Facebook is for family, Instagram is for the flex, but Twitter is where you’ll find the real me

July 2020 marks my 10 year anniversary on Twitter.

“But you’re so quiet, do you really have that much to say?”

Well yeah, I do. Everyone has a thoughts they want to share, to be heard and to feel connected with others in a society that is moving towards digital and away from face-to-face interaction. That’s where Twitter comes in.

I personally find it more appealing compared to Facebook (clunky and too many features) and Instagram (which focuses on imagery and perpetuates comparison culture).

Your family likes Facebook the most and wants to invite her to the next BBQ. Instagram is the popular and attractive one everyone gushes over (and may secretly hate) aka Regina George. Twitter is that kind of weird but funny friend in the group no one really notices but is always there.

Twitter’s mission statement:

“The mission we serve as Twitter, Inc. is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers. Our business and revenue will always follow that mission in ways that improve — and do not detract from — a free and global conversation.” (Source)

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

I began using Twitter for a fairly obscure reason. Ten years ago I was a huge K-pop fan and Twitter was where all of my online friends gathered to post about upcoming concerts and album releases. At first glance, its concept struck me as odd. Who would want to post anything with a limit of 140 characters?

Apparently many do. With 145 million daily active users averaging a whopping 500 million tweets per day, it is no doubt that Twitter is a powerful and thereby influential platform (source).

The character limit is actually beneficial as a constraint in that it serves to spur creativity, much like constraints within the UX design process itself. Twitter has since extended its character limit to 280, and while most people don’t reach that limit, it is shown to increase engagement (source).

Twitter’s interface and design process over the years are wonderful to draw inspiration from. Here are some of my favorite things:

  • It has a visually simple interface with not much color or other distractions, allowing the user to focus on the main task — tweeting.
  • When version updates roll out they do not change much at a time (with the exception of overhauls). People find comfort in familiarity and innovation itself is inspired by existing concepts. Throughout the years I easily transitioned between versions and now I don’t even remember what it was like to use Twitter before the current interface. Of course this is my own personal opinion as I know a few people who dislike Twitter and do not use it.
2011 (Source)
Legacy interface (Source)
Current interface (Source)
  • It’s tone and narrative is decidedly human. In fact, company announcements are tweeted on its own platform, giving the user a sense that whoever is behind the app is human as well. We feel connected not only with each other but with the platform and its creators.
  • Its simplicity and ease of use make Twitter a powerful and versatile tool. It can be as personal or as professional as you want. People use it to chat with friends, businesses use it for advertisement and revenue, government entities use it to post pertinent information.

Thanks to Twitter I have discovered an amazing digital art community, new tattoo artists, am up to date with social movements, and have gotten to know people on a personal level that I never would have imagined.

Of course Twitter is not perfect and has issues with censorship, bots, and information overload like any other social networking app. No product is ever perfect and as new issues occur, designers will continue to iterate and improve.

Twitter as an app is a great representation of what digital products can provide for people and how it can impact the real world. Technology has become an integral part of our lives from socializing, conducting business, and even education, all of which are traditionally face-to-face.

In 2020 I realized that the digital world has become, for better or for worse, our real world.

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