I run a Social-First Digital Agency in Philadelphia. I’ve been building the company brick-by-brick since 2011. Before that, I was employed by others doing similar work in social media and strategy.
I love running my company, but it’s sometimes a real chore. Though social media feels established to me, it’s still virtually brand new to businesses, most of whom are still putting the entire strategy in the hands of a recent college grad or some traditional marketer without a fully set up Linkedin Profile.
I’d love to grow my agency into the next Ogilvy, Edelman, or Wieden Kennedy. I want to have the opportunity to show our clients how to do it right.
But there’s something I’d give it all up for: Running Twitter
“But Jeff, what do you think qualifies you to run Twitter?”
That’s a great question, I’m glad you asked. Sure, I haven’t run a multibillion dollar company before, but not to be rude, but what the fuck is Jack Dorsey currently doing? Where is Biz Stone? Where is Evan Williams? That’s right, all running barely successful or nearly drowning companies. And I’m certainly not seeing a bunch of brilliant ideas coming out of Twitter these days.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m qualified, it just sheds light that maybe current leadership isn’t all that qualified to turn this ship around either.
Here’s the case for being put in charge of Twitter…
I’m been obsessively studying the entire social media landscape since 2008. During that time it has been my mission to understand the overlap between technology and human behavior. I’ve used nearly every app that has succeeded, and nearly every app that has failed. I’ve become an excellent judge for which apps will succeed and which will fail. Yes, I have been wildly critical of Facebook, but for the most part, I’ve had strong instincts about the industry tempered with both realism and optimism.
Now sure, many people could say that. So, what else…?
I’ve also written plenty about what I would do to fix Twitter. I’ve looked for ways for them to make money. I’ve looked for hacks to make it more conversational and engaged. I’ve used virtually every Twitter app, and been a hardcore user since its early days. I “get” Twitter, and I also “get” what my professional and personal contemporaries are frustrated by on Twitter. I spend plenty of money on Facebook ads, and we get amazing results. Yet I don’t spend on Twitter ads, and I can tell you exactly why.
Heck, I’m even going to interrupt this blog post to drop 25 ideas on you (some are repeats):
- Make links into cards, and give me 140 characters to comment.
- The first five hashtags don’t count.
- When searching hashtags show the number of people that use it, like Instagram.
- Add more trending topics and news
- Get rid of auto welcome DM’s…forever
- Provide email marketing level data for direct messages: opens, clicks, forwards
- Make it faster to create content. Add a button with quick links for text, photo, video, and live video.
- Create an Influencer Marketplace backend. Analyze: raw audience size numbers, engagement rate, and frequently mentioned topics.
- Let people monetize their account.
- Fix the damn ad editor! Hire a UX designer, look at what other platforms do better and improve it.
- Drop the price of ads. Make it ridiculously cheap until people buy or you can prove results.
- Make lists easily accessible. Swipe right and left to switch.
- Open up the API to make content posted to Twitter more dynamic and inline to keep people o nthe platform.
- Beef up Twitter search. Show more stats, show better stats. Present data visually.
- Fuck total numbers, eradicate spam accounts.
- Create a filtered feed but don’t make it default by default. Let people choose their homescreen (list, filtered or unfiltered home feed).
- Put favorite tweeters at the top of the screen (should look like Instagram stories)
- UI: put some space between the tweets so they look like cards.
- Build search into any stream (home, lists, etc)
- Make searching nearby a one tap action
- Introduce a pro plan
- Released unused or suspended usernames back into the wild
- Impose stiff penalties for harassment and threats
- Offer different views of twitter based on how people use it. Creators, vs curators vs spectators
- Make Jeff Gibbard CEO
The bottom line is, Twitter could do much worse than hiring an intelligent and outspoken Twitter advocate who routinely make suggestions for the platform, who understands the average user, who understands marketers, and who has studied and worked in the social media industry for the last decade. Like, for instance, they could keep doing the same crap they’re doing.