Alas, Twitter is dying. Here is how I would save it.
I helped kill Twitter. Some of my tweets are automated. Rather than retweeting some of the things my friends write and share, I automated the tweets.
Automation is sharing without engagement. Sharing without engagement isn’t very interesting. The engagement is more important than the sharing by itself.
In the race for attention, we automated sharing. Some people automated their direct messages when followed. Now direct messages are nothing more than social spam.
Tweets are scheduled. People are automatically followed. Direct messages are automated. We aren’t on Twitter. Our robots are.
The first thing I would do to save Twitter would be to eliminate the ability to automate anything. None of your other social platforms are automated. To engage, you have to be there. That’s what makes it social.
Bring Back the Count
I have mostly stopped hitting the retweet share button on posts.
The idea that removing the ability to see how many times something has been retweeted is somehow going to drive revenue is a massive overestimation of power. For that approach to work, people would have to care deeply enough about those stats to pay for them. You can already see where your traffic comes from in a host of other ways.
By removing the retweet count on articles and posts, Twitter took the “social” out of social proof.
Twitter works when people share. Seeing that a lot of other people shared something is evidence that it’s worth looking at, and it’s good proof that something might be worth sharing. The more people engage with content and share it on the platform, the more people engage on the platform. Engagement is what Twitter needs (well, one of the things).
Twitter should immediately bring back the retweet count.
Chase Bigger Money
I have paid to advertise on Twitter. Some people clicked some links. Okay.
Users don’t make you any real money. Advertisers make you real money. Google Ads work very well. Facebook Ads work amazingly well. We’ll see how Instagram and SnapChat do soon enough.
If Twitter is going to thrive, someone is going to have to chase big money with an advertising platform that works. Facebook has the hot hand. But that doesn’t mean someone else can’t figure out how to do better themselves.
In addition to putting ads in the stream, I’d put ads in the Notification stream. Admit it, when you log onto Twitter, the first thing you do is check your notifications. I’d have an advertisement there waiting for you. Those ads would mostly be from big brands that were sold by a professional, consultative sales force with the chops to help advertisers succeed.
Honestly, that probably isn’t going to be enough. But I am 100% certain there are enough creative people around to figure out how to make money (a lot of unsexy businesses find a way to make a profit).
Maybe Twitter doesn’t have to die. I hope you Tweet this by hand.