Twitter’s best kept secret was first developed in 2014 to discover a smarter way to surface the most interesting tweets because there wasn’t a way of doing that.
Which is ridiculous.
I was a personal fan of Lissted’s Tweets Distilled idea when it launched and a beta volunteer user in 2015. In 2017, it is still the simplest way to make your Twitter feed awesome. I’ve used dozens of free and premium tools, and there is nothing like it. Distilled works smoothly using Twitter’s retweet. There’s no manual human intervention, the selection is automated based on API, and it works if you’re a new or power user.
In short, it’s a better way to see the best tweets and a salve for the chaos of the feed, a primary challenge Twitter faces to keep users interested in its eccentric flow of content.
If Distilled isn’t the answer to Twitter’s new and active user growth problem, I don’t know what is.
“It’s a journalist’s secret weapon, and I suspect they’d like to keep it that way,” Lissted founder Adam Parker told me last week, after I heard the bad news. He’s right. I’ve used Distilled feeds to source out dozens of stories, and rarely did I ever discuss I was using it with colleagues because it’s that good.
There’s no downside for Twitter to making sure Distilled has the funding to continue. Users still see sponsored posts in Distilled feeds, so it’s not like Twitter is losing a dime (unlike other tools). If it wanted to, Twitter could integrate Distilled into existing products: everything from While You Were Away, Highlights, Moments, and new user feeds would be magically populated simply by keeping Distilled alive.
Now that you know why I love Distilled so much, here’s what will happen if Twitter doesn’t save it.
Twitter is extremely public yet at the same time it creates a sense of privacy. There’s a multitude of small, tightknit communities on the platform. Most people don’t want to be followed by thousands of strangers or follow thousands of people. It would be a maddening experience, and indeed it is. There’s a massive amount of content which is genuinely tailored to Twitter, and only works on Twitter, and combined with the influential users on Twitter. Consider accounts like Saved You a Click, Dog Rates, Trump Draws, or all the hundreds of others which are unverified and start within a small community.
Twitter has a discovery problem, and as long as it doesn’t take advantage of making sure free solutions exist for everyday users, there’s little hope the platform will ever attract or keep users in an ever-maddening environment currently battling Wall Street doubts and the rise of hate-filled bots and harassment on the platform. This is a no-brainer.
The smartest way to curate Twitter will die on Valentine’s Day, and it will break my heart if Twitter doesn’t save the best, free tool ever made for it.