Most of us have recently found when logging on to Twitter that our profiles – whether we liked it or not – have been automatically updated to a ‘new look.’ Many might also have noticed that this new format bears a striking resemblance to rival social media platform Facebook. Wide cover images, tweet highlights, larger profile photos and the resource to ‘pin’ tweets to the top of a profile so that casual browsers can see what a user is all about are just a few of the new changes being introduced, taking Twitter away from being an information stream and towards direct competition with Facebook. If you’re not convinced then simply pull up the Facebook and new Twitter profiles of celebrities like actor Zac Efron or rock band Weezer and see if you can tell the difference.
So, what’s the reason behind the change? Well, most likely Twitter is looking to tap into Facebook’s superior level of user engagement, increasing its own to the same stage – and beyond. It may also being trying to prove that it is a platform that can make user interaction much easier, as this has not historically been the view of Twitter. Including improvements that take into account user wants – such as being able to filter to just see tweets with photos, for example – is designed to make the platform not only easier to use but to demonstrate ongoing improvement at a manageable pace, rather than drastic change that is a pain for the user.
Although there might well be initial complaints about the new format, many believe the changes being made have actually served to make the platform much more appealing than previously, particularly for businesses. The larger, richer photos, filtered and pinned tweets and huge cover images are ideal for SMEs looking for a platform that will effectively display branding. There’s also plenty of incentive to achieve engagement with followers, as the more reactions a tweet gets the bigger in size it appears on the page.
Clearly, Twitter isn’t the only site to have undergone fairly drastic change since launching – Facebook has also altered almost unrecognisably from the format it was in when it launched, so this is nothing new. In fact, it’s necessary, as both platforms are trying to make their offering appeal to the public –and to business – so as to generate more interest and result in better engagement. As we enter this new, exciting age of competition, it remains to be seen which one will come out on top.