Okay, world peace and an end to illness, poverty and starvation rank above my little wish for a better Twitter experience, but we’re a tech site so here goes…
Twitter’s move to introduce inline images has turned out to be a positive one on the whole. It certainly makes for a more visually interesting user experience, and we (and other publishers) have found that tweets with images attached tend to get more engagement than those without.
It’s not all good news though. How many times have you seen tweets like this in your feed in the past few days?
“First leaked photo from the set of Star Wars Episode VII pic.twitter.com/y8S7tFqduj”
— Kristen (@Mlle_Krikri) December 22, 2013
Escalator UI done right. pic.twitter.com/0Dwfyfmd6B
— Nigel Timothy Barber (@mindbrix) December 21, 2013
If your Twitter experience is anything like mine you’ve seen these repeated time and time again as people share a fun gag about the state of modern moviemaking and a great piece of design that will particularly resonate with users of the London Underground.
The problem is, they’re only fun the first time you’ve seen them, so as they get retweeted over and over again, you sigh, roll your eyes and think “Not THIS again.”
How could Twitter remedy this? Filtering of repeat images.
The Retweet function is supposed to fix the problem of seeing the same content over and over – you should only see the same tweet once, with perhaps the occasional repeat every day or so if it’s a really popular tweet. However, people like to manually retweet – either to add their own commentary or take credit for someone else’s joke and milk some retweets for themselves. Then people start retweeting those manual tweets, and soon enough you get this:
— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) December 16, 2013
Part of the joy of Twitter is its real-time, chronological feed. The recently-introduced conversation lines caused upset to many for missing up the chronology of tweets and I’m not saying that Twitter should start showing an algorithmically-generated feed of content it thinks we’ll like. What I am saying is that I don’t want to see that damn Star Wars greenscreen gag ever again.
If Twitter could recognize regularly repeating images and offer the option to hide them, I don’t think anyone would complain.
Image credit: DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images