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商业 - 科技

Twitter自我破坏攒人气

Dan Mitchell 2013年09月02日

为了争取新用户,Twitter添加了照片功能、音乐功能和视频分享应用Vine之后,现在又增加了查看功能。,让用户之间的对话变得更加轻松方便。业内人士认为,这是Twitter向Facebook转变的最后一步。不过很多人使用Twitter只是为了接收新闻,Twitter向Facebook靠拢是个令人失望的变化。

    

    Twitter正在努力招徕更多新用户,同时留住老用户。为了达到这个目的,这家网站不惜冒险,尽其所能地进行自我破坏。

    破坏是对那些欣赏Twitter无与伦比、不断更新的大量实时新闻和信息流的用户而言。然而,这部分用户也许正在日益减少,而更多人使用Twitter只是为了抱怨、互相争论。毫无疑问,“Twitter掐架”比起叙利亚的故事或是气候变化的链接更加吸引眼球。不过对于将Twitter看作信息源、而不是一个实质上难以表意的“对话”平台的用户来说,这种不谐之音浪费时间,有损用户体验。

    但比起如何吸引和留住用户,Twitter对于想要严肃成熟地使用服务的人关心不足,这一点可以理解。不论是作为当事人还是旁观者,大多数人似乎更喜欢抱怨。

    这就是为什么Twitter推出了“查看”(View)功能,以便用户的对话更轻松方便。这项功能使得Twitter对喜爱观看掐架的用户(面对现实吧,至少有些时候,大部分人都会如此,尤其是牵涉了名人或网络名人时)而言更加友好。现在,对话已经按照时间顺序经过了整理。而在之前,想要继续谈话几乎不现实,因为你常常搞不清某条信息究竟是回复的其他哪一条。查看对话这个功能解决了这个问题。

    这也让Twitter更像Facebook了。根据知名技术博客GigaOm.com创始人奥姆•马利克的说法,这只是社交媒体平台同质化的最后一步。Twitter添加了照片功能、音乐功能和视频分享应用Vine之后,查看对话功能是“Twitter尝试向Facebook转变的最后一步。”

    同时,这也让Twitter变得更像留言板了。不过Twitter信息仍然有140字的限制,对于那些坚持将它用于聊天的用户而言,这一点真令人讨厌。无论Twitter的初衷是什么(传统观点是,发明Twitter是为了让人们分享中午吃了什么,而在不久之前,人们也是这么做的),字数限制和这项服务的运作方式仍然让它成为发布标题和链接的完美途径——它也没有其他作用了。Facebook的帖子更好地给用户提供了发表思想和论据(尽管不是都能体现)的机会。即便在Twitter查看对话的功能下,用户表达观点也受到了严重的限制。这个平台本身就没有给对话提供很大的空间,因此Twitter的谈话几乎总是流于肤浅。

    这也许正是许多人喜欢在它上面交流和辩论的缘故。因为非常轻松——这个系统的特质已经赋予了你发表观点而不解释它们的借口。你是不是经常看见人们发布信息说:“好吧,这不是我140个字能够说清的,但是……”?蠢才和智者用140个字表达出的观点相对而言区别不大。想要解释自己观点的聪明人充其量也只能连发好几条信息,但这也会让他的陈述变得令人讨厌。为什么不一口气在博客或者Facebook或者Google Plus的帖子里阐明自己的观点,再在Twitter上发布相关链接呢? 

    Twitter is working to attract many more new users and keep the ones it has. To that end, the site is risking doing all it can to wreck Twitter.

    Wreck it, that is, for those of us who appreciate Twitter's unmatched utility as a constantly updated, crowdsourced flow of real-time news and information. The people who use it that way might be part of a shrinking minority, however, with more and more people using the service to yammer and argue. "Twitter fights" no doubt bring many more eyeballs to Twitter than do, say, links to stories about Syria or climate change. But for people who use Twitter as an information resource rather than as a platform for inherently inarticulate "conversation," the cacophony wastes time and ruins the experience.

    But Twitter, understandably, cares less about people who want to use its service in a more serious, grown-up way than it does about attraction and retention of users. And most people seem to prefer the yammering -- both as participants and witnesses.

    That's why Twitter has introduced features to make conversations easier to follow View feature, making the service much friendlier to people who like to watch Twitter fights (which, lets face it, is most of us at least some of the time, especially when the fights involve the famous or the Internet-famous). The conversations are now threaded, in chronological order. Previously, it was near-impossible to follow conversations because you were often unsure which tweet was a direct response to which other tweet. The conversation view solves that problem.

    It also makes Twitter a lot more like Facebook (FB), which according to Om Malik is just the latest step in the homogenization of social-media platforms. Having added photos, Vine videos, and music to its service, Twitter's conversation view is "the final step in Twitter's attempt to become like Facebook."

    And it's a lot more like a comments section. But it still has that 140-character limit, which is the very thing that, for some users anyway, makes Twitter so annoying when the accounts they follow insist on using it for conversations. Whatever the initial intention for Twitter (the cliche is that it was invented for people to announce what they had for lunch, which in the early days wasn't far off), the character limit and the way the service works makes it perfect for posting headlines and links -- and not much else. Facebook posts offer much more potential for (if not always realization of) thoughtfulness and substance. Even in conversations view, users are severely limited in the ideas they can express. It is an inherently shallow platform for conversation, so the conversations are almost invariably shallow themselves.

    That might be the very reason so many people like to talk and debate there. It's so easy to be facile -- the excuse for not explicating your ideas after having stated them is built right into the system. How often do you see people tweet something like "Well, this is more than I can say in 140 characters, but ..."? There is relatively little difference between a dumb person expressing a thought in 140 characters and a smart person doing so. Or, at best, a smarter person who wants to explicate an idea has to spread his or her thinking out across several tweets. The presentation thus becomes obnoxious. Why not express those thoughts coherently and all together on a blog or Facebook or Google Plus post, and link to that from Twitter?   

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