Amid all of the chaos surrounding Elon Musk’s bid to buy Twitter, I can’t help but wonder what Twitter will look like when the dust settles and we find out who takes over or remains in control.
And while we can’t quite predict what the wildly popular social networking app would look like if Musk successfully buys the company and takes it private, I do know what changes I’d like to see happen regardless of who ends up in charge of that terrible, amazing bird app.
An edit button
It’s been the most requested change for years for a reason. We should be allowed to correct our tweets when they have mistakes in them. Deleting them and starting over isn’t the answer and neither is having to live with tweets riddled with typos and autocorrect fails. There are valid concerns about having an edit button on Twitter, though. Some users could abuse the feature to hide or change the entire meaning of a tweet or its context.
But that doesn’t mean you scrap the entire idea of an edit button. It means you create one with limits and features that allow for more transparent and honest editing. Twitter says that it’s been working on an edit feature since last year. Whoever takes control of the company needs to make sure the feature still happens. Our hot takes and threads and live tweets depend on it.
It should be noted that this is the one feature Elon Musk did actually hint at early on in his bid to be more involved with Twitter.
Do you want an edit button?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 5, 2022
More control over the What’s Happening sidebar
If you use Twitter on desktop/web, the What’s Happening sidebar can be equal parts infuriating and informative. It can help you keep up with breaking news, but it more often than not populates unnecessary, annoying, and repetitive topics. It’s also the section where even the mere mention of your favorite actor or musician’s name strikes fear in your heart because there’s rarely ever any context and chances are it’s because they’ve passed away or they’ve done something horrible.
Plus, you can’t really remove the sidebar (unless you use a browser extension) and you only have limited control over it. You may be able to remove some topics by clicking on the little three-dots icon, but not all topics have it and some of them seem rooted to the side of your screen all day even though they have nothing to do with your interests. Give us the ability to remove topics from the What’s Happening sidebar or at least let us hide it from view. Quickly.
Searchable bookmarks and a way to organize them
I can’t be the only one who saves tweets. And if you’re anything like me, you have a comically huge collection of them in your Twitter bookmarks. Which is why it seems particularly cruel that Twitter gives us a place to save a seemingly astronomical amount of tweets, but no way to organize them or search through them.
Twitter can be horrible place, but it is also the of some of the most insightful threads and funniest commentary around and why wouldn’t we want to revisit our favorite content? What if you need to find a recipe that was only shared via a tweet on Twitter? Good luck with that. Because with the current state of Twitter’s Bookmarks feature, you’ll be scrolling forever trying to find it as there’s no way to search your bookmarks or sort them, or organize them into handy folders like “Recipes” or “Memes” or “Gossip.”
(Twitter does offer an advanced search feature to find tweets, but it would be so much easier to just click on a themed folder or do a quick search from within the Bookmarks section.)
Better muted words functionality
Muted words is easily one of Twitter’s best content curation features. After all, social media should be about enjoying the content you consume, not constantly being bombarded with stuff you don’t want to see. If you can’t stand spoilers, you can mute the words related to your favorite shows, so you’re not seeing others’ live tweets about them.
If there are topics you don’t want to see because they’re upsetting, you can use the muted words feature to curate your feed to avoid them. The concept is great, but the execution isn’t always where we need it to be. Users have complained about muting words related to their shows only to have Twitter allow a few spoiler tweets slip through to their feeds anyway. And it can be unsettling to be scrolling along happily only to then encounter a traumatic subject matter you thought you muted.
I’d like for the muted words feature to be more accurate and more effective at its job. It might also be helpful if Twitter could suggest related words that could be muted alongside words you’ve already picked. That way, you’re not stuck seeing unwanted tweets just because you failed to mute all their possible permutations.
The ability to archive individual tweets
While you can download an archive of your tweets, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I want the ability to archive (read: hide from view, but not delete) individual tweets or bunches of tweets. When it comes to unwanted old tweets, we shouldn’t have to choose between mass deleting old tweets or setting accounts to private to keep them from being (fully) public.
We should have the ability to curate their published posts and sometimes that means wanting to save tweets but not necessarily make them public anymore. Other social media platforms already have similar archive features like the one I’m describing. For example, Instagram allows you to archive your posts, which means they still exist but only you can see them. And you also have the ability to make them public on your profile again.
An easier way to turn off others’ retweets
Retweets are a great way to signal boost tweets you like or otherwise deem important, but they can get annoying when some of the accounts you follow abuse it. Some people and brands get a little too RT-happy and suddenly your feed is just a succession of a million retweets about the same subject. When you have a follower who keeps smashing that retweet button on tweets you never wanted to see, it’s time to turn off their retweets. That way you don’t have to mute the account or unfollow them, but you’re also not constantly hit with a barrage of their bad taste in tweets. And while Twitter does allow you to do that, it forces you to visit the offending account’s profile in order to do so.
But it would be so much more user-friendly, if you could turn off an account’s retweets via one of their bothersome retweets. That is to say, I’d like the following: When you tap the More three-dots icon on a retweet, the menu that pops up should also offer the option to turn off that person’s retweets. See? Simple and quick.