Now that the dust has settled and we know Twitter isn’t going to tank after their hotly anticipated IPO, what can we expect in the future from the site? Some think the changes in user experience will be minimal, but many others expect huge a downturn in the service as it enters the “mainstream.”
Already we have seen change. Last month, Twitter added images and videos to their feed. The turn toward a more media-driven platform represents a huge change from the text only posts previously seen. Another new functionality is the addition of a blue bar that tracks conversations between users.
What’s the point? To make it easier for users to track conversations and engage with content. It’s starting to look like a lot like other social media platforms.
The new visuals will be critical as we prepare for the inevitable; more ads. Facebook proved that social media advertising could create revenue, and many investors saw the opportunity with Twitter. Twitter ads are integrated into the users stream and have historically been simple and relatively unobtrusive. There could be an increase in these “promoted tweets” or we may see different kinds of ads. Much of the discontent that has arisen with Facebook, following their decision to go public, comes from the increase in advertising. Hardly anyone could say that Facebook has become a better service since their IPO.
Twitter has been in the red since the beginning. They actually lose money each year. Now that people who have keen interest in making profits own Twitter, it’s impossible that we won’t see some dramatic changes.
Change isn’t always bad. Becoming more user-friendly will bring more people and businesses to Twitter and the functionality will continue to improve. These will be important as Twitter continues to expand into new markets like those in Asia. New products are coming as well. Think Twitter Music or Vine. Twitter will be developing new product lines centralized around the real-time.
Twitter used to be about quick information sharing and being different. Now that it is looking for growth, will Twitter lose what made it special in the first place?