Twitter hasn’t had a great year so far. Its stock dropped by a whopper 44%, and its revenue per user is nowhere near as high as its rival, Facebook. The company’s chief executive, Dick Costelo admitted the fall is stock is directly related to the site's current inability to lure enough new monthly users to the site. Costelo admitted to The Guardian that this is because Twitter is just not straight-forward enough for new users to get their heads around.
Sure, it is initially difficult to see the uses of Twitter, but once you've got used to it, it can be a great source of breaking news and trending topics around the world. You can curate and populate your feed with exactly what you want. Fair enough. Twitter will have to do something to gain new users, but it should be careful that it doesn't shoot itself in the foot in its bid to turn itself around.
Rumours abound of Twitter rolling out a timeline feature similar to Facebook's. It also looks like Twitter could ditch the ‘replies function’ and even the @ handle that has become so synonymous with the Twitter brand. Reportedly, it is looking to integrate something more like Facebook’s ‘mentions’ function.
"WTF @twitter, why am I seeing tweets from accounts that I don't follow but are followed by someone whom I follow?"
Now it turns out that Twitter is quietly testing a feature that could populate your feed with tweets from accounts you don't actually follow. This week, a Twitter user who goes by @Aleefbaypay noticed a tweet from Buzzfeed, even though he has never followed Buzzfeed. Someone he follows follows Buzzfeed.
He tweeted "WTF @twitter, why am I seeing tweets from accounts that I don't follow but are followed by someone whom I follow?"
Apparently there was a "follow" button at the bottom of the tweet, but it wasn't listed as a "promoted" tweet, or as an ad.
Sure, it may be a way for Twitter to earn more revenue but this feature runs the risk of cluttering people's newfeeds with unwanted tweets, and alienating users who have carefully curated their feeds.
While it's good that Twitter is trying out new things, it needs to be careful that it doesn't lose what is actually useful, distinctive and good about its service - what attracted users to the site in the first place.
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