In the past few months, there has been much fanfare about Twitter's imminent demise. However, this has coincided with an unrelated resurgent interest in the medium on my part. At this point, I would hardly consider Twitter to be a doomed phenomenon, not least because it still feels fun and exciting. I feel the same sense of adventure and possibility that I did a few years ago, every time I aim to encapsulate a thought in 140 characters or fewer, and I have come to the conclusion that there's only one way to really save the company: find a way to block all the annoying bots.
The most engaging trait of tweeting used to be the feeling that we were connecting with real people. You didn't need a lot of followers to prove your social worth; it was all down to the quality of your followers and the conversations you were having. Somewhere along the line, it became just another popularity contest and people needed thousands of followers to validate their social or professional standing. Now, I receive a few new followers every day; people I've never heard of before, who have nothing to do with my interests and who have 30, 50 or 100 thousand followers. They don't really have anything to say and they don't engage in conversations with their communities; they just retweet dozens of posts from active users. This has been the downfall of Twitter, as far as I'm concerned.
These days, I make a point of not following anyone back in less than one week. By then, the automated services these people use have typically unsubscribed the user from my account and I no longer have to worry about them. Those who stick around for more than one week and try to engage me as a person are the people I want to be in touch with. I have approximately 1,500 followers and nearly the same amount of people I follow. These are, for the most part, people whose opinion I value and who have something interesting to say. I don't need thousands of followers to feel valued. I am just as content as I was when I engaged with my first twenty tweeps. I'm happy to say that I have made some real friends on Twitter; people I have then met in "the real world" and who have become steady partners on the road of life.
It's time for Twitter to kill off the bots, the automation services, and bring back some sense of order to the chaos that has taken root and threatens to overwhelm a good thing, like persistent weeds in a garden. Twitter is still about what's happening right now, but it's getting harder to hear the real news, because of all the noise. As much as I love Instagram, for its serenity and visual shorthand, I go to Twitter for news and substance. It's the world's news ticker. It's the heartbeat, in a way Facebook will never be and Snapchat can never aspire to. It forces us to condense our message into its most stripped down essence, without any fluff or embellishment. It's the telegram of today, bearing an urgent and important message, and it into your very hands. It's still fairly unencumbered by ads and only feels genuine when it comes from the actual account holder. It is maybe the most authentic, bare-bones medium we currently possess. It would be a shame to lose it.
I want my Twitter back. @Jack Dorsey, please help #SaveTwitter by making it a personal experience once again.