I started using Twitter a couple months ago. As my numbers of tweets and followers/followees indicate, I’m not using it heavily — I mostly just post announcements on new project releases, blog posts, and my miserable attempts at improving my running performance. Still, I’ve had enough experiences with Twitter to come across a couple irritating problems. Here’s my rant.
First, one day about half of my tweets went missing — they simply disappeared from my timeline. I looked around for an explanation of this problem and found a page at Twitter’s Help Center which convinced me that it was some general issue and a fix was on the way. In the next couple of days the lost tweets came back and everything looked fine.
This mysterious vanishing of tweets happened again a few weeks ago. Additionally, sometimes my timeline displayed the same tweets repeated two or three times (maybe Twitter did this to compensate for the lost ones, I don’t know). This time the situation didn’t get back to normal in the following days, and I decided to report this to Twitter support. On the aforementioned page, the support asked that those suffering from the missing tweets problem leave their details in the comments. So I tried posting a comment — I explained my case, and clicked “Post”. Bzzzt –
Apparently, comments weren’t working anymore. So I sent a direct message to @Support, describing my problem (briefly enough to fit in the 140 characters limit). Two weeks passed, no response. I sent another one, still no reply. At this moment, all my tweets from before July are still missing.
Another story. I like reading the technical articles at IBM’s developerWorks, and I found it convenient to follow their Twitter stream and receive brief announcements of new topics. While on my vacation last week, I read a few interesting articles on Android development, and I wanted to read them again now, on my home computer. But, @developerworks posts as many as 20 tweets every day, so last week’s updates were buried deep in the timeline, requiring me to repeatedly click the “More” button and skim through all the tweets to get to the interesting ones.
I hoped the Twitter search feature might allow searching in just my home timeline (the tweets of people that I follow, plus my own), but no, it can only search the whole world. Then I came across search.twitter.com, and I thought that was it — the advanced search options allowed me to limit the search to one Twitter account. I entered “developerworks” and “android” as the search term, and clicked “Search”. Bzzzt — “No results for android from:developerworks”. Weird. I tried another term – “java”, and some results did come up, so the search engine was working. I thought that maybe it only searched the most recent tweets by default, so I went back to the form and set the time range. Clicked “Search”. Bzzzt –
After making sure that it was the time range setting that broke the search, I gave up. I went to developerWorks website, entered “android” in their search, and immediately got the articles I was looking for. I guess I should have done that in the first place instead of expecting Twitter to assist me in getting to week-old tweets easily.
I know these issues are just the tip of the iceberg, and many Twitter users have numerous more serious problems. Twitter, you could at least put a big “Beta” (or, even better, “Alpha”) tag on all your pages, so that people know not to expect that the features you offer actually work. Then maybe start fixing things.
By the way, to be sure I’m using the term “timeline” correctly in this post, I checked the Twitter Glossary and clicked the “Find out more about your timeline” link. The result?