Tweaking Twitter

June 8, 2016 2:37 pm Published by

How Twitter is attempting to keep up with the way we are communicating now

Twitter’s unique selling point has always been its brevity. In recent weeks however, the social media network announced some small but meaningful communication revamps, to suit the way their users have evolved. For PRs these changes will allow them to share more information and express ideas more fluently.

When Twitter first started out a decade ago, as a platform geared towards SMS messaging – with a 140 character limit – it tapped into the trend of short form text speak and rapid off-the-cuff messaging. After all the ‘Twitter’ means a short burst of inconsequential information.

Ten years on the world has changed. Social network users have become increasingly consequential – communicating their opinions and experiences in more thoughtful ways.

Over the last decade, images and video content have become essential tools for telling stories online. Brands like Snapchat and Instagram capitalised on millenials’ growing thirst for captivating image content – creating fun and easy to use platforms that drew in users by the millions. Meanwhile Twitter failed to diversify and lost ground.

So, the recent announcement that attachments including photos, gifs and videos will no longer count towards the Twitter character limit will come as welcome news to Tweeters.

Twitter has also tuned into the way online conversations are becoming more inclusive. People have moved away from private one-to-one messages, towards group messaging, using platforms like Whatsapp to engage in on-going streams of group conversation.

In response Twitter is doing away with the feature that means users’ handles detract from the character limit. This will allow users to tag as many people as they like into a conversation, making it simpler for Tweeters to share fully formed ideas with like-minded others in an open space.

Perhaps most significant for the Twitter die-hards is the abolition of the infamous “.@” , which meant tweets starting with a username were hidden from followers – something that has baffled users since Twitter began. Again this change is a step towards greater inclusivity. People no longer want all their conversations to be private and prefer having their replies play out on the Twitter stage for all to see.

This movement towards inclusive tweeting is also good news for anyone wanting to share their story. It allows them to engage and connect openly, reaching their audience in the Twittersphere with less constraint.

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This post was written by Andrew Will