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What could Twitter do to improve Tweetdeck following $40m acquisition?

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

May 24, 2011 | 4 min read

Twitter is said to have acquired London application Tweetdeck in a deal thought to be worth around $40m, but what does the social networking site need to do to improve on the service. Digital PR agency Revolver PR offers a few thoughts are to what it could do to build on the product.

First of all, it's hard to pick any serious flaws, faults or omissions. The reason Twitter bought Tweetdeck rather than any of the innumerable other clients out there is that it's pretty feature packed. It does almost everything and it does it all very well.

However, there are a few things which would elevate it into the software hall of legends:

1. Integrate reporting/stats

Provide a variety of statistics, numbers and graphs showing your activity over the hour/day/week/month. This would be hugely handy for a lot of people, showing their activity, retweets, DMs, etc. over a specified period. This would make it far simpler for people to figure out what their more popular, influential, interesting and useful Tweets are. Even better, it will show what DOESN'T work.

2. Improve the UI.

The flexibility and customisation of Tweetdeck is almost above reproach, but the whole dark/light grey thing just looks like a throwback to the 80s. The Twitter acquisition is a perfect chance to offer more customisation and themes (well Firefox and Chrome do it and it's v. popular, so why not?) Replace the pale pink 'Over API' notification with a pretty whale and less people will grind their teeth to powder. The ability to minimise and maximise columns would also be good, since more and more people use Tweetdeck for multiple accounts, or tile/cascade windows (or use multiple 'workspaces'?). Which leads us neatly onto:

3. Improve Support for Multiple Accounts

Users with more than one account quickly realise that the number of columns can get a little out of hand, with 10+ columns. There are a few glitches here with following/blocking people from multiple accounts depending upon which method you use (icon from within a tweet or via a search) which could be tidied up. Combined with a change to the UI, it would let people arrange and prioritise their accounts and information appropriately.

4. Notifications

With any reasonable number of users, the instant notifications are immediately annoying and takes up a huge amount of space. With info switched off and non realtime updates selected, they're far less intrusive, but still not quite right. Why not let people choose the update period and information provided - every five minutes, show me the number of DMs, Retweets, search results, group activity and so forth. The corners selection choices are OK, but they're now all occupied by tabs, menu bars, task bars, widgets and window controls. Having tried all four corners, on three different operating systems, we need a different way, Tweetdeck. PLEASE! (My idea: scrolling update summary in a ticker tape fashion, configured for the machine, O/S of your choice).

5. Keyboard shortcuts

I know they're geeky. I know many people hate them, but for power users, or people who use Tweetdeck a lot, for multiple accounts and thousands of followers, they'd be a godsend. New message, RT, DM, etc. would all be massively improved if I didn't have to dive for the mouse.

6. E-mail updates

What? Madness. No. There are times that, no matter how many platforms are supported, no matter how many devices and gadgets you have, that it all comes down to e-mail. If you're on holiday, overseas or visiting a government organisation which has declared social media 'degenerate', you might want to see who's been in touch, or get back to someone, despite your lack of 'proper' computing. When all else fails, when nothing else is possible and when you really, really need to tweet, an e-mail system would be jolly useful to have.

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