Noah Smith's decently thoughtful suggestions to improve Twitter would probably work pretty well. I think it sort of sucks as a user's manual though.

The problem is, as I've heard it described, Twitter is a communications platform defined by a button accompanying every sentence allowing you to take it out of context. That's the primary way to hear about something you otherwise wouldn't. And it sucks.

I use Twitter. I type in the full URL into the bar for a specific person whose thoughts I appreciate reading. It won't surprise you to learn the number of people I find this process worthwhile for is extremely limited. Some people write things, and some of those things end up on Twitter. Doesn't make the person any smarter or dumber, it's just where they chose to put their writing.

When people say Twitter is full of bad stuff, I guess I don't get it. I use Twitter most days, and haven't ever bumped into it. Of course, I don't ever tweet or have an account. I think this provides the best advice for Twitter usage, considering my astounding success. Just, log out, or delete your account. I don't understand why you'd want breaking news ever. And I can't imagine what other context would be enhanced by mixed messages from everyone you think is worth listening to. So just log out and visit a couple people, one at a time. Surely there's some service out there to just send me an email of all the new tweets from people I want to read. That'd save the effort of scrolling down until I see things I've already read.

So while Noah Smith's judgment is far better than that of Twitter's leadership, it doesn't mean you should actually use it. Not until people with accounts have (on average, I suppose) a better time using it than I do.