This is a somewhat off topic post about Twitter. Twitter is where the InfoSec community currently “lives”. If you’re trying to get into this field then one of the first easy things you can do is get a Twitter account and start following the researchers that interest you. However, there are some things about the native Twitter experience that bother me. This post is inspired by the new timeline features Twitter wants to implement where the timeline can be organized by relevancy rather than when it was posted. Ignoring the fact that a timeline is not a timeline when it’s out of order this change destroys the ability to follow topics in real-time – one of Twitter’s most powerful features in my opinion.
With that being said, here are some Twitter features I actually want:
- More granular control of my timeline. I would like to be able to display tweets within certain time-frames and by topic, and I would like to be able to set pre-sets. For example, I want all the tweets regarding CVE-2016-xxxx posted in the last 3 hours. Give me a drop down that lets me configure and control that.
- Suppress tweet types. Some people I follow are compulsive retweeters. It’s annoying because they fill up my timeline with so much noise that it’s hard to find the signal. In contrast, their “original” tweets may be gold so I don’t want to unfollow them completely. I just want to suppress all the retweeting. Similarly, would it not be nice to suppress tweets by subject? I can think of some political rants and arguments that I’d like to remove from my timeline.
- Silence accounts according to time of day and type. In the morning I really like to see all my news feeds from major new outlets, but after about 8am I only want breaking news and most of my timeline dedicated to InfoSec news. Instead the tweets from people I want to see get buried under the mountain of tweets by major sites trying to improve their ad revenue.
- Rating users by signal-to-noise. It would be great to be able to rate users based on their tweets. Not for public consumption, but rather to allow for filtering. Then twitter could help apply content algorithms based on how you’ve rated followers. Users that you consistently down-vote (pick your rating system), you could choose to suppress based on tweet type (see Item 1).
I might add to this list as ideas pop up, but I see so many ways Twitter can improve the user experience, but making the timeline out of order is not one of them. As a side note I would think improving user interaction would actually benefit Twitter in terms of targeted ads. This might bother some people, but not me; I’m not delusional enough to think that major websites give out these services for free.