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Jack Dorsey draws out plan for Twitter upgrades based on user wishlist

03-January-2017
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Jack Dorsey draws out plan for Twitter upgrades based on user wishlist

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey wrapped up the year with a crowd-sourced to-do list for Twitter for 2017. Inspired by AirBnB CEO Brian Chesky, Jack used the social media platform to seek inputs from users for Twitter upgrades. Dorsey brainstormed with users and shared his thoughts on the concerns raised by them. The suggestions users made ranged from editing tweets, better methods to identify and tackle trolls, and option to follow themes and threads rather than individuals. A day after receiving the suggestions, Dorsey tweeted his final takes on the broad issues raised by users.

Based on the suggestions and his replies, here is what we can expect from Twitter in 2017.

Button to Edit Tweets

Tweeple have been asking for an edit button for a while now. From serving the simple function of correcting typos to the more complex purpose of correcting a misleading or wrong tweet that may have grave consequences, the edit button will solve many problems. Twitter though has not yet given its users this key feature that is already available on Facebook. Facebook allows users to edit a post while keeping a log of the edit history.

Tweeple have even been expecting Twitter to introduce this feature since 2015 when Dorsey himself seemed to agree with Kim Kardashian for the need for an edit button. 2017 may be the year this finally happens. Dorsey said that his team at Twitter is “thinking about it.” He also added that anything beyond fixing errors will have to show editing history since tweets are public record.

Solutions to combat online harassment

Nothing is more of a concern on Twitter than abusive trolls. Critics have called out Twitter too many times for not putting in place enough safeguards against internet trolls. In November 2016, Twitter rolled out a ‘mute’ button to block harassing words and phrasing. In Dorsey’s interaction with users he said that his team has been looking at tackling the problem. “It’s our top priority,” Dorsey said, adding that, handling abuse obviously needs a tonne of work ahead but the biggest task was for greater transparency around Twitter’s actions (or inaction) and faster shipping.

 Option to follow topics and create bookmarks

Another request from users was that of an option to follow topics on Twitter as opposed to following accounts. This would allow users to discover and explore new accounts and themes making it easier for new users joining Twitter, users said. Twitter already has lists which users do not find easy to access. In his round up tweets Dorsey said that the strongest request was for topic/interest-centric following as opposed to account-centric following. He said that going topic-centric will open up a lot of options.

 Users also asked for a ‘save for later’ or ‘bookmarks’ option. Currently Twitter has a red heart button which users can tap on to make a tweet a ‘favourite’ and thereby saving it for future reference. Users felt that the heart symbol conveys endorsement or agreement with the content of the tweet and users want to avoid giving the impression of endorsing a tweet with which they are not in ideological concurrence. A bookmark button will clear the ambiguity. Dorsey agreed that a ‘read later’ option is “worth considering”.

 Better conversation interface

The other major upgrade that users sought from Twitter was an improvement in the way conversations appear on the Twitter feed. Twitter started out as a space to share updates and very quickly grew into a space for interesting and engaging conversations. Many users prefer to follow these conversations without having to sift through other tweets that may not be of interest. It is also difficult to keep track of conversations for those taking part in the dialogue. Dorsey said that the magic of Twitter is in the conversations that take place on the platform that his team will work to make it easier to follow and take part in conversations. 

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