In case you haven’t heard, Twitter’s going through a bit of a rough patch.
According to sources both inside and outside of Twitter, though, course corrections are coming – and that means some of Twitter’s fundamental features are going to evolve.
That’s why we’re rounding up the latest big changes, announcements, and rumors regarding Twitter’s new and upcoming changes.
What’s different? What’s in the pipeline? And what does it mean for you?
Let’s take a closer look, starting with a change that’s already started rolling out:
Have you noticed Twitter handles disappearing yet? Because it’s already happening!
Twitter loves experimenting with different ways for you to squeeze more characters into your tweets, teasing features in the past like not counting images toward your 140.
Their latest trick? Removing handles from the beginning of reply tweets. COMPLETELY.
The change has been rolling out slowly, and confusing the heck out of the people affected by it – unsurprisingly, it’s harder to keep track of who’s being addressed in a tweet when their handle doesn’t appear in it.
This change hasn’t made its way to everyone yet, so keep your eyes open – because like it or not, it’s here.
And what about some changes that haven’t made a debut yet? What could still be in the near future?
Twitter’s inability to regulate rampant personal abuse hit ‘em in the pocketbook recently – it was one of the reported reasons Disney turned down an opportunity to buy the company. (And they weren’t the only business that did so.)
While they’ve made efforts here and there to find a solution, one rumored solution that may be coming soon is a more powerful mute button – a solution for which Instagram won deserved praise earlier this year.
(Not too shabby when you’re trying your darndest to avoid The Bachelorette spoilers, too.)
The new-and-improved mute feature isn’t here just yet, but it’s pretty safe to assume it’s on the way – Twitter kind-of, sort-of accidentally released it already, then took it away when they realized their mistake.
That gives marketers plenty of time to think about how this could affect them – here’s an example.
When you pay someone (like a celebrity or a social media influencer) to tweet a promo for you, the Federal Trade Commission requires them to disclose that relationship. Most brands and users just slap a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored on there and call it a day.
— Women’s Health (@WomensHealthMag) November 1, 2016
Now that Twitter users may be able to mute certain words, though, you may have to be more clever – people may decide they no longer want to see tweets with hashtags like #ad in them!
Speaking of the things users might see…
One more new feature Twitter’s cooking up in their secret lab? Special, algorithmically-curated timelines that users can choose based on different subjects.
These tentatively-named “Event Timelines” would appear as tabs alongside your main timeline, with each one curating tweets based on a certain topic. (A setup not unfamiliar to Tweetdeck users.)
Here’s an example of what this might look like.
Right now, if you want to tweet about something like the 2016 US presidential elections, you could search Twitter for #Elections2016 to see what other people are saying. (Otherwise, any election-related tweets in your timeline will be competing for space with people tweeting about unrelated subjects, like their most recent gas station purchases.)
An Event Timeline would, in theory, prevent you from having to manually hunt down tweets on a hot topic by collating them in a timeline separate from your main one.
The jury is still out on how much control you would have over these timelines – will you be able to choose which ones show up, like Gmail tabs? Will you get to decide which users show up in an Event Timeline, and/or whether you can restrict it to people you already follow?
Time will tell, but regardless, one thing is for sure – making time for live participation on Twitter is going to be even more valuable in the future than it is now. (And it’s very, very valuable right now!)
Real or rumored, rolling out or not-quite-ready, big changes are coming to Twitter.
Just like on any other social network, knowing what those changes are ahead of time gives you time to plan – and planning ahead can make a big difference when those changes actually land!
What do you think of what Twitter’s got up its sleeve? Think changes like these make sense – or would you rather they focus on something else?
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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