The Other Bird Twitter Needs

I still owe Marshall a post on how I use LittleBird, but an article popped in my newsfeed this morning that seems a bit more urgent.

Twitter was all over the tech news yesterday with people reporting and analyzing yet another management shakeup. I’ve been in big companies. News? Eh, not so much. Yet, under the cover of the coverage (see what I did there?) was legitimate conjecture on why the company’s leadership has not been able to hit the user growth targets it has set. One of the reasons, as Owen Williams points out is that the onboarding process for new users is, well, not so good a lot.

It feels like a missed opportunity to showcase other users that are active and having conversations with their followers, rather than famous people. The value in Twitter is not observing and it’s clear that this feature misses the point.

Bingo. While I follow a few celebrities, the real value of Twitter is engaging with people who know more than me on topics I care about. Which is something Twitter can’t recommend in its current onboarding process. It just doesn’t have that data or ability to know its new users beyond their address books. It’s a missed opportunity because there is a way to make the onboarding process better and much more relevant.

Imagine if, upon signing up for Twitter, you were asked “What are some topics you’re interested in?” And then, rather than spit back a suggested list of popular people to follow, it instead pre-populated a topical list of the most influential people on that topic? Helpful and relevant, no? That’s what LittleBird does. As Marshall says, it “focuses on relevant connections inside a community, not just the content people post and popularity they can fake.” I use it frequently (maybe too frequently) to discover who I should be listening to.

If I were running the onboarding process for Twitter (or whoever is running it after this last shakeup), I’d look at finding a way to integrate LittleBird. While it wouldn’t fix all the onboarding problems (number of steps, etc.), it would make Twitter instantly more relevant to every new user.

One response to “The Other Bird Twitter Needs”

  1. Thanks so much for the kind and smart words Mike! I agree with you. Things are only going to get better over here, too. We’re making some big hires that are going to make capturing the value of our platform even faster and easier.

    Beyond that initial discovery, we’ve now got some of the biggest companies in the world using Little Bird as an early-warning and intelligence gathering platform about markets they’re entering.

    Our contention is that by leveraging machine analysis of the graph of connections people have formed inside relevant communities – we can serve opportunities for smart, humble humans (like you Mike, and handsome too) to do what humans do best: not hunt around through links and web pages but be human, connect and take action.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: