Twitter’s Got New Features! What Do You Make of Them?

by Editor · 9 comments

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OK, so my time’s been a bit crunched today so I’ve not written my usual length post.  (What’s that you say?  You’re relieved?!  I think I’m hurt…)

But I did want to take a few minutes to talk about Twitter, as I’m a pretty active Twitter user myself.

OK, so a couple of weeks ago, cyberspace was all agog about Twitter’s announcement about rolling out new features and a new business model.

Translation: Twitter just told the world how it will start making money, because (surprise!) they haven’t earned all that much yet.

I know… you’re shocked.

There’s actually a lot of concern and fear about Twitter’s move—but I think that’s how people always initially react to change. But really, until they completely roll out the features, it’s all going to be just speculation for now anyway, so relax.

Despite this, I’m still excited about how these new features can help me—both me as a brand and me as a Twitter user.

So let’s talk Twitter shall we?

1. Promoted Tweets

What are these? Well, it’s a paid tweet. For a fee (which has not been divulged yet—but if you do know, please let the rest of us know!), brands like Red Bull, Virgin and Starbucks can place a carefully written 140-character tweet at the tippy top of your Twitter feed.

How does it work?

It works through searches. You type in a query and the first tweet you see on top of the feed is a promoted tweet. With over 600 million queries on Twitter daily (yes, people do look for information—links, photos—on Twitter!), this doesn’t seem like a bad strategy as far as Twitter is concerned.

Me being me, I tried it last week.

I typed in “coffee” (‘cuz I’m an addict) and found a promoted tweet from Starbucks. But I checked it again early this week and it’s gone. Twitter says it’s still being tested, so it may be a few more weeks before we see how this one goes for the long-term (or maybe they’ll just surprise us!).

2. Analytics

If you pay for tweets, you might as well get performance stats, right? And that’s what Twitter is offering its commercial account holders. Yep, you read that one right—you can now pay for a commercial Twitter account. I’m still not quite sure how that account will differ from the regular free one, but still… the analytics is a good addition.

If you need to track how many clicks your published links get, you usually go to third party apps, such as ow.ly and Hootsuite, for analytics.

Twitter’s new features, the founders explain, is meant to close many of Twitter’s gaps—which is a lot. Twitter, by itself, cannot shorten links (important when you have a 140-character limit); neither does it have the ability to share photos. Third party apps, instead, filled this gap—and many app developers earned from doing so.

Not anymore. When Twitter completely rolls out its new features, many actually fear the fate of third party apps that have helped Twitter users like me to organize our social media lives.

Which brings me to the next feature …

3. URL Shortener and Photo Sharing Apps

Finally!

I think that this is something that Twitter should’ve had from the start. It’s hard enough to synthesize everything into 140 characters—but when you want to share a link or a photo, it gets really challenging, especially when one link alone takes up all 140 characters!

4. Annotated Tweets

Up till now, Twitter has used #hashtags to organize tweets. That’s great and all, but it seems a little bit outdated—and frankly, it’s a bit difficult to follow, especially when you’re following a Twitter event that lots of people attend and tweet about.

Plus, it takes up the 140 character limit, which makes tweeting a lot more complicated.

The good news?

Twitter recognizes this and will soon introduce annotated tweets. Which is just a new way of organizing and tagging tweets without taking up valuable tweet space.

5. Smartphone Applications

Can’t get enough of Twitter? You can have it on the go—you and 4 million others (yep, 37% of Twitter users tweet using mobile phones)!

Sure, there are lots of third party apps for smartphones, but Twitter’s joining the bandwagon and, rumor has it, it will launch its own app soon after acquiring Tweetie.

And that’s about it on what’s been said so far. People are still speculating about how these changes will affect social media and I’m sure everyone and the brother will soon put their two cents in—for now though, all we can do is wait until they roll it all out for everyone to use.

Until then?

I’ll stick with my Seesmic and Hootsuite thankyouverymuch.

Warm regards,

AKA k0zm0zs0ul

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