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Monday, August 8, 2022

Ten immediate Twitter fixes for Elon Musk

This isn’t that hard:

1. Codify the reasons for why accounts get banned or suspended and share the information publicly. If everyone has access to how the rules work, then no one will have legitimate gripes about what happens when they run afoul of them.

2. Make the algos public so all the claims about shadow banning or suppression of “free speech” go away. Again, if we all see how the timeline works, there’s nothing to say.

3. Charge $20 a year for Tweetdeck. Every journalist, thought leader, media organization and celebrity power user will gladly pay it, even if they tweet complaints on the first day. People who are in love with their own opinions and public image will pay whatever you ask if the alternative is going back to living like a regular person.

4. Charge for-profit corporations and brands an annual license to operate on the platform. Create additional features for these users so that they can do more personalized outreach to their fans and even conduct customer service on-platform. They’ll pay. They’ll all pay.

5. Journalists use Twitter as a “stock market of takes.” It informs them of which opinions are rising and falling in popularity and what stories to focus more or less on as the days go by. They have Chartbeat internally to tell them how their own headline clicks are going, but this tells them how everyone’s shit is doing. It’s invaluable. Twitter should buy Chartbeat and really lean into selling these analytics to their most obsessed, engaged users. Twitter is like oxygen for reporters. They’re not going to be able to walk away from it, even if they despise its new owner.

6. Everyone tweeting under their real name or the real name of their organization is blue checked and verified. Everyone tweeting under a pseudonym may continue to do so once they’ve been able to prove that they are a person who exists – not a Russian disinformation campaign bot or a fake promotional account. Authentication. It’s not hard to do this. It will improve the user experience immeasurably.

7. Everyone should have the freedom to say what they want, but then they should also have the freedom to defend themselves in court if they libel or slander someone. Pseudonymity should not be a shield protecting people from the laws of our country and the consequences of their actions. Twitter should openly cooperate with law enforcement and our legal system to ensure that American citizens are treated fairly by users of the service.

8. Edit button. Who gives a f*** if someone changes the content of their tweet five minutes after they sent it. Why should an opinion be set in stone? Why must there be permanent, potentially life-altering consequences just because someone says something that comes out wrong? This is part and parcel of the cancel culture bullshit that is tearing our country apart. No more gotcha games. Let people change their minds and change their tweets. We’re not talking about messing with the fabric of the universe of the space-time continuum. It’s just tweets, calm down.

9. Subscriptions to topics or groups is a no-brainer. Discord is stealing Twitter’s raison d’etre as we speak. If there were Slack channel-esque discussions about specific subjects peopled by experts that regular folks could subscribe to, it would generate a lot of interest and money. Finding your tribe right now is very messy and you are constantly being exposed to people who are only in the mix to start fights and externalize their own insecurities and rage. This should not be a prerequisite for being on Twitter. You should have the ability to interact with specific groups away from all the gross, angry, misanthropic monsters who spend their lives waiting to crawl out of the sewer to verbally assault those who are actually doing something with their lives. And if it costs you a few bucks to have this community experience, a rational, normal person would be glad to pay.

10. Bring back the chronological timeline as the default setting. Enough with the mind-f***ing. It didn’t work. Didn’t grow the user base. Didn’t sell more ads. Let’s go back to a simpler time, when people were happier and the stream was fun.

Anyway, these are just a few things that occur to me off the top of my head. What do you think?

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