A few months ago, I wrote about how Twitter was considering making some changes to its platform. Since then, many of these changes have been set into motion and news that Twitter is becoming overcrowded and declining in value as a social media platform has become increasingly common. Many businesses still invest a significant amount of time and money into sharing news, interacting with customers and promoting tweets on the social platform, but the question remains: is Twitter becoming obsolete?
While Twitter did rule out the idea of extending the 140 character limit, which users vehemently protested, it has switched over to an algorithm based feed. This change also received negative reactions from users because many felt that it would eliminate the live, real-time quality that makes Twitter unique. However, co-founder Jack Dorsey has stated that the one word he believes best describes Twitter is “live,” which goes to show that he does value this aspect of the platform.
Twitter users still voiced their opinions on the matter, by trending #RIPTwitter when the official news was announced. As a result, the algorithmic timeline is still a default feature, but “show me the best tweets first” is now an option for users that want to opt-out of it, if they choose. Instagram has since followed suit in implementing its own algorithmic timeline. It is yet to be seen if this is the right call for either platform, but it will definitely change the way PR professionals approach social media strategy going forward.
The Troll Dilemma
One of the biggest issues Twitter has faced recently is overcrowding and “trolls” who serve no real value and only use social media to mock other users and brands. For those, this is the most enjoyable part of social media, but it has become a real problem for Twitter to deal with issues of harassment and prove its legitimacy as a useful platform for brands. Twitter has recognized this as a problem as well, but is still struggling to come up with a viable solution. There is no obvious answer to this problem, but with so many voices tweeting out their thoughts, are any messages actually getting through to the intended audience? This is a legitimate question that brands need to ask themselves to determine whether or not their presence on Twitter would be worthwhile.
Is Twitter Still Meeting Users’ Needs?
Even though Twitter has made minor changes, like adding an algorithm and changing the like button from stars to hearts, it has also made several concessions to user complaints. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, compared to other social media platforms, Twitter has not made any major updates in the past several years, either. Users typically react poorly when new changes are implemented anyway, but adding new features is a different story. If Twitter hopes to continue its reign as one of the top social media platforms, it needs to keep up with the likes of Snapchat, which is constantly giving users new ways to share personalized content when they interact with other people or brands.
Rather than making insignificant tweaks that users see as an inconvenience to the current platform, Twitter needs new ideas and innovative features that will get users excited and keep them engaged for years to come. If this does not happen and the audience leaves Twitter, PR professionals and their clients will be forced to move on to more up-and-coming social media outlets to receive a better return on their investment.
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