Love it or hate it, we’re entering a new decade where social media is King, and a major player in this new digital landscape is one of the granddaddies of social media itself: Twitter. It’s no exaggeration to say that Twitter has been a key influencer in the entire 2010s, becoming instrumental in not just connecting you to your grandma on the East coast, but also as a democratized version of the news, not to mention an effective trendsetter.
Beyond that, Twitter has made (and even broken) celebrities, politicians, toppled governments and was even used to win elections. It’s become one of the most important, not to mention influential, pieces of technology to ever come out in the new millennium.
That being said, it’s also an imperfect piece of tech: since its launch in 2006, Twitter has run into more technical issues than any other social media service. Sure, Twitter does its best to make it as seamless as possible, but the fact that we all know (and love begrudgingly) FailWhale means that, despite best efforts, we still see the cracks.
Beyond that, there are certain issues that arise with the use of Twitter that just simply come from human error, whether it’s maliciously trying to play with Twitter’s algorithm or if its’s simply churning out pretty crappy tweets in general (I don’t need to know how many yogurt cups you pounded this morning, Karen).
In this article, we take a quick look at certain issues, technical or otherwise, and how you can fix them in the most efficient way possible:
Common Technical Twitter Issues
No one likes it when Twitter breaks down, but the issues make sense, though: despite Twitter’s simple user interface and streamlined user experience, it actually uses a very complex algorithm that, unfortunately, breaks down from time to time. Here are some of the most common issues Twitter users encounter:
Unable to log in to Twitter Because of “Unsupported Phone Number”
Twitter users usually encounter an Unsupported Phone Number issue when they try to sign up for a Twitter account using a mobile or landline number that, for one reason or another, is preventing messages from Twitter.
This is important because any new account must be verified by SMS as part of Twitter’s two-step security factor. Basically, it’s Twitter’s way of making sure you’re not some kind of bot or something. To get around this, you could use a Google Voice number (or your choice of VOIP) and enable SMS messaging in the settings. Or, you know, just create an account without a phone number. It’s easier, but you might have trouble getting “verified” status in the future.
Unable to Follow People on Twitter
Generally, encountering an Unable to Follow issue on Twitter can mean one of 2 things: you’re either trying to follow someone with protected Tweets, which means they’ll have to manually approve you before you can see their feed, or you’ve hit your Follow limit.
Each user is only allowed to follow 400 accounts a day. Any more than that and Twitter automatically bans you from following new people. This allows Twitter to minimize the risk of spamming and to provide a layer of quality control for its users.
Some of My Tweets are Missing
Unless you request a complete copy of your entire Twitter history, you won’t be able to view all your tweets since your Day One. In general, Twitter will show you a truncated version of your timeline, showing only the last 3,200 tweets you made.
Tweets that are more than a week old may also fail to appear on your Twitter feed due to indexing capacity restrictions. But take note, however, that old tweets aren’t lost forever, they just won’t be displayed normally.
I’m Seeing Some Offensive Stuff on My Feed
Twitter has been a source of news, information, funny memes, and inspirational videos since its launch. Unfortunately, a lot of jerks online have started using Twitter to spread some nasty stuff that, naturally, is offensive to most people.
Generally, Twitter crawls through its database to search and destroy offensive tweets, but with more than 330 million active monthly users tweeting an average of 6,000 tweets a second, a few offensive materials can get through the cracks.
Report offensive content as soon as you see it; Twitter receives these reports and reviews them regularly to ensure a feed that is safe for pretty much everyone.
Common Mistakes People Make on Twitter
Of course, not all the problems on Twitter are machine-made; more often than not, it’s the active users who actively make Twitter a little less fun as time goes on. From spamming and automation, to just really annoying tweets, here are some things you can do to make your Twitter experience (as well as the experience of your followers) so much more enjoyable:
Stop Automating Your Tweets
In the age of social media, people prefer content that is not only relevant but also sincere. Automated tweets, or tweets that are just for the sake of staying on top of people’s feed, are simply annoying. No one wants to see yet another tweet from you about your product/company/endorsement if it has zero bearings on their day.
But coming up with unique tweets every single time is, understandably, difficult. However, it’s what’s necessary to make sure people continue to appreciate your presence on their feed.
Actively Share Other People’s Tweets
Twitter calls itself a “social broadcasting network”, which means that it’s all about sharing things for the community. Sure, you might think you’re the most interesting person on earth, and your followers are following you for a reason. But still, try to expand your network a bit more and retweet other people’s content from time to time.
Retweeting and resharing other people’s content is not just about creating clout for yourself, it’s also helpful in ensuring that the Twitterverse’s eco-system of tweets is continuously refreshed and changing. This is how Twitter became such a trend-setter in the first place: actively engaging the community to share, then reshare, each other’s interesting content.
You’re opinionated, we get it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t edit your tweets before sending them out. That’s how politicians and actors get #cancelledt, you know. Take a few seconds to review your tweets, this might just save you a lot of grief should you say something controversial.