Twitter users can expect to see a few new changes on their feeds, which provide more options for regular users of the microblogging platform. Earlier this week, Twitter announced that users can now post up to four photos in each Tweet. In addition, the new changes will allow users to tag up to 10 other Twitter users in a photo. Importantly, neither the photos nor the tagging will be included in the 140 character count.
This change is widely seen as a play to boost user engagement, as tagging will prompt those who are tagged to come back to check their Twitter feed and (hopefully) post a response. It is also likely a reflection of Twitter’s desire to cater to the coveted younger crowd, who currently spends a the majority of their time online using photo-centric platforms such as Instagram and SnapChat.
As regular Twitter users know, Twitter (like the rest of the web) is becoming increasingly more visual. Only a few months ago, Twitter’s feed allowed for inline images, which highlighted purely visual content such as photos, video and memes. The photo album format will add a new dynamic to the visual aspect of your Twitter feed. And it pays to use these new tools if you are looking to boost engagement. According to Buffer, Tweets that included inline images saw a noticeable boost in shares and favorites versus those that did not.
Albums and tagging aren’t the only change on the horizon. A number of tech publications are reporting that some users (mostly iOS at the moment) are reporting that they are able to see stats on how many users viewed each of their tweets. You can see how that looks here.
If it becomes a standard feature, this is a far more interesting development. The concept of “reach” on Twitter has always been a nebulous metric: how many users potentially saw your tweet. With these kinds of stats, users (and organizations) will be able to see exactly how many people saw what you posted to Twitter. This data will tell you exactly how big your audience is and, more importantly, what percentage of those who saw that content engaged with it (retweets, favorites, replies). This information will help you determine what is boosting engagement and what is not.
To some observers, these changes are taking Twitter away from what make it so great: a strict 140 character limit that defined Twitter. In fact, with the addition of so many content tools, Twitter is beginning to look a lot like Facebook. Is that a good thing? From a public affairs perspective, Twitter still holds a distinct advantage given the central role it plays in unfolding shared events, both planned and unplanned. But will these changes herald Twitter morphing into the place where Grandma shares her latest photos set of the grandkids? Or will it add a deeper dimension to the shared pulse of the news feed?
What do you think? Leave a comment below.