Storyline app: Shark Tank entrepreneur Mark Cuban wants to reinvent Twitter and give users "social media zero"

Lynsey Barber
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Mark Cuban thinks he can save Twitter (Source: Getty)

People think Twitter has a problem.

Whether it's the "sloppy" handling of chief executive Dick Costolo's exit or slowing growth in the number of users and a lack of product innovation - everyone has an opinion.

Now there's one person who's decided to put his money where his mouth is and take some action.

The US entrepreneur Mark Cuban, who also appears on the Dragon's Den-style show Shark Tank, has created a new app called Storyline, designed to offer Twitter users a new way to read Tweets.

"It's a pain in the ass in Twitter when something important to you happens and you want to know what a specific account you follow thinks about the situation," said Cuban. "Storyline lets users more easily see the updates of specific people that you want to hear from, rather than the constant stream of information from everyone that means you can miss tweets from people you want to hear from."

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The developer behind the app, Cuban's company Xpire, suggests the new way of viewing tweets can give you "social media zero", much like the trend of reaching "inbox zero" for email.

Anyone overwhelmed by the constant stream of information brought by Twitter may be happy to hear of a way of making it finite and digestible.

"Because most of us struggle to find time to stay connected all day, we have developed an entirely new viewing experience for Twitter. Storyline delivers tweets from the past 24 hours. These tweets are clustered by user, allowing you to easily swipe through all of a user’s tweets from the past day. After a tweet is viewed it is removed from Storyline and never shown again. This prevents you from viewing duplicate content and allows you to finally have a stopping point with social media - which we call reaching social media zero," said Xpire co-founder Jesse Stauffer explaining the app on Product Hunt.

For now Storyline is available on Apple devices in beta, with an Android version coming soon, along with new features.

Cuban said he designed the app "out of need".

"Twitter was becoming less and less viable because of all the noise. We learned a lot from our Cyber Dust users about how they get to information quickly. So we applied the same concepts."

"And yes its a business. There is risk, but if we can dramatically change twitter for the better, my guess is that they will recognize it's better to work with us," he added of working with a platform that it doesn't own.

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Other companies which have sprung up from Twitter have had mixed results. Twitter moved to shut down picture hosting site Twitpic last year, but bought Tweetdeck back in 2011.

In an age of information overload, there's been a move away from constant streams popularised by social media, towards a more constrained communication which limits information to make it more manageable.

Apps such as Snapchat, which limits the time you can view a message, or Periscope, now owned by Twitter which lets you view live as-it-happens broadcasts, and Summly, the news digest app created by then 17-year-old Londoner Nick D'Aloisio bought by Yahoo are just some of the successes.

And Cuban believes Storyline could be not only the app that saves you time, but the app that saves Twitter.

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