Twitter Social Media Drum News

Twitter introduces photo tagging and trials replacing retweet with share: what will the changes mean?


By Ishbel Macleod | PR and social media consultant

March 28, 2014 | 4 min read

Following on from last week’s reveal that Twitter may be getting rid of hashtags and at-replies, Twitter has now introduced the system to add more than one photo to a tweet – and to be able to tag the people in them without it having an impact on our 140 character allowance.

This, added to the fact that Twitter was found to be testing renaming the ‘retweet’ button as ‘share’ – has led to mixed responses from the public.

“Ultimately, I think Twitter is trying to become more like Facebook,” John Perkins, managing director of RAPP's creative agency, said.

“I’m not sure if the direct application of it for organisations is all that significant, what’s more significant is that twitter is making the platform much more user friendly and making it much more aligned with Facebook than it was before.”

Perkins is not the only one to notice how the changes narrow the differences between the two platforms: especially since Facebook now allows use of hashtags and trending news.

Cake client services director, Lizzy Pollott, suggests that the recent changes could be a sign that Twitter is trying to open itself up to a wider audience: “The interesting development here is the apparent emphasis on simplifying the Twitter user experience in order to attract new users. Not only could it grow Twitter’s user base significantly, but it also would hopefully encourage more conversation on the platform – another bonus for brands looking to get closer to their customers. New users and increased interaction means even more fun to be had by brands and agencies.”

The aim of the most recent move is to make photos ‘more social’, Twitter software engineer César Puerta said. “Tagging people in a picture makes conversations around photos fun and easy. And tagging doesn’t affect character count in the tweet — you can tag up to 10 people in a photo and still have all 140 characters at your disposal, making it easier to connect with your friends. If you’re the one being tagged, you’ll get a notification.”

Perkins is cynical about the difference this will make for marketing: “At the end of the day, most Twitter campaigns – the effective ones – point people towards a URL anyway.”

Lucine Keverian, senior social response manager at Manning Gottlieb OMD , doesn’t think this is the case, suggesting photo tweets are more engaging for followers, as well as the wider audience reached via advertising.

She has research to back her up: Twitter reports that tweets with a photo are 35 per cent more likely to get retweeted than one without. Perhaps the short-form sharing site hopes that more photos will mean more engagement?

“This will give our clients the ability to create ‘gallery style’ tweets which allows us to showcase a range of branded content within one tweet. Whilst Twitter have had the functionality to create Gallery Tweets via their Twitter Card product for a while, this relies on the implementation of meta-tags on a clients website, which would also need to be mobile friendly. This new product allows us to by-pass this making the execution of more creative campaigns easier all round on mobile.”

While there is a mixed review on the photo changes, which are already live for iPhone users, the majority of experts questioned seem strongly against hashtags being removed: and yesterday’s trial of changing ‘retweet’ to ‘share’ led to some more angry messages to Twitter.

But, as Robin Grant, global managing director at We Are Social, pointed out last week “with Twitter’s current focus clearly tuned into keeping new users engaged, rather than placating its existing community, it’s unlikely the prospect of short-term protest will disrupt its long-term plans.”

Twitter Social Media Drum News

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Manning Gottlieb OMD

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RAPP is a global, data-driven creative community that builds direct, meaningful and high-value relationships between brands and people. At RAPP, with our unrivalled depth of expertise in first-party data, we’ve been observing and cataloguing real people’s lives for 50 years. In today’s world the balance of power has shifted, and customers are in control, which is why we put people and their preferences at the heart of the brand experience. With a talent base of more than 1,600 professionals in 18 offices, we help brands grow the value of real people by understanding what really matters and creating experiences that are right for real people, with real needs, in real time, creating marketing that matters. Our expertise in data and marketing sciences allows us to deliver our clients actionable human insight - an incredible understanding of genuine motivations, observed transactions and actual interactions. Our process reflects how real people think; we balance the left brain and the right, and we do our best work when we bring Precision and Empathy into balance. Building on our data foundation, RAPP delivers a range of capability across social, digital, customer experience and technology.

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