4 min

Twitter's Complexity

It takes thousands of words to explain how to use a service that permits only 140 characters.

This is a space that is ripe for disruption. Someone or something could create a much simpler "discussion" engine that would probably gain significant traction.

The hard core Twitter users, such as media people, would not leave Twitter for a new service.

But some Twitter users might migrate, and the new simpler discussion service may attract people who never used Twitter, or who only dabbled with Twitter.

It was good to see that a couple people in the related Hacker News thread mentioned Twitter's horrible web UI/UX.

In the past, I have jokingly assumed that Twitter intentionally made its web experience frustrating in order to encourage users to install a native app.

Twitter's mobile and desktop/laptop web experiences break multiple, long-standing, and basic web principles.

I don't use any Twitter native apps. I don't log into Twitter. But occasionally, I like to access the Twitter feeds of users or see search results for a topic. And I'm always impressed by Twitter's bad web experience. It must make sense for hard core users. But the bad UI/UX may prevent me from accessing Twitter more often.

Excerpts from the HN thread about the so-called manual and Twitter's web design:

"Nobody who needs to read this is going to have the patience to read it. People don't really want to know how the thing works. They really want to know how it's typically used, so they can make tweets that blend in and make it seems like they know what they're doing."

"I don't think the self-reply trick is well known, but it's useful in the very common case of splitting a message across multiple tweets."


Hah! Self-reply. I've been doing that for about the past three years that my Junco code has existed, powering JotHut. My use of self-reply was an unexpected usage pattern. Junco/JotHut was intended to be a community site. The reply feature was for others. But when I switched JotHut to single-user mode, I wound up using the self-reply to organize notes or thoughts in one thread.

I have revisited old microblog or note threads to add new links or thoughts. But what's nice is having all of the related posts displayed from oldest to newest on one page, if I want. Without the self-reply, each follow-up note would be its own separate top-level post, and the related posts would be disconnected. It would be nearly impossible to find them all in the future and connect them.

I have used the self-reply here as a note-taking service on my phone when out and about. Of course, I could have create a full article and kept adding to it, especially by using the JavaScript editor that makes auto-saves. But I liked writing short sentences and snippets and hitting the post button. That way I knew the content was saved, and I didn't have to worry about accidentally deleting something within the JavaScript editor when using the phone.

With the microblog posts or notes, I could then organize those short posts into a longer article post at a later time.

Recent thread of self-replies:
http://jothut.com/cgi-bin/junco.pl/replies/66211

The microblog or note method of posting at JotHut has been my favorite way to use the site. The small textarea box remains at the top of the site's stream page (not home page), and I can easily drop in links with hashtags and comments, and I all have to do is click the Post button. Then if I have additional thoughts, I click reply for the initial microblog post.

Microblogging at JotHut is like a mini message board. It's also how I based my Kinglet code that powers Soupmode.com, which is a private, web-based, messaging app. I have used Soupmode as a private note-taking service by sending a message to myself and then hitting reply to add to the thread.


Back to HN excerpts:

"The point isn't to have an actual manual but to show how complex things have grown."

The "complaint" that sounded like something I would have posted:

"Twitter has the most abysmal UI/UX I've ever seen, especially when you consider its clout and popularity (although that is fast waning). Any meaningful change will be so jarring that the dyed in the wool users will balk at it, kicking up a storm of protests and it will not serve to bring in new users (they come in not for good UI but for the network effect - but they don't use it and leave because of the UI). I honestly can't believe how insanely horrible twitter UI is - and it seems to be something that all twitter users have agreed to never mention. It just leaves one breathless after it opens the FOURTH modal window on top of the previous three that it had already opened. On the bright side of things, for anyone teaching UI, twitter is a fantastic example of what NOT to do."

created on Sat, Feb 27, 2016

#socialmedia #forums #design #humor #moronism #blog_jr

By JR - 852 words
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