A most frequent challenge launched at Twitter’s upper management is that those in the boardroom fundamentally misunderstand the platform, what the platform does best, and the myriad ways it fails its users on a daily basis. This can best be expressed in the approach the firm and its controversial CEO Jack Dorsey take in attempting to fix issues as they arise—be it white nationalists using the platform to organize or inconsistent enforcement policies around hate speech and harassment.
Dorsey is known to promise fitfully in press interviews and on his personal account to work harder on solving Twitter’s biggest problems, only for those so-called solutions to prove themselves benign and frustratingly superficial interface tweaks. So far, the company seems to be relying on Band-Aids to help heal bullet wounds.
Another part of the problem, however, is communication
Twitter has proven inept at understanding what’s wrong, and how to fix it because the technology giant tends to employ people who either do not use the platform or don’t properly understand how to communicate publicly to the people who do.
Twitter’s Head of Product—renowned for being a job that no one can keep for more than a year—has yet to be filled by someone with a strong vision for the future of the platform and a roadmap for how Twitter should arrive there.
This might be why Twitter is now calling for applicants to apply to become the company’s “Tweeter in Chief.” The company’s new job posting, a listing which went live this week, describes the position as one where you’ll “set the tone of who we are and how we act, and talk to people on Twitter,” using the handle @Twitter.
The company says it wants someone that is “extremely plugged into Twitter culture, stan culture, and culture in general,” as well as someone “obsessed with building communities and how content travels on the platform.”
The move is a smart one as far as engagement goes
A basic Twitter product update post from @Twitter gets a few thousand likes and far fewer retweets. That’s simply not a good look for an account with 56 million followers. Still, social media trends prove the level of popularity @Twitter stands to accumulate by being a more personable brand.
Indeed, Twitter certainly has fundamental issues it needs to work out regarding how it handles speech, who it permits on the platform, and what design changes might lead to healthier conversations. Still, it almost certainly won’t hurt to hire someone who’s more steeped in online culture to take over its primary communication channel.
Amassing likes and retweets for a timely meme won’t do much to fix any of the platform’s systemic issues, or create a more productive two-way street between Twitter and its user base. Let’s just hope it’s not another Band-Aid, and that whoever takes on the role is able to better communicate why the company makes particular decisions and how it plans to improve in the future.