Twitter's 'Activity' Feed Is Awesome, Except for One Thing

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I was all prepared to hate Twitter's new 'Activity' feed. The last thing I want is the Facebookification of Twitter. "Can't you leave well enough alone?" I huffed under my breath. But then I tried it.

And I like it. I wouldn't say it's "high value," which is one of Anthony De Rosa's complaints over at the Guardian. But it's fun. I like scrolling through what people are doing. It's a different window onto how people use Twitter, and I think it exposes more of the value that they're putting into the network. Specifically, being able to see the favorites of my followed crowd is fun. I  also like seeing when multiple members of my community decide to follow someone that I don't know. The new Activity section helps me shape my Twitter community, which is what ultimately determines what my Twitter experience will be like.

BUT -- and this is a big but -- Twitter needs to allow people to opt out of having their activity be public. There is just no technical or usage excuse not to allow users that control. Period.


I also have one minor quibble. There is too much white space in the feed. It needs greater information density.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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