Launching Top 8
I've been a fan of Twitter for some time, yes it has its problems like all platforms, but overall in my life at least it's had a massive positive impact. I'd guess that's true for a lot of people.
Last weekend I had an idea, and decided to build and launch it on the Thanksgiving holiday.
Top 8 is a revival of the Myspace Top 8 feature. If you didn't use Myspace, they used to have a feature where you could designate 8 users to be displayed at the top your following list, to showcase your favorite (in their case musicians).
Now that we follow hundreds of people on Twitter, I thought a similar feature would be useful, who are the top 8 that you would recommend in a heartbeat. Coming up with my list was much harder than I thought, not coming up with 8, but reducing the list down to 8!
Twitter is crazy
Yep, twitter is crazy right now. The acquisition by Elon Musk and the changes he's making have created a lot of uncertainty. Many users, have or are threatening to leave. Rather than putting me off building my idea, it gave me a greater sense of urgency.
What if the Twitter we loved is gone. Now would be a great time to spread a little love, give thanks to the people we've loved to follow and interact with.
Normally I wouldn't have launched a project on a national holiday, but this one seemed to align with the goals of the project.
What's in the MVP
As always, trying to keep things simple here.
Twitter users joins
Is able to add 8 other accounts to their list
Is able to resort the list
List is viewable by visitors
List is easy to share on Twitter
My biggest concern with building anything on Twitter is access to the Twitter API.
Luckily before the Elon take over, Twitter has started to make it much easier to setup an application and get access to API keys with good rate limits.
Since I'm not building a big application that will require a large time or monetary investment, the threat of API keys being shut off wasn't a huge concern.
Since I wanted to building things very quickly, I decided to stick with what I know:
Laravel PHP - My go to framework for all things web! Can't go wrong here.
Tailwind - Made use of some off the shelf Tailwind UI components, and some custom work to make something that looks pretty slick!
AlpineJS & Laravel Livewire - For some of the interactivity, user search autocomplete, drag and drop sorting I decided to go lightweight, but very happy with how things turned out.
DigitalOcean - Applications need to be hosted somewhere, and my go to option is Digital Ocean. With Laravel Forge, it takes just a few minutes and a few clicks to get your application hosted.
Cloudflare - I decided to have Cloudflare in front of the application to help with any potential traffic spikes. Also got free web analytics and their DNS updates are unbelievably fast if the need arises.
I went from Idea to launch in about 5 days, working mostly evenings.
Since it is a holiday the launch is pretty low key, mostly sharing with my Twitter feed and posting to Product Hunt.
At the time of writing top 8 has had just over 400 visits, about 30 people have created their top 8 list.
I'll start doing more promotions next week, when everyone is back online. Yes the Twitter audience is global, but still a very large segment is in the US.
I do have some ideas for additional features, but will see based on the response, if I dedicate more time to the project.