The Needs of the Many & Being Talked About

Background Story

Recently, Twitter, the micro-blogging (I hate that word) entity has come under some heavy fire from its user community.  In fact, they caved to the complaints of their users.  Then they undid what they did.  All within the span of a couple of hours.

If other companies did this, what do you think would happen to the whole update chain?  Now, twitter is a web-based application/site, so they do have the ability to change, and change quickly.  However, if they don’t remain stable in their feature set.  I can’t see them staying as popular as they are.  Should a company bow to the requests of their users?  There are two sides to this argument.

Design by the Unwashed Masses

If one insists on changing, adding, deleting features based on each and every user feedback, then the product itself becomes, inherently unstable.  Not everyone can be happy and that’s just life.  However, if enough common feedback is received, then it might bear looking into the request and implementing it.  To quote a famous guy who isn’t from around here:

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” – Mr. Spock

Be that as it may, the fact that a company can implement changes quickly isn’t a license to do so.  In the case of Twitter, they seemed to have jumped the gun by removing a feature, putting it back, and then taking it away again.  Hello?  Software testing anyone?

Our Way or the Highway

Having a “take it or leave it” attitude has its advantages as well.  Take Apple.  They change their products every so often.  They don’t make excuses.  They often abandon those who don’t upgrade.  They’re still making money.  Hmm….  Why is that?  Apple knows best?  Not really.  Apple DOES solicit feedback on their products and services.  They don’t, however, jump on every suggestion that comes along.  They determine if the suggestion(s), not counting bug notices, fits into their vision of the product and weigh it against consumer demand and their own business model.  Remember Apple has stockholders, and, oh yeah, they make money.  Take the whole Cut/Paste issue with the iPhone.  Right out of the gate, people were clamoring for this seemingly “simple” addition.  Did iPhone sales drop?  Nope.  Now, after two iterations of the iPhone O/S, Apple is going to include Cut/Paste in Version 3.0.  That’s two YEARS after people started complaining about it, or lack there of.

Which Way to go?

So, which way is better?  

  1. Jump and run about to make everyone happy?  
  2. Take the time to do the research, implement whatever you do well, and put out quality?

I personally would have to go with #2.  It just puts out a better image of the company.  But that’s not the real thing that strikes me out of this whole thing.  The fact remains that whatever bad press Twitter gets from this latest fumble won’t really harm them.


“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” – Oscar Wilde
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One Comment on “The Needs of the Many & Being Talked About”

  1. Michelle Says:

    I just haven’t been able to get into the whole Twitter thing. FB – not an issue for me, it seams easier. Although I think they have made some terrible changes I keep going back… why is that?!!!

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