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February 7, 2013

Twitter is stupid and here's six reasons why.

1) The 140 character limit. This has been twitter's big thing ever since it started in 2006. The limit was set so that tweets could be sent and received via SMS, which had a 160 character limit, with twitter reserving the extra 20 for usernames. This limit is and always was stupid.
  a) No one uses twitter via SMS anymore. There may be a handful of people who still tweet via SMS, but no one, no one receives tweets via SMS and needs all of them to be under 160 characters. Also...
  b) Up until recently, I had a Nokia 1100. It came out in 2003, three years before twitter. Do you know what happened when it got a text message longer than 140 characters? It would receive them as two messages and then seamlessly stitch them into one without breaking a sweat.
  c) Log on to facebook. Go ahead, I'll wait. How many posts on your newsfeed are longer than 140 characters? One, maybe two? Would they have made it under the wire if they had spelled a couple things wrong like changing you're to ur and please to plz? Is it that hard for you to get through the full 200 or so characters? Most other social media outlets that don't limit by characters end up with pretty short messages most of the time too. The arbitrary character limit that supposedly makes twitter unique barely matters and necessitates terrible grammar and url shorteners.

2) One time, I decided to follow @uberfacts. I thought they would be an interesting addition to my twitter feed. I was wrong. They became my entire twitter feed because they post multiple times an hour. I don't check twitter more than once a day, if that, and the fact that they drowned out everyone else I was following made me had to unfollow them. Twitter has had half a decade to solve this problem and they haven't.

3) Trying to follow a conversation on twitter becomes a whole thing. On facebook, it's really clear. People's names are separated out from the content of the message, everything is threaded in a way that's easy to digest, instead of this mess that mixes and matches names with usernames and somehow takes my entire computer screen to show me four replies.

4) You have to click on a tweet to find out if it got any replies, retweets, or anything, which makes this thing appear: . This is a stupid button whose sole function is to collapse the expanded stuff that you just wanted to show, even though the link to collapse it is right where you just clicked. Also, this stupid button continues to be there, even if the thing you expanded isn't on the screen anymore.

5) God damn it twitter, when I click on someone's username, I want to go to their profile, not get a stupid little window with their name and three of their tweets.

6) I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Will, everyone knows that the web interface to twitter sucks, you need to download an app." My response to which is "FUCK YOU." You want me to pay $20 so I can view images and small blocks of text? That is literally what web browsers were invented to do. Apps are cool when they need to, say, use hardware, or run in the background, or whatever else apps do better than the web. But twitter is just a stream of text. Get it together twitter. Now that you've finally figured out how to keep your servers from crashing once a day, maybe now you can get around to building a web site that doesn't suck.

Posted by Will at February 7, 2013 4:54 PM

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