Tuesday, December 23, 2008

If I Were to Build a Twitter Client...

by Christine Mortesen 2 comments

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or if I were perhaps involved in building Twitter v2.0...which I'm not by the way. But if I were, this would be my wish list (in no particular order):

  • Organize Tweets by day. Heck, throw in an option to break down Tweets by the hour! If you follow as many people as I do that are as active as the people I follow there's a ton of activity throughout the day.
  • Don't make sign in a requirement to TwitPic if I want to leave a comment on a photo that a friend has posted. Single sign on people. If I have a Twitter account and I'm looking at the TwitPic photo, chances are that I'm signed in. (You could be directed there via Facebook or another site but does that really matter?) And allow me to post to TwitPic directly from the browser interface (not that I use it that often but I know quite a few that do)
  • Allow for multiple search types, i.e., hash tags, people, interests, etc. not just invitation to join functionality. (What ever happened to people search anyway? Boy, do I miss that)
  • Analytics of some kind. (This may be pushing the limits of what a client should handle but Twitter should be all over this by now.)
  • Show user trends. There is so much data being tossed around this super simple site it's unfathomable. Capture this data and share it with the community at large. Digg does a fabulous job with this via their Digg Labs site. Data visualization helps people understand implact, makes connections for super users, helps marketers estimate ROI, and lets face it, it just looks freakin' cool! For another example take a look at some of the data visulization experiments that the kids at Facebook are whippin' up: Sharing Around the World
  • Allow me to make a URL tiny directly within the client (I'll be speaking to this more in a future post where I review several Twitter clients, but Twhirl among others already has a feature like this). It's such a time saver.
  • If you're making a Twitter iPhone application make sure there's a way I can Tweet via my bookmarks. Twitterific has a wonderful javascript that allows you to bookmark a site that passes the URL to Twitterific allowing you a seemless way to do this. This is the feature I miss most about Twitterific. Well that, and the adorable chirp sound you hear at launch. It's such a welcoming sound!
  • Speaking of sound...include a the TwitPic equivilent for sound. I would have loved to share a clip of the rare and eclectic Christmas music compilation my beau was playing the other day...something about "outer space Santa". It was weird, but you'll just have to trust me on this one.
  • Twiter Groups would be fabulous as there are some people I follow mostly for their interesting link finds, some for industry trends, some because they are very close friends, and others that are just interesting in general (@hodgman, aka PC in the Mac ads, comes to mind). Adding a grouping functionality would be a great way to delineate some of the activity if you wanted to.
  • Have somthing of more value on the homepage. I'm a huge proponent of the "show don't tell" ideology. If you've got something great to show the world why would you hide it behind a curtain?  Look at what Perspctv was able to do with Twitter information for the 2008 Presidential Election. Surely Twitter, you could at least show the public timeline activity to tease and show potential users just how active the site community is.
  • Aggrigate, store and re-publish links from those whom you follow. Twitter and most other clients only let you go back so far but if there was a way to hook into a site like Delicious can you imagine the power you'd have at your finger tips?! Twitter is already something of a human search engine, filtering out the clutter and/or noise. If you could harness that "smart filter" and feed it back to the community...Wow, just stop and think about that for a minute. This may be an overdramatization but Twitter could become the next evolution of Google...a human powered smart filter. Hmmm now THAT's got me thinking...
    What would you love to see in a Twitter client or the next version of Twitter? Leave a comment below or let's Tweet it out on Twitter (@cmortensen) Maybe I will make a Twitter client!

    Until next time...Cheers!
    Oh! And Happy Holidays! Be safe and thanks for reading.

    Comments 2 comments
    Kevin said...

    I LOVE the idea of Groups like Yammer has. I am hesitant to follow any new people, because I get annoyed sometimes when wading through my "public" tweeters.

    The Twitter API does have a "trends" feature where you can find out the top 10 queries on Twitter, and it allows search based on location. So, it seems that Twitter is offering more capabilities to the public that it doesn't really take advantage of on Which is very cool but a bit odd. I am just getting into the Twitter API for a client of ours. Maybe I will learn it inside and out, and we can build that dream client.

    In the meantime, I recommend using Tweetie on the iPhone. It is a paid app, but it is the best one I have found so far. It shortens URLs for you, and it has a bookmarklet like Twitterific (however adding the marklet to Safari mobile is a bit tedious). It allows you to view TwitPics full-screen in Tweetie. It doesn't send you to the TwitPic site, which I feel is a crappy experience. It has trends built in, so you can see the top ten Twitter queries and then click to show the results. You can also do your own search based on whatever term or tweeters you want. There is a nearby feature that will show you tweets near you. I'm not sure what the radius is, but I guess they are going to build a radius filter. You can follow/unfollow from Tweetie. You can see profile information. You can see a user's followers or who they are following. You can have mulitple Twitter accounts. It is a pretty slick client.

    Christine said...

    Wow, thanks for the comment Kevin! Tweetie is one I have yet to check out but you've raved about to me before so it's definitely on my list of clients up for review. Right now I'm loving Twhirl which is a cross-platform desktop client, as well as Twitelator Pro on the iPhone. Twitelator is available for free but I loved it so much I shelled out the $5 bucks for the Pro version and love it. It allows me to manage multiple Twitter accounts, in-line pics (so no TwitPic unless I want to see a larger version), various search features, and it even lets me add those cute little emoticons too! ;)

    I'd like to at some point do a write up on Twitter vs. Yammer. If you want to co-write it with me let me know!

    Thanks much for the comment! Happy Xmas eve :)

    Christine Mortensen
    Visual Designer, UX Advocate, Social Medial Maven, Interactive Media Strategist, Blogger, and in my spare time I'm a Runner, Volleyball Player, and Bloody Mary Fan

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