Twitter’s 10th birthday today (21 March) should be a time of celebration, but with its February earnings call revealing flatlining user numbers, the social network has a big task ahead to ensure it is still around 10 years from now.
Cameron Clarke asked some of the emerging stars of other social media platforms what Twitter can do to make itself appealing to a new generation of users.
I think Twitter needs to allow more creative posts to keep up with Instagram and Snapchat. At the moment it's not that visually stimulating and a lot of the posts lead you away from Twitter. The polls were a great idea but I think it needs to add more interactive features like that to keep up with its competitors.
The platform is becoming saturated with unwanted content. We have to sift through masses of adverts and suggested posts to view what we originally signed up to see, the content, people and brands we actually follow.
Both Twitter and brands that advertise on the platform need to de-clutter our feeds and get smart; whether that be improvements to artificial intelligence-led marketing efforts to better their knowledge of user interests, or a focus on the inclusion of more image-based content.
Most Twitter users seem to have more than one account, and with the site also overrun with fake accounts managed by robots it's quite surprising that Twitter has not yet done anything about this in all its years of operation considering Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are constantly removing fake accounts for more accuracy.
They've tried minor tweaks to the product like changing favourites to likes – a change that none of my friends nor myself have fully adapted to. Without going too far from the core product, I feel like Twitter needs to release a big update that will really provide a strong value to the user enough to talk openly about it and not in a negative way like the new Twitter Moments that has been shoehorned into everyone's experience.
Instagram's DNA is images. Twitter has a DNA of text. Images have a greater emotional and behavioural impact, especially at a time when mobile phones are now measured in mega-pixels. Instagram was designed with human behaviour in mind, and continues to innovate visually by providing users with creative tools like the apps Hyperlapse, Layout and Boomerang. Twitter is being redesigned with shareholders in mind. Instagram has evolved as a community over time and thankfully kept this sense of community as a priority.
Twitter is an incredible platform for news and politics, but unless you’re a writer it doesn’t allow for a lot of creativity. With emojis being a well-used form of communication, it would be great to find a grown-up way of communicating visually.
Twitter is suffering in the same way that traditional media (like TV) is. It relies on real-time conversation – around events or cultural moments. Content is and has always been – king. Twitter needs to find a way of aggregating content and delivering it to users. It needs to focus more on engaging users around evergreen content (much like Instagram), rather than 'blink and you miss it' moments.
Twitter needs to find a way to offer a better user experience when it comes to video and photography, something which I believe it is lacking at the moment. It's a tricky situation, because to keep the 300 million existing users happy, the original concept of Twitter needs to be remembered – it's what made it great. But it is a concept that may not be as popular with younger generations as other social media platforms, so things will have to change if it wants to encourage further growth.
Twitter is an amazing place to interact with others and voice your opinion as well as keeping up to date with news tailored to you. I couldn't live without Twitter.