Thursday, December 3, 2009

Giving Twitter a Social Memory

Twitter is a great tool for spreading news.
But it lacks a social memory. Its search functions are not so powerful yet. It also lacks a way to selectively forget what is not important.
It is a young protocol.

I am collecting here some ideas that could be useful for improving it.
Needless to say, these ideas have emerged from my experience in using the tool, and generated basing on my specific experience, as a technical manager, chronically in lack of time.

One of the most fascinating features of the whole twitter community is its similarity with a living brain. Users can be imagined as the neurons, firing tweets at each other and to their downstream followers. Retweets are short time reverberation loops that could reinforce a message. And when we start following someone, we create a new synapse.

The whole thing is changing, quite fast, and neurons develop quickly a meshed network of connections, in relation to their specific interests and skills.

  1. I would like to be able to read my incoming twitter feed from where i left it the last time. This for not losing information from my friends.

  2. I would like to be able to develop incoming filter features in reading my incoming twitter feed. Most of the tweets are not that interesting for me, while there are some very interesting nuggets of information that I like and do not want to miss. The time I can devote to reading tweets is limited. Currently I do filter out the retweets of some people I follow, and I find this option useful, because some people tweet simply too much. Some nice filter features are also obtainable thru lists, so to quickly be able to read just the new information related to a specific list. Maybe some keyword filters could be nice.

  3. To keep it quick, i would like to improve the favorite feature, to mark the interesting incoming tweets. In later review I would like to categorize these preferred tweets attaching labels (business, leisure, music, learning,... etc), and additional notes. This feature would allow to create reputation functions basing on the number of favorite marks a specific person or tweet gets.

  4. I would like to have a mark, in my incoming tweet feed, notifying if I am following the author of each tweet.

  5. Maybe when someone post a tweet, some important flag could be added to mark important issues? Some people tweet a lot, and I can not follow them. Maybe they could mark in some way the tweets they consider very important.

  6. Additional value would come from searching the favorite tweets repository, for a specific user or for a whole subset of the community, with geography filters, or business type filters, or whatever. This searching would benefit by people categorizations of specific contents.

  7. Twitter needs a way to forget the old unimportant information. We could study a progressive decay of old unstimulated synapses connections (with people whose tweets are never favorited by me).
    Also I would like a "wash" feature, to wash out from my feed the old tweets coming from people that are not in a specific selection list.

Will keep this post updated with new ideas.

Marco ( @mgua on twitter )

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