Twitter just announced the release of a tool designed to help the small, but elite crowd of verified Tweeters. It’s a filter system that strips all of those annoying fan mentions, leaving behind only the responses from other – more important – verified users.
There’s so much wrong with this, I can hardly find the words. First, let’s look at how celebrities use social media. Earlier today, Frank wrote about how Facebook is tops with famous folks like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. But a Facebook Page is like a bulletin board. They can post (or have their assistant post) a message for the fans then walk away will the comment stream grows and grows. The comments don’t disrupt the flow of anything and it doesn’t infringe on their personal space. The Page is for the fans. Their personal profile (if they even have one) is private and is only open to their chosen friends and family.
On Twitter, it’s different. Celebs have one account and it’s either private or public. (They could have a special fan account, etc, but I’m talking your average mid-list actor here.) If it’s private, he’s not sharing anything with the fans. If it’s public, then the doors are open for anyone to @Mention him in every Tweet they write. This causes a major disruption of the stream.
Now, if they get a valued Tweet from a friend or even a fan with something important to say – it gets drowned out in the noise.
That’s why Twitter made this tool and I understand the concept, but it doesn’t actually solve the problem. Pretend I’m famous. I’m starring on my own TV show and I’m verified. I Tweet publicly and my fans Tweet back. My best friend and my sister also send me messages on Twitter. They’re not verified – that’s only for celebs – so this tool isn’t going to help me find their Tweets.
All Twitter really needs is a set of circles like you have on Google+. Put all of your friends and families in the circle, then filter for only their Tweets. Wait…isn’t that what Twitter lists are for? Do lists still exist?
My big issue with this new tool is that it’s elitist. I understand that Twitter wants to make the environment user friendly for high-profile customers, but a public announcement sends the wrong message.
“One item of feedback we’ve gotten from verified users: an easier way to manage the large number of conversations they’re in.”
“We’ll continue to evolve and improve this feature –– for example, by bringing it to mobile –– in order to help verified users better monitor and engage with others on Twitter.”
So, us average users don’t matter. There’s no other way to read that. Twitter does say that this is all part of a greater experiment to provide filtering for all. . yada. . yada. . . too late.
I love ya, Twitter, but today, you’re making me mad.