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Twitter And Trial And Error: A Reflection


Twitter has been a platform that, for as long as I have used it, been eager to hear user feedback on software updates. Twitter has implemented many features that were quickly removed due to receiving onslaughts of criticism.


The most prevalent of these changes was the implementation of default Quote Retweets (often shortened to QRT). The original function of Quote Retweeting, was introduced back in 2015, but this was a seemingly unprecedented change. When this feature was introduced, in October 2020, numerous digital artists, slammed the website for normalising a feature which allowed art to be reshared, without attention being rightly given to the artist themselves. QRTs have been an element of Twitter for a long time, however, in removing the blank retweet option from the website, Twitter made it so individuals had to opt to say nothing when sharing tweets by others. This was a minor inconvenience for the general user, who may reshare viral tweets, pictures of dogs, or selfies a friend already tweeted. However, for people who use Twitter as a networking tool, the default QRT function meant that this platform, used to network and share art with an audience, was going to be directly impacted. Suddenly, sharing art with comments was being normalised, and with traction going to the quoter, as opposed to the quoted, the artists could experience a revenue loss.


In December 2020, Twitter announced that they were removing this feature, and the previous retweet option would be returned to users, individuals once again getting a dropdown to choose whether to retweet or QRT.


Another example of Twitter’s responsiveness to feedback was in the introduction and subsequent removal of Fleets. Twitter’s Fleets were similar to Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, and Facebook Stories, and for many, Fleets were menial, and ignored. The fact they were not being actively used, lead to the disablement of Fleets. They had a short life of mere months; being introduced in November 2020 and removed on August 3rd 2021.


On 11th August 2021, the popular social media platform, Twitter was updated. In this update, Twitter changed one of their most statement features: the colours used for “following” and “follow”, which has already been attributed to many users unintentionally unfollowing friends, artists, content creators and other users due to associating the colours with their previous meanings.


In a statement, Twitter acknowledged that they were making changes to the colour scheme on their platform, and “using less blue” to add to the experience of using the platform, and focusing on the fun and the content that should immediately attract the eye. This is completely understandable, as having a number of bright blue icons on the page may impact the user experience, but the choice to change the colours in this instance seems less clear.


Writer, Brian Merchant acknowledged the detrimental implications of this change on the social aspect of Twitter, tweeting the following as part of a thread on the subject: “know what makes me want to spend more time on this website? accidentally unfollowing people I was sure I had already followed and then following them again, making them think I had only just now followed them love it”.


The question is, with Twitter’s trial and error approach to website management, how long will this new feature last? Will it become a permanent Twitter feature, like groups and lists, or will it decay and join the graveyard of failed experiments with default QRTs and Fleets?



Based in London, U.K., and founded in 2016 by Arvind Mishra The Agile Works (www.TheAgileWorks.com), is an up-and-coming recruitment and Agile consulting company. Arvind is a Certified SAFe SPC and regularly delivers both private and public SAFe certification workshops.


He is a design thinking expert, Sr. enterprise, portfolio Agile Coach with over a decade of experience working as an Agile coach in diverse industries such as banking, pharma, retail, auto, oil, gas, consulting and government.


The Agile Works; a small team of three strive to help shape the leadership's mind-set and values in readiness for their business transformation journey challenges. With Arvind at the helm, we strive to provide you with the agility tools to make your company that can thrive, and not just survive.


To book a consultation, or for any enquiries, you can contact Arvind via the following email address: arvind@theagileworks.com

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