Where to start with Twitter. Loved by some, hated and neglected by many. Regardless of our feelings, there’s been plenty of issues with the company’s internal workings. Jack Dorsey was named the new CEO in September. Its stock is waaaay down, currently valued at less than $20 per share. There’s been a looming buzz in the marketing world about the potential demise of Twitter. Thankfully, it seems as though Twitter is making innovative changes to its platform.
What are the latest changes Twitter is (or plans on) rolling out?
140 sweet, beautiful characters. Twitter’s limited character count has forced users to be creative with their messaging. On the other hand, it has scared off many users who don’t like the brevity of posts, or just don’t understand how to use the platform.
Not only could raising the character limit make it more popular with a new audience, but it could also enhance customer service and community management features for marketers. Consumers expect their questions answered in a timely fashion, and with the current set up, a customer complaint would look something like this:
Customer: “My flight has been delayed three times and I need to get home NOW.”
Company: “We’re sorry about the delay, Customer. Please call 555-555-5555 to speak to a customer service representative that will further assist you with your issue.” (Put a strikethrough through the last few characters because the full sentence wouldn’t even fit in a tweet)
Customer: *Calls number, gets transferred three times, gets put on hold for an hour as blood pressure and anger levels shoot through the roof.*
Ten thousand characters would allow for a more pleasurable customer service experience on both ends. Community managers or customer service reps could offer detailed responses rather than the templated responses that run rampant on social today. Problems could get resolved without the phone call that turns into a huge time suck. We’re all busy and have shit to do. Can you afford to take an extra hour or two out of your day to resolve a customer service issue?
This update would also drastically increase user searchability. More characters means more searchable content. Tweeters can utilize the expanded search features to easily browse through content and find what they’re looking for.
Contrary to what most people believe, an increased character count wouldn’t really change the functionality of Twitter. Only 140 characters would appear in the feed regardless of how many characters are allowed or used. You would have to click “expand” to see the extra content, similar to viewing media on a desktop.
Twitter purchased Periscope back in March before the app went live. Before this week, Periscope users had to use the application to view scopes. Now they can be watched right in your Twitter feed.
This new feature makes sense for a few reasons. Twitter users who shied away from Periscope can get more exposure to the live streaming app and see it in action without having to commit to using the app itself.
Tweeters who want to live stream but don’t have a large following on Periscope can have scopes viewed by their Twitter following. This would allow for more views and help both Twitter and Periscope. The thought of broadcasting to a non-existent audience could turn potential live streamers away, so the Twitter integration should help with that.
There’s talk of Twitter tweaking its timeline which would leave us with another Facebook-like feed. Instead of a live feed, Tweets would populate through an algorithm. Of all the features they’re changing, this one is received quite a bit of backlash.
This would likely help advertisers. If tweets aren’t in chronological order, it may be more difficult to distinguish between regular and promoted tweets. Boosting ad revenue will help shape a more sustainable future for the fluctuating platform.
A segmented timelines makes sense for the non-religious user. If you only check for updates once or twice a day, there’s a LOT you’re missing out on. Breaking news might go unread or all the updates may deal with the same event, causing casual users to become irritated.
It all comes down to who Twitter wants to target more. There are hundreds of millions of loyal users. Is it worth losing them to attract an audience that may never adopt it?
Personally, I really hope Twitter keeps its current timeline structure. I think I like reading witty tweets about games, events, awards, and trends almost as much as the events themselves.
What do you think about the pending or recently implemented updates? Do you want Twitter to change some of its long-standing attributes or stay the same?