Thursday, 23 April 2015

No more Activity or Discover: Twitter's self-destructive user-unfriendly update

On 20 April, Twitter rolled out changes to its interface which it states it hopes to "help you connect more easily – and directly – on Twitter with the people, causes and businesses you care about most." The problem is that they have achieved the complete opposite.

Twitter only refers to this update as a quaint and practical change: a simple, streamlined redesign that makes direct messaging between users easier. It doesn't mention that this update has completely got rid of the 'Activity' and 'Discover' tabs, a bewildering so-called advancement that actually makes Twitter a less interesting and convenient platform to engage on.

Whenever I logged onto Twitter, I would check the 'Activity' and 'Discover' tabs to see content I might have otherwise missed, tweets favourited and retweeted by my followers and those I follow, as well as tweets from accounts that I didn't already follow which were popular among my network. As I follow over 2,300 accounts, this automated curation system was very useful for me to engage with my network and find new content and accounts of interest, as the 'Activity' and 'Discover' names imply. Now all I have is my timeline and a searchbox: I have no immediate means of finding out what interests my network or what it being discussed by them. And this inherently undermines the ease with which I can use and interact with Twitter as a platform. I'm on my own in these respects.

I find it staggering that such decisions are okayed as good ideas by tech higher-ups, and even more staggering that people are paid substantial sums of money to make them. I am ultimately insignificant to Twitter as one user, but I can definitely state that this pointless and counterproductive alteration makes me a lot less interested in using Twitter at all. I assume that there are many thousands of others who feel the same. What harm would restoring these completely useful utilities do? For what purpose were they even done away with?

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