This post is in response to Marshall Kirkpatrick’s post on ‘How Twitter staff uses Twitter (and why it could cause problems.’
First of all, the people at twitter are incredibly smart and because they are really ridiculously smart, I am sure they have an overall sense of what they want to do with twitter. They have done an amazing job so far.
Now the concern isn’t twitter employees not using twitter because they do have twitter accounts and are following people but more that they aren’t following large amounts of people and therefore, do not completely grasp the essence of twitter (other than CEO @ev, who is following 1k+ twitterers.) I disagree. I follow 1k+ followers and tweets that I would normally read and followup on are lost in the masses of tweets I receive and because I do not have an iphone or an awesome phone that lets me reliably check my tweets, I am most probably losing valuable information. It is the same as if you are backtracked on reading messages in your inbox except in the twitterverse, not only are you trying to keep up with your old mail but a hundred more emails are being sent to your inbox per hour.
I have been trying to follow rails/ruby developers foremost, followed by other devs like lispers and js devs and then website designers and a couple of miscellaneous people. I personally use twitter to keep up with the tech world and I get plenty of tweet gems like the tweet that mentioned Ruby’s toolbox page or on a massive scale, whenever people are tweeting about sessions at a tech conf.
As a twitter employee, by Marshall’s terms, in order to keep up with your community, you need to follow heaps of people such as celebrities, people talking about knitting , teenagers, the million start up companies on twitter, etc. You would not be able to solely follow tech developers or whatever it is that you wanted because that would mean you are discriminating and you wouldn’t want anyone to feel alienated. I do not think it is humanly possible to make sure you are always following the top devs on twitter or top twitter stars unless your secretary is checking your tweets while you are sleeping. Now you have to wonder if @ev started following 1k people because he wanted to or because it was expected of him.
I, for one, would not want to be following thousands of people just for show and if I did, there is a likelihood that I would be following people whose interests I do not share. Twitter then would be more of a spam box and that wasn’t the reason why you started working for twitter in the first place. Yes, it would be nice if twitter employees followed more people but so what? There are plenty of people who are on twitter that follow less than 100 twitterers and they are content with the website. Do you think Mark Zuckerbeg has a million friends on Facebook? Tom from Myspace is friends with just about everybody but I doubt he talks to everyone. As long as twitter is gaining feedback from its power users and users in general, then they are in good hands. As soon as this stops, the company will get in trouble, as any company would. Feedback is important so that the company is able to shift in a particular direction if need be. And sure, twitter employees might not tweet as often as some of us crazy folks but part of it is because they are so damn busy making sure their servers don’t keel over due to over usage and at the same time are trying to implement new features and making sure that the current features are getting upgraded. And they need a life outside of work. Yes, they love providing twitter services to us but everyone needs some down time .
Marshall expresses concern over the new @replies changes for the twitter power users. I did notice it but I wasn’t sure in what way it had changed. If someone could clarify this for me, that would be great.
If it is true that twitter employees are not looking at different desktop applications, then they should. It is good to examine those applications as well as applications that stemmed off of twitter like tweetscan, twitpic, etc.
I’m surprised there isn’t a wikipedia page for this information. Here is a link to Twitter’s services and apps. It is always good to see what ideas arise while users are using your application as their platform. It helps the company get a good sense on what direction the twitter universe is leaning towards. Ev did mention that they already hired full time employees to read the incoming feedback and I am sure they know what is happening in the Twitter world and are relaying this information back to the rest of the employees.
In the end, as everyone learns eventually in their lifetime, you can’t make everyone happy and as of now, Twitter has been doing a pretty darn good job. Keep up the good work guys and I hope to see more awesomeness sprout from the twitter cave.