The Next Thing that Will Unseat Twitter: Here is the Recipe

This is a guest post by Emily McDaid a BtoB and BtoC PR expert for the digital industries and telecommunications markets.

Emiliy McDaidAs Twitter becomes less and less conversational and more and more "one-way broadcasting", a next Twitter needs to barge into the scene.

Take a look how the latest big Twitter stories were covered in mainstream press:

  • Iran conflict - citizen journalism to get the word out when 'real' journalism was stifled - one way broadcasting.
  • MJ death - yeah, sure, a lot of people Tweeted about it. A blog still broke the news, just like what would have happened with a big news event 8 years ago
  • Habitat's horrendous attempt at a social media advertising campaign, highjacking stories of human suffering to push furniture - one way broadcasting on crack
  • Ashton Kutcher's one million followers tirade - if he thinks it proves that he wants to converse with a million fans, rather than just broadcast to the world how 'special' he is, his ego has damaged his ability to reason

Half the Tweets coming up are one-way thoughts rather than conversation starters or links to interesting stuff. And when finally an interesting two-way conversation does come up between two followers, you have to click into one or both profiles to see what they said first, then click back for the next comment, then so on. Its confusing, distracting and does not add to the conversation.

A lot of early Twitterers were worried that as Twitter became more mainstream, it would somehow 'get worse.' I'm starting to believe it is getting worse. But I don't think the primary reason is that it's becoming mainstream.

Twitter is a breakthrough tool and I'm still a fan. But the Twitter team should be busy with improving and evolving its UI to amplify the two-way conversational tools and steer it away from the one-way broadcasting direction.

The UI is clunky and lacking basic functionality. Sorry to be harsh Twitter, but you are one of the most talked about technologies on the market today and your UI still needs a Tweetdeck for people who want more? Houston, we have a problem.

Twitter has allowed a door to open for the next big thing to stir things up. Here is our recipe for The Next Twitter - a groundbreaking conversation tool, its a freebie, it's brilliant:

1. Take the easiest web interface you can find, and make it interoperable with mobile (similar to what Twitter has done - we applaud them for their mastery of simplicity).

2. Shamelessly copy the follow / unfollow brilliance of Twitter. It's subtle and it works.

3. Make search absolutely central to the tool. Don't confuse 'simple UI' with 'featureless' and don't kid yourself that any feature is more important than search.

4. Combine microblogging with elements of old-fashioned message boards, being the best of both, minus the annoying elements. Give people the ability to see entire conversations in a single glance on one screen, using plus/minus buttons so you can dig further into the conversations you want to see, and minus out of the ones you don't care about - all without having to navigate to a new screen.

5. Initially, focus on need to have instead of nice to have: convincing people how they can use it for their jobs and hobbies - Facebook's already got the masses' personal lives in the can

6. Excite and engage the media and PR scenes to get the word out most quickly
7. Shamelessly market yourself as the thing that will unseat Twitter. The technology business world needs to take more lessons from athletes when it comes to bold, brash, super competitive statements

8. Be really strict with bots and spammers to keep them firmly out

9. Shake up the above ingredients, don't stir. Stick it in the oven and watch the world take notice

Do you agree with the recipe? Have other points to add? Let us know. We are dying to see this mystery tool be developed as we want to start using it now.

This post deserves more comments! I really like your critique and recipe. I'd add something along the lines of 'Integrates seamlessly with just about any other networking site/community in which we participate.'

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