On April Fools’ Day earlier this year Twitter’s Evan Williams tweeted: “There is no Twitter Pro.” That might have been true then, as it is now, but do you seriously think that this won’t happen at some point in the future?
For me, the question is simply about when Twitter will launch ‘Pro’, and what kind of features and tools we can expect to see, in return for a fee.
I don’t think for one minute that the firm will suddenly turn around and tell all businesses that they have to pay, but rather that they can upgrade to a better service if they choose to do so. The 37signals model is perhaps the most likely charging scenario, where you have a range of price plans to sign up to.
So what kind of tools and features might convince a business to upgrade to Twitter Pro? Here’s a braindump of the things I’d like to see, and in no particular order…
1. Measurement Tools. This is one thing that we’d love to be able to access. Bit.ly is handy, but integrated tools – with visualisation – would be a big improvement. What to measure? Unique users. Time of day. Browse to follow rates. Retweets. Mentions. Followers / time. Tweet to follower referrals. Etc.
2. Management Tools. Better ways of managing followers, tweets, timings, feeds, related accounts, contributors, spam, etc.
3. Communication Tools. Better integration with email is one good idea that has been lobbied for by the likes of Stowe Boyd and Robert Scoble. For larger organisations this kind of thing is going to be invaluable.
4. Interface Options. Some new options for the customisation of the Twitter layout for logged-in users would be an improvement. Again, third party apps are useful, but an online management console for Twitter is going to be important for businesses that assign multiple staff to account management. What Twitter needs is a collaborative online working environment for Twitter Pro users.
5. Labelling. I’m a big fan of tagging but I hope that Twitter will roll out tagging across the board. Regardless as to whether it does or not, it could be useful to have some preset labelling options for tweets (in the same way that you do with email). For multiple Twitter Pro users this would help with workflow. I’m thinking about customer services / prioritisation / reputation management. You could also apply labels to users, to form groups…
6. Groups. You can use third party apps like Tweetdeck to create groups, but there’s nothing to stop Twitter rolling out something similar. Groups could range from staff, to influencers / VIPs, to complainers, to journalists… depending on what you use Twitter for.
7. Privacy. Yammer created a private version of Twitter for business (it won the Techcrunch 50). The problem for me is that I already use Twitter, and so do my colleagues, and we didn’t manage to get into the habit of using Yammer. It would be much easier to use Twitter Pro in this way.
8. Customisation. Advanced theme customisation would be a great thing. Your Twitter homepage is important, especially for first time visitors, who check you out with a view to following. I know many people use third party Twitter apps to coordinate their activity, but my own Tweetdeck settings open up new web pages when I click on profile names (to minimise API calls, but also because I prefer doing it this way).
9. API Extras. Speaking of the API, it would be good to have a higher limit, for Twitter Pro accounts.
10. Verified Status. Yes, we are who we say we are!
11. Uptime. Paid accounts should be guaranteed better uptime levels, via priority status and a separate server cluster.
12. Filtering. I’d like to be able to filter tweets, retweets, and individuals, in any number of ways. In future I think we may see a Facebook-style feature that allows you to turn down the noise levels emitted by certain people. Right now the only way of doing this is to hit ‘unfollow’.
13. Directory Listings. I feel that Twitter could improve findability by launching better directories. I know that there are third party directories but sites like WeFollow can be hugely improved upon.
14. DoFollow. Any chance of removing NoFollow on our links / pages? We are not spammers.
15. Improved Search. Presumably this is something that Twitter is working on, if you believe that it is moving into search. But I’d love to be able to search tweets on Twitter that are more than a few weeks old. Right now I need to use Google to do this. Twitter needs to open up the archives.
What did I miss? What would you like to see, and what would you pay for? Let me know by leaving a comment below…
[Image by the lovely CarrotCreative on Flickr, various rights reserved]