Twitter is one of the most widely used social media platforms and like all online apps or tools, is constantly evolving to keep up with the fast pace of change. They have made a number of small and big changes in the last six months or so, to drive user engagement and improve the overall experience, so here’s a summary of the top 5 features:
- Getting round the 140-character count
While some see the character limit as the fastest way to communicate and an essential part of Twitter’s identity, others argue that removing the 140-character cap would open it up for a new range of content. Media links on your tweet can take up around 16% of your character allotment, though tweets with images get a lot more retweets and click throughs. Twitter announced that media attachments to tweets (images, polls, videos) would no longer form part of your 140-character count. This also applies to the @handle when replying to a tweet.
- Connect tab
In order to really reap the value of Twitter, users need to follow a lot of users, but since some find it difficult to identify who to follow, Twitter has now released a Connect tab, which allows you to scan your contacts for people to follow. It also comes with custom recommendations based on your activity, location, existing follower profile and interests. By increasing the user base, Twitter hopes to increase the activity on timelines.
- ‘Go Live” for Periscope
Starting with Android phones, Twitter have added a “Go Live” button, which allows users to connect to Periscope while composing a tweet and broadcast directly through Twitter. Using live streaming to compile and publish longer thoughts and responses will reduce the need for complicated Twitter Q&A, while reducing the clutter on Twitter feeds. Focusing on the “live” aspect of Twitter, live video format will bring more engagement and a more compelling format to breaking news and every day topics alike.
- GIF search feature
In 2015, over 100 million GIFs were shared on Twitter, which is fairly impressive considering how long it took to load one. Now with Twitter’s new GIF search feature, searching for images is a quick and painless process – no more laborious hunts on search engines, saving images, returning to Twitter, composing a tweet, uploading your image. GIFs are set to become a whole lot more popular.
- Uncropped photos
While Twitter started as a text-based platform, it soon realised the power that images have, leading to some of its top engagement. To embrace this, Twitter have adjusted their image size requirements, allowing for more visually engaging images that are not cropped to death. They have also introduced a new view for multi-photo displays, which is great for collages.
In addition to these new great features, Twitter have also responded to the complaints about harassment on the network. Threatening tweets have been allowed to spread, causing people to delete their accounts. Twitter have formed a clearer definition of abusive behaviour in their terms of service, as well as increasing their functionality for blocking, muting and reporting abuse.
Unlike most businesses who merely try to keep up with their competitors’ development, these improvements have been largely aimed at improving the user experience. Are you using Twitter to keep abreast of news, developments and ideas for your business? For more on social media and digital marketing, contact us today.