CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Software

Ten issues I have with Twitter (and its community)

Twitter might be a fast-growing social network, but it's not able to escape some problems. From downtime to community issues, Twitter has some kinks to work out.

We all know and love Twitter, but it's not perfect. A few months ago, I used these pages to tell you what I liked about Twitter and what I didn't.

Since then, Twitter has undergone some major changes. It has enjoyed worldwide acclaim. It has a new design. And its community is bigger than ever.

All those things are great. But I'm not as happy with it as I could be. Unfortunately, I've found some issues with Twitter and its community that need to be addressed.

Five Twitter issues

1. The "more" has to go Say what you will about Twitter's new design, but sifting through the stream is too difficult. In the previous design, I was able to click the "next" button to get to older tweets. From there, I could quickly change the URL in the address bar to get to the page I wanted. For example, if I wanted to refer back to a tweet that, by now, was on page three, all I needed to do was change the "page=1" command to "page=3." Once it loaded, I was on the right page.

But in Twitter's new design, it requires me to keep hitting "more" to see tweets. It's a real annoyance. Quickly getting to the tweet I want to find takes too long. And although it makes the site more "Web 2.0," I don't like it. Bring back the "next" option, Twitter.

Twitter
No more more, please. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

2. Down times are back For a while, Twitter was on its game. There were so few down times, it seemed the Fail Whale was finally in the past. But as of late, I've noticed many more down times on the service. Almost each day, it's down for a minute or two at a time. It's not nearly as bad as it used to be, but it's still present. Down times have been a problem with Twitter since the beginning. They need to be averted.

3. Search still sucks Sorry, but Twitter Search doesn't even compare to some of the third-party apps available on the Web. I've used it on numerous occasions and each time, I'm left wanting more. So, I followed CNET Editor Rafe Needleman's advice and tried out Twazzup. It's more robust than Twitter's search. It helps me find results more quickly. Don't waste your time with Twitter Search. I don't.

Twitter Search
Twitter Search isn't as good as it could be. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

4. Security is a problem Although I've yet to be affected by a Twitter security problem, it's starting to become a concern. In the past six months alone, Twitter has been affected by several security flaws. Some have been worse than others, but considering many of them have something to do with phishing attacks and malware, they're all worth being worried about.

Twitter needs to enhance security. It's not nearly as secure as it should be. It might still the "place to be" if you're a social-networking fanatic, but it's also attracting malicious hackers. And that's not good.

5. It still doesn't have groups I know I've complained about this for as long as I can remember, but it's still a major issue I have with Twitter. I think groups could transform the experience. It would help bloggers target their readers more effectively, it could help celebrities form communities around their talents, and it would help companies communicate with employees. It just seems like the next logical step for the service and so far, it hasn't delivered. That's too bad.

Five Twitter community issues

1. Ditch the spammers In recent months, there has been a severe upswing in the number of spammers targeting Twitter. Every day, I see some portion of my stream invaded by spammers trying to get me to click on links to all kinds that bring me to fake products and schemes. It used to be an annoyance, but now, it's getting ridiculous. Something needs to be done.

2. Enough with the special days Although #FollowFriday is a favorite of some, I've found that many users are starting to come up with days of their own. Tune Thursday comes to mind. So does Wacky Wednesday, where one of my followers asked users to share a "wacky moment with everybody else." Ugh. Just stop. Please.

First off, alliteration isn't that cool. Secondly, we don't need special days. Let's just stick to talking about interesting stuff. It's so much cooler that way.

Twitter
Enough with all the special days. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

3. Following promises need to go I'm sick and tired of people who use their Twitter accounts to tell you how to add "1,000 followers in a single day!" First off, it ruins the Twitter experience. Secondly, most of those techniques require you to follow people who follow everyone else. For the most part, that means you'll be following people who will spam you. These scams need to be actively eradicated.

4. There's too much linkage I'll be the first to admit that I engage in too much linking. Every article I write goes to Twitter. But at the same time, I don't like the community's reliance on links. I realize that Twitter is a great way to get news and I know it's a place to share cool stuff. But at the same time, I do want to hear what people have to say. I'm following you for a reason--I want to know what you think. Tell me, instead of regurgitating a news headline and sending a link along.

Twitter
Twitter and all that tracking needs to go. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

5. We need more celebrities to care Although I applaud some celebrities (like Ashton Kutcher) who use Twitter as a platform to communicate with fans, there are still far too many celebs who use their assistants to do the tweeting. Yes, it's nice to know that you have a concert coming up, but let's hear what you think about it. We want to know what your life is like. We want to understand more about you. Using an assistant to update your stream won't do that.

Oh, and while you're at it, follow me on Twitter.