Not a month has gone by recently where we haven’t seen a number of updates and changes from Twitter. Let’s have a look at the top developments (You can also read about our top tips for Twitter here.)
Re/Code first reported on the new homepage on Tuesday (3rd Feb). For most of us, the existing homepage looks nice, with the rolling images taken from user accounts but that’s as far as it goes without an account. During their Analyst Day last November, CEO Dick Costolo stated that more than 500 million people per month visit Twitter.com, whether they have an account or not. Of that figure, 125 million either do not log in, or don’t create an account before they leave the page.
By creating a more engaging homepage, they hope to attract this audience to either interact or create an account by leveraging stories and news articles from existing users, giving them a sneak peak of the Twitter interface.
Group Direct Message
As part of Twitter’s efforts to increase and enhance their Direct Messaging (DM) feature, you can now set up a group message to speak directly to multiple Twitter users at once. No word yet on whether video messaging will be available with this function but you can certainly send images to the group. Mashable were recently involved in testing this function out with the one and only William Shatner!
While it has been met with some scepticism, it could be a handy function to have. Facebook have a similar function with Facebook Messenger and (despite some of the T&C issues) works well for group chats and meetings.
New! Use Direct Messages to speak privately with a group of up to 20 people. Share Tweets, show emoji & be yourself. https://t.co/8giGhC6OO0
— Twitter (@twitter) January 27, 2015
Should those potential 125 million users actually sign up, another new feature is specifically for them. The idea behind Instant Timeline is to make it as simple and interactive as possible for users to get into Twitter. It will look at your contacts, who they follow on Twitter and what interests them. Do you have a friend who is cat mad? Prepare yourself for lots of feline shenanigans! You don’t even need to follow anyone for tweets to show up. It will, however, suggest accounts it thinks are relevant to you. No longer will a new user suffer thinking of who to follow.
Real Time Video
Back in 2012, Twitter acquired Vine (subsequently launching the career of one Marnie the Dog), the service that allows users to create short 6 second videos to share online. Since then it has seen tremendous success, becoming one of the most popular social media platforms of the past 2 years, notorious for strange and hilarious clips. Now, Twitter is rolling out its own video service. You may notice you can now record a short video when you compose a tweet using the app. The lovable Neil Patrick Harris gave us our first glimpse of the new feature just last week to reveal some… chilling… Academy Awards news. The impact this will have on Vine? We don’t think it will affect them too much, after all Vine users are a community unto themselves, similar to YouTube.
While You Were Away
This feature could prove handy regardless of how often or little you use it. Designed to pick up the top stories and tweets that would interest you, you’ll no longer have to spend all night scrolling through your feed to catch up! It isn’t obvious how Twitter will collect the information and pick out the important stories, however it has been made clear that the more often you look at the app, the more specific the content will be. This will likely undergo a lot of tweaking and refining as it becomes more popular. Long story short… no more creeping to the bathroom to check your feed during working hours!
While Twitter has hit us with a lot of changes at once, they all appear to be features to enhance the experience of the Twitter community. The ability to group direct message has been long overdue and we can see the use of a native video feature becoming really popular within our feeds as it rolls out.