Despite Twitter’s unique fundamentals, people are suspicious of some recent seemingly copycat changes made to the site. It seems that Twitter may be abandoning some of its key original components, little by little, and swapping them for more Facebook-like qualities.
Is Twitter the copycat of Facebook?
Twitter Adopts Facebook Photo/Tagging Feature
Twitter, the platform that was once text-only, is definitely taking a big leap into the visual social media world. Three weeks ago, Twitter introduced a new photo-related feature. Now, users are able to post up to four photos per tweet, without infringing upon the 140-character limit. Plus, in said photos, users can tag up to ten people.
To top it off, the new tagging feature does not entail Twitter’s classic @username tagging method. The new photo feature is very similar – suspiciously similar – to Facebook photo tagging.
In Twitter’s Future
Diving deeper into the Facebook world, Twitter is considering dropping the @username and hashtag features altogether. Buzzfeed calls this “Twitter’s gradual disappearing act.” Twitter has no intention of actually disappearing from the web, but it is indeed preparing to cut loose from its original mold.
The company has even hinted at eliminating the retweet, a feature that many would call a pretty important piece of Twitter’s background. But the “retweeting” concept may prove too confusing for new people. Hence, Twitter is considering changing from “retweeting” to “sharing.” Hmmm… where have we seen that before?
Both Vivian Schiller, head of Twitter news, and company’s CEO Dick Costolo have mentioned that changing the site will hopefully make it easier to navigate for new or casual users. They must also realize, however, that while these alterations may bring some new people in, it may also drive some current users out.
The Benefits of Change
Twitter has already changed since its beginning days. Originally users had to manually add “RT” to tweets in order to retweet. Now, the function is built in and much easier to use. The company made it more foolproof, which is essentially what they aim to do overall.
Simplifying the retweet tool has made it possible for news to spread wider and faster by allowing more people to understand the concept. If Twitter simplifies more things on the site, perhaps the amount of information shared, overall, will grow.
Plus, changes like the recent photo feature will cater to the natural inclination to be in the know. With only 140 characters to tell people what you’re up to, people will be left with some questions. But if you can throw in some pictures and the names of your companions, without cutting into those characters, you can share more, and people will have more information at their disposal. People like that.
Changing Twitter will, like anything, have pros and cons. This new photo feature, in particular, is certainly attractive to the masses familiar with Facebook. However, altering Twitter’s main initial focus – brevity in words – may also turn off longtime Twitter users.
So should Twitter continue to make the platform more user-friendly? Or keep on trucking in their current Internet elitist sort of way? That is the dilemma the company currently faces. Twitter has, since its birth in 2006, introduced new terminology, a new way to get news and a new way to self-express. However, all this new stuff definitely leaves some Internet users confused, leaving those people cut from the Twitter market. Are they worth the change?
According to Re/code, of the billion people signed up for Twitter, only 241 million actively use their accounts. Basically, of every ten people creating a handle, only 2.5 come back to tweet regularly. It’s likely that individuals become accustomed to the ease of Facebook and feel challenged by the Twitter world. But in an effort to lessen the Twitter learning curve, the site risks abandoning what people love about it.
Users have come to love the feeling within the Twitter world. It’s great to be able to see what favorite celebrities and companies are up to, which is impossible in the friend-only world of Facebook. Companies have come to love it as an inbound marketing and advertising tool. If Twitter does end up heading down Facebook’s path, it better be prepared to lose a lot of fans.