I don’t know if @ev, @biz or @dickc will read this, but Twitter clearly needs filters. Its not something an external client should do (TweetDeck does this very well, BTW), but the main stream should provide.
The way I look at my Twitter feed, is like email. Twitter currently speaks IMAP, and I can read my feed on many devices: UberTwitter on my BlackBerry, Gravity on my Nokia N97, Seesmic Desktop when I’m on my Mac, and if all else fails, there’s always Twitter web or the mobile version of it.
The way I manage my email is simple – I use server side filters. So when I read my mail on my BlackBerry, or Thunderbird or Apple Mail, I only see what I want to see in my INBOX. Filtration is done using procmail recipes, or Google Mail’s awesome labels, on the server side. So when I look at things on the client side, I don’t have stuff I’d rather skip in my stream.
And is there stuff I’d rather skip in my stream? Sure there is.
- Live blogging is so 20th century, because in the 21st century, people tweet at an event, using a hashtag. If the event is truly one that I am not interested in following, I can filter out the hashtag.
- With the economy recovering, and advertising buyers being clueless on how to spend their money, they start getting people to spam their stream. Now, I must like these folk as people, because I follow them, but their occasional ads do annoy me, and I’d rather filter it out. Lucky for me, they have to use hashtags too, otherwise it can’t be tracked – filtering it out would rock!
- Advertising networks are popping up left, right and center. Malaysia is not spared – we’ve got ChurpChurp. TweetDeck allows me to filter from source, something I wish Twitter as being the server, allowed server side filtration.
- Foursquare is becoming very popular, but it has this evil ability to auto-post to Twitter/Facebook feeds as well. I can see its use – if I’m bored at a Starbucks and do want to meet strangers, I might tell people on my Twitter stream that. But people are auto-updating, and its getting quite annoying. From Foursquare’s perspective this helps their viral nature; but from my perspective, if I care to know where you’re at, I’d have followed you on Foursquare.
I’m sure the list can go on. The web version should allow me to filter, at the very least, based on Text (a hashtag), and a Source (clients that are known to be spam-generators). TweetDeck allows filtration by Name and Time too. Today, the web version already allows you to search based on a hashtag (think of that as Text + <string> in TweetDeck’s interface). It should allow filtration too.
This will be good – advertising networks benefit from those non-power users (probably the vast majority). Power users however have their own AdBlock built in.
P/S: This is a service I would pay a nominal fee for. I see Flickr and RememberTheMilk charging USD$25/year for a few additional goodies. I would pay Twitter that same price to use their service, and filter out what I’d rather not see (and if they have other features, like metadata support, all the merrier).