Should Twitter have a friends and family option for tweet distribution?

Aside from the removal of misinformation, such as anything that Donald Trump might have to say or anything regarding Hunter Biden and how he earns enough to pay off a $2.5 million child support plaintiff, it strikes me that the main advantage of Facebook over Twitter is that one can have two classes of post: public and friends/family. One can write about how great Dr. Biden’s husband and Dr. Fauci are for public consumption and the next post can be some kid pictures that would be of interest only to friends/family (and/or that the author might want to keep slightly private).

What if Twitter had a “friends” connection option between accounts, similar to Facebook’s, rather than only “follow”? Would that help Twitter gain market share against Facebook? Currently, Twitter has a “protected” option in which tweets are shared only with followers, but most or all of those followers might not be friends/family.

9 thoughts on “Should Twitter have a friends and family option for tweet distribution?

  1. Yes. Twitter can and should do both: it can be a public square with a semi-private space as well, just as real human conversation is. You can walk into the Plaza Mayor in Madrid (,_Madrid ) for instance, and talk and interact with total strangers, wear colorful clothes and carry signs. Then you can gather with your friends and have a private conversation as well.

    That’s much more like the way real people conduct their own discourses and frankly I’m surprised Twitter doesn’t already have it (you can tell how much I have Tweeted since it started.)

    So Yes and Yes, it should hack away at Facebook and allow people to talk the way they really do.

  2. So you’re saying the blog commenter army isn’t friends & family. Alphabet corporation has reasoned through much academic style research that the unlisted setting is enough for gootube.

    • @lion: They know everything anyway. Anyone who types anything online into ANY platform by ANY company should assume the NSC knows what they typed. This is just a convenience feature. There is no privacy, and you can take that to the bank.

    • @lion: The only thing that is ever decided is: “Who are the current Thought Criminals and who are the future Thought Criminals?” but you can rest assured that eventually everyone is going to be a criminal if they become too bothersome to the criminals who are Running The Show.

    • “They know everything anyway” That’s a faulty assumption. It is not that easy to build relationship network with high level of precision. Social networks suck at this and like to be told specifically about relationship categorization.
      If it were easy who would need procrustean bed of relational (and other formal) database designs?

    • @LSI: I admit, I haven’t been exposed and briefed on the cutting edges of data mining that Google, FB, et. al., are conducting within their vast interior spaces. But something like 10 years ago I watched Sergey Brin talking about the research being done with Generative Adversarial Networks and he feigned surprise (I’m paraphrasing): “The [chief engineer guy] came into my office and said: “The system just drew a picture of a chicken!”

      It took him a while to grasp the magnitude of that accomplishment. By this time, I’m sure Google’s AI can draw a picture of a chicken and arrive at a detailed accounting of exactly who in the world (who uses a computer, at least) ate chicken, raises chicken, sells chicken, slaughters chickens, writes recipes for cooking chicken, eats chicken feet, and can dance like a chicken with its head cut off, and draw a pretty good picture of them and localize where they last did any of those things.

      Google/Alphabet is an enormous companys with hundreds and thousands of the smartest people on the planet working for them. And I know, just from doing my lowly business pushing snail mail through the creaky US Postal Service that I can buy lists that do amazingly fine-grained demographic targeting. I’m betting that Google knows more by a few orders of magnitude.

      A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I had a conversation with a law professor who was angry and upset over the fact that websites were storing information on client computers using these new things called “cookies.” At the time, I was building a website for the law school, and it was necessary for IIS / Active Server Pages to deposit cookies to maintain state. I said: “Well, I have to use them to maintain state on this section of the website. But I don’t write or store anything sensitive.”

      That was more than 20 years ago. I’m betting they’re much, much MUCH more sophisticated now.

    • By the way, speaking of the creaky US Postal Service, the Intelligent Barcode that is on every piece of mail in the United States contains a pretty good amount of information all by itself – and every single piece of mail that goes through a sorter is scanned and the addresses are also OCRed. In fact mailers have access to the delivery point data and know when their mail has been processed down to the individual piece level.

      If the US Postal Service can scan and track every single piece of mail in this country, Alphabet can probably guess the last time I had a bowel movement.

    • Alex, I am too ticked off by total abolition of privacy in anything related to computing or electric appliance. Forget cookies, your laptop processor id is readable remotely for those who care to get it. And I am sure that your electric utility can reasonably well establish time of your usage of bathroom. But it can not know for sure. And chicken seems to be an easy problem. Based on Facebook suggestions Meta is terrible at figuring anything from relationship + usage + message text data. Production systems that I am aware it have about 60% efficiency recognizing formal business messages. Google, Facebook and Amazon revenue and profit misses after they had to stop sharing user data for advertising purposes shows that they are not better or worse then any large official/semi-official monopoly or oligopoly on burning through resources even if they are supposedly staffed with woke “selfless” bright lights. This time it is different, yeah…

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