What Twitter could learn from Facebook when it comes to privacy and noise reduction


I’ll start this one with a short excerpt from my recent post Two Twitter Features I’m longing for to reduce the noise:

The fact that Twitter introduced lists is great. But wouldn’t it be even better if you could choose which lists should read the tweet you’re sending out?

A couple of scenarios:

  • I created a list of German speaking Twitterers writing about social media. If I now stumbled across an interesting social media related German link and would like to share it with my followers, it unfortunately doesn’t make much sense to non-German speakers. So I’d like to have the opportunity to share it with this specific German list of my followers.
  • You’ve created a list of real friends, close ones, not the ones from Myspace, and don’t want to share some kind of personal stuff with your whole timeline but just with the folks on your close friends list.

If Twitter had only taken a quick glance at a the privacy options Facebook rolled out roughly half a year ago, the above-named issues would have been solved right away. 

Marshall Kitpatrik from ReadWriteWeb nailed it:

The new Facebook publishing feature lets users share things with just a particular list of their friends. (Or with the public at large if they so choose.) The contexts are un-collapsed. Communication is human again. That’s a very big deal and is the kind of change that could make far more people comfortable sharing far more information about their lives on Facebook. It’s also a feature that no major competitor (namely Twitter) offers.

Facebook may be solving one of the biggest problems in social networking – the unnaturally uncontrollable nature of communication.

As a matter of fact, somebody unfollowed me on Twitter yesterday, telling me that too many of my tweets seemed too extraneous to appear in his timeline, therefore putting me on a list.

So basically, Twitter would just have to copy Facebook’s feature to reduce the noise in our timelines & make communication on Twitter more sophisticated in general. Just by enabling users to choose which lists should see their tweet. I’m not a very skilled coder, but this shouldn’t be rocket-science.

To conclude, I’ve put together a how-to-video of the above-mentioned Facebook feature for those of you who haven’t heard of it yet :



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