dicks in the real world too.

    3. Make the ads more relevant

    All ads suck, and all advertisers are creepy as fuck. No exceptions.

    4. Re-open the API

    You may get some suckers, after all people write Apple apps all the time. But that trust has been violated once. Why will people trust that twitter won't shut the API for a second time. I'm more likely to trust Chairman Mao's "Let a hundred flowers bloom".

    5. Purge corporate culture / Be more open.

    The trend is always towards less openness. Abandoning the web towards native apps. Google disposing of experimental stuff to focus on corporate cash cows. Micropayment scams. Open-ness and niceness were excess from an investment bubble. Now shareholders wanna get paid.

    1. Dadmin

      elreg, amazing article, hits the nail on the head, so to speak.

      Then I read this post and the shiny wore off, and the real world poked it's head in. Somewhere in between these two lines of thought is the resurrection of Twitter. But it's going to take a big leap of faith, and the old white people on their board of directors will never understand any of this. It is known. It would be nice for them to get it right again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I apologise for the pessimism, but it sometimes feels like a whole generation are wasting their talent trying to shovel ads in more and more skeevy ways.

        I've never used Instagram, but I was amazed at people's reactions to the complete overhaul to make the ads more shovel-able.

        The changes were entirely predictable, but it shattered people's illusions that their account in any way "belonged" to them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Here is something free but just remember....TANSTAFL

          Unfortunately the great god ADVERTISING is the current paymaster for the free lunches now being enjoyed.

          The B Ark isn't going to be big enough to cleanse the human race of the advertising vermin.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: The B Ark isn't going to be big enough ...

            The B Ark doesn't have to get off the ground. It can be as big as you like and Oooo! What's this? A vast entrance hall with a blue ceiling! Awesome, darlings!

          2. Dave Bell

            I think one of the general problems of advertising on the internet is that the people who the advertisers pay are not the people to pay to transmit the adverts. So we get ad-stuffed web pages that are bigger than a copy of Doom.

            Point is, adverts in newspapers used the resources of the newspaper, and the newspaper charged the advertisers for the paper and ink they used, and some of the surplus over those costs went to reducing the price the customer paid.

            Now you're paying for your internet connection, and some places still have actual bandwidth limits or volume-related billing, and we struggle to see any benefit from the adverts. We're not even getting a colour supplement.

          3. The Boojum

            Upvote for managing to include both Heinlein and Adams in the same post.

        2. MonkeyCee


          "I apologise for the pessimism, but it sometimes feels like a whole generation are wasting their talent trying to shovel ads in more and more skeevy ways."

          Well, sling ads or work in finance, it's what gets you the most rewards for the least risk.

          Solving actual engineering problems, or developing new products is hard, and either low paid (relatively) or high risk.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I don't see how you could open the API and make sure ads are shown on the screen, everybody hates advertising. The first thing that will be done is a client which doesn't show it.

  5. Old Handle

    I'm skeptical that #2 is really possible, #4 is a horrible idea. The scrolling text is what people go to Twitter [i]for[/i]. That's the content, see? Twitter was very smart and made an interface that gets out of the way (for the most part) so you can see the content, although that's less true than it used to be. Turning "designers" loose on it is the last thing they need. It would end up a very pretty but completely unusable mess. It always does.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Twitter cannot be saved by any suggestions in this article.

    Twitter attracts a certain kind of person. Often those people are in the public eye already, but those who are not joined Twitter so they could be.

    There is no use to Twitter if you just want up to keep to date with news / gossip and communicate with friends. The people who cannot see a use in Twitter are never going to sold on it and those that infest it now seem to be a very emotional bunch of angry shouty people.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wrong. Indeed.

      I am told that Twitter has people on it like Simon Danczuk. Just knowing that makes me avoid it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: wrong.

      Twitter lets you follow the people – in my case, writers and journalists, – that you respect the most.

      It is brilliant at that.

      95% of the more conventional, normal people you follow, they post nonsense, just like on Facebook. (Like I do. I'm rubbish.) Unfollow quickly.

  7. Mage Silver badge

    contributed to a series of actual political revolutions in the Middle East.

    Western "Social Medja" fiction.

    FB, Twitter, email etc along with Mobile simply being used to communicate, instead of fax and landline voice.

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    It is where we all go

    1/ It isn't.

    2/ If attention-deficit teenagers turn into attention-deficit adults and instant messaging eventually becomes as ubiquitous as you suggest, it won't be able to continue as a monopoly platform.

    Twitter had a narrow window between popularity and commodity in which to make money and it rather looks like it missed it,

  9. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "get a great design team"

    First define "great design team". Taking a UI for any application and letting "great designers" loose on it never seems to turn out well.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      In most cases, but especially UI design, "great design" is the one that you don't notice, or at least doesn't hinder what you want to do. A "great design" UI update is something you don't consciously notice but you feel happier using. Genuinely good designers get this.

