Saturday 9 February 2013

Twitter clients

I've started using SlipStream with my desktop Twitter client. It's great, but it makes me yearn for what it doesn't do.

I can:
  • Mute individual users (I just unfollow, so not needed)
  • Mute by hashtag or by keyword
I cannot:
  • Mute by all variants on a muted hashtag/keyword without muting them individually. So when a celebrity dies and my stream is filled with RIP XXXX, unless I want to mute the first name and the last name individually (and over-mute), I have to mute a half-dozen variants. 
  • Mute all the TV shows. Sure, I can mute individual hashtags associated with TV shows, but I can't mute the general idea of tweeting about whatever you're watching on TV. 
  • Mute all the sports. As above, I can mute individual hashtags, but they're not always used. 
  • Mute by context rather than keyword. A smart client should be able to tell that a tweet saying "Oh, they just scored" is really about the Super Bowl and should be blocked if I blocked the Super Bowl even if it doesn't say Super Bowl.
I also use Tweetdeck and Falcon Pro. Tweetdeck lets you filter out particular words, but you have to go over into settings to do it. Falcon Pro and SlipStream let you mute from the offending tweet, but Falcon doesn't let you mute by keyword, just by hashtag or user. 

Here's what I want. A smart Twitter client that has as a mute option "I just don't like this kind of thing" and makes sure I don't see much of it again. If a local celebrity dies, I want to see the first two tweets about it so I know to offer condolences to the Kiwis, but I then don't ever want to see another thing about it. I want a global setting saying "If somebody dies, I don't want to see more than 2 tweets about it unless I whitelist it or unless the Twitter volume means it really is really really important - in which case give me an "Are you sure you want to keep blocking this?" query". 

I don't want to see two dozen different tweets about some great article in Smithsonian Mag. I read it the first time, don't need to see any more tweets about it.

If the client can't parse tweets' meaning fast enough to do context rather than keyword filtering, it ought to suggest filter bundles. Like "I see you have muted "Super Bowl". Would you also like to filter the name of every major sports team that is not also a word in common usage?". That would have me miss tweets I'd want to see about silly stadium funding decisions, but having a manageable timeline with a better signal to noise ratio would be worth it.

Demand can only bring forth supply if it is revealed: I'm willing to pay $20 for a client that handles all this really well. In Arrow-Debreu worlds, if there are enough people who want this, it will exist. If someone's found a workable solution, I'm all ears. 

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't get your hopes up. Twitter is enforcing more and more rules on how clients may display tweets. Some of these rules will restrict how tweets can be filtered and in general they discourage people from writing twitter clients.

    So I'm afraid you are not dealing with a free market here