February 17, 2016 By Adam Sopko, Director
Twitter, the social network that prides itself on giving users real-time trends and conversations from around the corner and across the globe, recently made a number of significant announcements. The first was their earnings, which – most notably – reported zero growth in total user count. The little blue bird quotes a total user base of 305 million users – which is about a third of the platform’s rival, Facebook. It would appear that the network’s release of the much anticipated Moments (Project Lightening) has yet to bring the spark that most analysts and Twitter execs, alike, felt that it would. The feature – released in early October 2015 – is Twitter’s attempt at curating and filtering the top trends and stories that are being talked about on the platform at the moment. Moments editors weave tweets, videos, images and links together to craft a story for users to follow and experience on via a dedicated Moments tab. However, the design and flow of the tab was in stark contrast to the Twitter Stream that users had grown accustomed to, making adoption slow and ultimately leading to a complete redesign. The Moments product serves as the first significant step towards, what CEO Jack Dorsey considers, Twitter’s future – being focused on “experiences which will have the greatest impact”.
The next step in bringing a more engaging and impactful UX to its user base was announced last week – an algorithmically organized Twitter feed that users can opt in to for access. This move is to help new users from feeling overwhelmed by the deluge of chronological conversation that can sometimes feel like a lot of noise to filter through. This change is intended to help both the novice tweeter and power user alike to find tweets and content that they will most likely care about. This change will build on the “While you were away…” function (introduced in January of last year) that currently helps users get caught up on tweets that they missed since they last logged in. The next change that was announced was to the platform’s @reply and .@user structure. Similar to the algorithm change, this restructuring of the @reply and .@user system is intended to help make Twitter easier to use and – specifically – more conducive to conversation by eliminating the Twitter canoe problem. this would mean that users would always have the full 140 characters when responding to another user, regardless of the number of handles included in the reply.
For the average user, these changes are meant to help you – encourage more use of the platform, make it easier to converse with other users and simply make Twitter better. For the brands, the adoption of an algorithm still places an emphasis on good content that is receiving organic engagement, helping to keep the platform away from being strictly a “pay-to-play” opportunity. If anything, these changes are creating the opportunity of increased organic visibility for ‘great’ content. So for brands, this means that continuing to pursue both an organic reach strategy and paid campaigns, with a strong emphasis on producing smart, interesting content will result in the most greatest reach and visibility.
Let us know what you think about these changes via @FTI_SC.
Illustration by Charlie Tebeau, Senior Consultant, Digital & Creative Communications