      A big part of the problem IMHO are the icon designers, whether phone apps of desktop app toolbars. We the users REALLY, REALLY don't want to have a learn a whole new set of fancy coloured squiggles every time some PFY "desigher" has another brainstorm. I suspect part of it is cost cutting on localisation/translation costs.

  10. John Deeb

    features not bugs to solve

    Kieren McCarthy is wrong on a fundamental level. All the problems listed are fundamental to the design of product and company, not a bug, mismanagement or feature to invent your way out. Some of the suggestions in the article are just called "BBS" the last decades and that will, by its very nature, never be able to move fast, which is the very chaotic nature of Twitter.

    Twitter is Twitter because of lack of much, if any, proportional control and a general lack of reason or sense. The nonsense and abuse is part of its very secret formula. Remove the one, you're removing everything.

    Twitter will last as long as people don't get tired of it. And probably they will. Then we put it into some Open Social network where protocol and client diversification rules and we're done. Give it five years so sell your stock before then.

  11. davenewman

    Met the first Twitter lead developer in Belfast

    He had had enough of the company in 2010. He moved to Northern Ireland.

  12. David Dawson

    you had me until "egomaniacal bunch of white nerds"

    back down racist.

    1. SoloSK71

      "egomaniacal bunch of white nerds" should have included straight, male and adolescent with a boob fixation

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        No it shouldn't. It has nothing to do with puberty or sexuality.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good article but there's another obvious thing: charge $10 to anyone who wants to use a Twitter ID that hasn't been used in six months. Also, open up a Twitter ID marketplace and let people buy/sell names with Twitter taking 20% of the fee.

    That and sort out the interface and make it more Tweetdeck (or preferably Hootsuite) because the UI is awful at the moment.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "A clear and simple guide to get from implosion to success"

    Build a plutonium bomb?

  15. Kanhef

    Conversation-based ads

    Ads based on a celebrity event, or sports game, or TV show are reasonable. Nobody really likes ads, but they can understand why they're there and no one will raise a fuss about it.

    Then someone like David Bowie dies, and everyone talking about it sees ads for Bowie-themed merchandise, and it looks like a crass attempt to cash in on someone's death.

    Then you get an incident like what's currently going down in Orlando, Florida, and everyone sees ads for guns. People get upset, looks like Twitter is happy to profit from a tragedy, lots of drama and PR damage control.

    So maybe this isn't the best idea.

    1. Jeffrey Nonken

      Re: Conversation-based ads

      In other words, "There may be problems, so it can't be done." Why is there always somebody who sees potential problems with an idea and assumes they are unsolvable?

  16. DrXym Silver badge

    The funny thing about Twitter

    I like Twitter but it has started to become quite obnoxious with the amount of ads it puts in my feed. Not just in the list but in conversations.

    I realise they've got to make money *some way* but I question if how they do it now is the appropriate one. I make sport of it by marking them as not relevant or offensive. Occasionally I'll slag off the thing in the ad too, particularly if its for some "freemium" mobile game, or bad movie. I'm helping in my own small way at driving advertisers away. #selfdestructive?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ban politics

    Somehow ban all politics from twitter. It leads to the stupid inane discussions that motivate people to get behind causes they know nothing about.

    "That 140 character description of a government policy makes it sound really bad, I'm going to moan at my friends!!1!"

    Those of us with an attention span long enough to read newspaper articles are bored of twitter.

    Yours faithfully.

    Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Ban politics

      Bored with! It's bored with Twitter!

      Not "bored of".

      And yes, as far as I can tell, that is what is happening.

  18. streaky

    It really is easy...

    Stop burning though so much cash and it should be easy to turn it around.

    Also I'd actually pay for the ability to edit tweets. Pliskthxbai?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh, they like the same stuff as me,

    they're like me, we're great, I'M GREAT. Isn't world great? Well, wtf cares, I'M GREAT! Let me twit about it.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Twitter is done

    Whenever I search for something it is just bots tweeting the same link to the same story on some news webpage. I want to hear peoples views not see an endless list of links to the same story. It's getting harder and harder to filter through the crap. You follow more than 100 people then you can't keep up with the time line as there is too much noise. Follow too few and it is pointless going on there. Best thing they can do is switch off retweets

    They'll end up being sold to Google or Microsoft.

  21. Stevie


    The "block" is, I imagine, the defense against the shouty boor.

    The model being "you have the right to speak. Everyone else reserves the right to not listen."

    Of course, the law gets in the way of this philosophy occasionally, but it isn't a bad way of dealing with a problem until the blocked idiot tools up in the real world.

    What you do about that I don't know.

  22. WailingBanshee

    Getting rid of the trolls?

    Nothing wrong with trolling,

    however people who don't know what flaming is are bunch of ***;'"£$ ***er^&%$

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022