25th Jun // 2015
Twitter has been the centre of a lot of media attention of late as the company ups its search for a new CEO. Current head Dick Costolo is set to step down next week after years of stalled user growth with co-founder Jack Dorsey taking over in the short term, and the message to investors is that the hunt is running at a frantic pace to replace Costolo with someone who can commit fully to the micro blogging network.
The social network has also received further attention for a number of changes the site is set to make, with three major changes in particular gaining traction across the web. Here's a look at what they are and what they mean for marketers.
Twitter is famed for its 140 character update limit that has really characterised the platform and helped create the niche it currently dominates today as a micro-blogging, mini up thought sharing network.
But to help marketers and brands, they have relinquished their ideology when it comes to direct messaging, which currently work under the 140 character limit confines too.
The big change here is that the limit will be increased to 10,000 characters (virtually unlimited in real terms). The change will help brands in their customer outreach, especially for companies that converse with potential and existing clients via the medium.
It's also a chance for Twitter to slightly mirror Facebook's integrated messaging service, although it is unlikely that users will flock to Twitter DM's for in-depth conversations with mates and colleagues with Facebook Messenger and other apps such as WhatsApp available.
This change is a slightly hotter topic that has derived much debate. Twitter plans to follow in Facebook's footsteps by allowing media to autoplay in the newsfeed. This means that when you're scrolling past a video or GIF, the media will begin playing automatically.
This can annoy many users for two reasons. Firstly, media can use up a lot of mobile data – a big issue for Twitter as the majority of its users are mobile first users. Second though is that it's highly annoying for videos to be playing (potentially with sound).
Why are they doing it? Well it's a great way for brands to get their multimedia noticed, and Twitter is upping its offing to businesses advertising on the network. It will also help media owners increases the view stats of their media, something that Facebook has cited as a major improvement on their network with an added one billion video hits recorded.
Hopefully Twitter will allow users to switch-off auto play media if desired though.
Again another push for Twitter to engage with and entice paid brand marketing, the social network will introduce shopping collections to coincide with the other recent development of the buy now functionality on the network.
Twitter is making strides to become a truly valuable asset to businesses and take on other e-commerce players, in particular Facebook where some brands can see the entirety of their online revenues made.
There has been a lot of chatter and much pondering as to where Twitter is headed. Some say its now a dying platform with such limited functionality and uninspiring userface that many of the Twittersphere are reverting back to the likes of Facebook and turning to Pinterest and Instagram instead.
Added functionality, or enhancing tweaks to current aspects of the network, could certainly help entice back past users or those losing faith in what is still one of the top 5 biggest social networks on the planet.