You only have to open Twitter to see the endless streaming of fresh updates across the network as they cascade down the screen. It’s a non-stop information stream that your eyes can barely take in – a blur of the new, interesting, the banal and the obscure all sped up and spat out for your amusement. This is the attraction and to many also the curse of Twitter. For a new or potential user how can you make sense of all this noise, all this information, all this stuff? How is it useful, what does it mean, do I need to read it all? It can seem overwhelming, off-putting – basically unnecessary.
Twitter aficionados will have curated their accounts to perfection. Lists will have been created, account follows built up and then pruned down, the best Tweeters discovered and the boring or spammy accounts cast adrift. Many will use Tweetdeck or another client to pull out the best of Twitter based on saved searches, watched for notifications, messages and again lists, lists, lists. They will know you don’t have to pore over every update and can navigate the stream to find the diamonds in the vast tweet coal seam.
In recent months, Twitter has responded to a need to make the social network more user-friendly and has launched a number of new features to pull out the best of what is happening for its members. Twitter Moments is the most recent feature and now the tiny lightning bolt on the top left of the screen pulls out the headlines to give an instant summary of the most popular trends, news, memes and happenings on the network at any given time. More than the simple trending topics, it curates the news and puts it front and centre for the user who can then delve into topics of interest and start their own journey of discovery.
Quickly, features like Moments help the newer or more casual user find great Twitter-posted content adopting a format they will be familiar with from news sites, aggregators like Google News or similar features on other social networks.
On top of Moments, Twitter has also recently launched other product features designed to help the user find content quickly and easily. ‘While You Were Away’ is a nice, simple feature that surfaces great tweets that you may have missed and puts them at the top of your feed when you sign in.
Some pro-users might bridle a little bit at this simplification and innovation at Twitter, almost enjoying the challenge that they have already mastered, but in order for Twitter to kickstart its user growth, new features like Twitter Moments are key.
New users need to get Twitter instantly, see the value straightaway and then learn the more esoteric joys of the platform a little down the road. Too often in the past, even lovers of other social platforms like Facebook may have found themselves a little mystified about the advantages of Twitter. Most will not persist when they can’t get into a new social app immediately and Twitter’s new navigational features really boost this accessibility.
On top of these other two features, Highlights is another new way to surface great, relevant content to users. It pulls up a mobile-friendly swipeable summary of the cool stuff happening in your slice of Twitter, so you can easily go through a number of topics and start to explore.
I am sure the Twitter product roadmap holds some more great features to help everyone appreciate the wonderful, quirky, useful, entertaining and informative updates that Twitter diehards have raved about for years. Rolling out these features and popularising them is surely crucial to Twitter accelerating the growth of its user base and therefore enjoying the renewed financial success it deserves.