This post was first published by Brandon Reid on March Communications’ blog M+PR Nonsense.
In the world of social media, it is crucial to stay on top of the latest trends and developments. In fact that is exactly what many social platforms help their users do, by providing news, information, and content in a shareable, condensed format.
Twitter specifically has come to be considered as a news source in its own right, even if the real-time news is not always completely accurate. Even so, as the social media site keeps its users up to date on the latest and greatest, Twitter is also known for constantly looking for ways to improve the platform’s functionality and user experience, by utilizing new analytic or algorithmic capabilities.
Unfortunately, Twitter users do not always see these efforts as such an improvement.
While it is fair to say that many Twitter users probably do not handle change well and have no reason to complain about a layout adjustment on a site that they use for free, it seems that recently Twitter has been making changes simply based on what they are capable of doing, rather than what is in the best interest of the platform’s functionality.
Currently, Twitter is testing an algorithm to start sorting users’ timelines by what is deemed relevant for each individual user, rather than chronologically, which Facebook currently does. However, this would completely eliminate the signature real-time, live update aspect of Twitter that so many users love because it makes it unique from other platforms.
In addition, there have been rumors that Twitter’s well-known 140-character limit might soon be a thing of the past as well, which would ruin the quick and easy nature of scrolling through one’s feed.
Unlike the recent switch from “favorites”/stars to “likes”/hearts, (which admittedly does still annoy many users), if Twitter were to make these types of changes, it would actually alter the core aspects of the platform that users really enjoy.
Another example of a somewhat forced, unimportant upgrade is that the site now supports pushing promoted tweets to users who are not even signed in to Twitter. Are these users really engaged enough for this to matter? Can Twitter even target these individuals well enough to show them promoted tweets that would apply to them?
It appears almost as if Twitter has lost focus of what its purpose is supposed to be. These current and potential changes do seem odd and could definitely alienate users in more than one way, but time will tell whether Twitter can maintain its popularity while continually evolving, or if it might go too far, become too similar to other platforms, and fall by the wayside.