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How Twitter Can Revive Itself, Even Without Naming Snoop Dogg CEO

Twitter is one of the most popular social media sites, but it's going through major changes.
Jonathan Alcorn
Getty Images
Twitter is one of the most popular social media sites, but it's going through major changes.

Don't go changing to try and please me; you never let me down before. That's what Billy Joel said.

He wasn't talking about Twitter.

The 9-year-old company is seeing major changes recently, with its CEO Dick Costolo stepping down and its co-founder Jack Dorsey taking over for now.

But some analysts are arguing the company hasn't seen enough changes. If Twitter wants to survive its stalled growth, users that try it and leave it, and slumping stock, the company needs a major revamp — and a new CEO isn't enough (even if that new CEO was, say, Snoop Dogg).

A lot of people are weighing in on Twitter's difficulties, suggesting several different avenues for the company to explore.

Investor Chris Sacca is urging Twitter to become more user friendly. If someone isn't sitting at a computer all day, and can only check Twitter every once in a while, the timeline can seem too overwhelming, he says. It can be hard to find the best tweets — or even the most relevant ones — because tweets happening now become more important than anything else, he adds. Sacca suggests implementing channels to filter information.

"To be successful, Twitter channels would require:
A. A separate tab (or app).
B. Consistent, focused content.
C. Human editorial enhancement."

Along a similar line of thinking, analyst Ben Thompson called for Twitter to open itself back up to third-party developers who could create different ways to make Twitter work for different kinds of users. Thompson says having third-party apps could help, but adds that Twitter has damaged its relationships with developers.

That relationship could be mended by a new CEO.

A more drastic move, suggested by Vox's Matthew Yglesias, is to stop paying attention to infrequent Twitter users all together and focus on the power users.

"But even as Facebook speaks to universal needs, all of us have some less-universal ones too. I'd hate to go even a day without Twitter's amazing constant stream of news, wit, and vituperation. It's not for everyone, but it does seem to be [for] tens of millions of us."

Inspired by all of the unsolicited advice, here are more ideas: 5 ways that Twitter could improve itself (in 140 characters or less, of course).

  • There should be a curator for major live events to create an organized place for users to follow along. This could be your thing, Twitter!
  • Recent tweets aren't the best tweets; tweets of people we follow aren't the best tweets. Show users the best, most popular/important tweets
  • Use what a user cares about to draw attention to things that are relevant and happening now; filter trends by interest, not just location
  • Create space for conversations. Help a user participate in trends they care about by organizing interactions. Make Twitter a community
  • Users should be able to collapse tweets by hashtag or trending topic, so no one is reading 500 tweets about the same thing
  • We want to know what you think. What could Twitter do to revolutionize itself? Add comments below or tweet us @npralltech.

    @PaigePfleger is an intern with NPR Digital News.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Paige Pfleger
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