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article imageTwitter turns eight: #WhatsNext?

By Eric Deville     Mar 24, 2014 in Technology
Twitter just turned eight, and it's come a very long way from the slightly-odd microblogging niche platform it used to be.
Nowadays it seems as if everyone is on Twitter, be it your friends, celebrities, maybe even your parents, and a slew of companies you know as well. Twitter has become a part of the way we interact. It’s a part of our elections, our award shows, the way we get news, and more. The service has changed a lot, and it’s going to continue to change, according to Twitter.

Say #Goodbye to #Hashtags?

There have been a lot of reports going around about what’s coming to Twitter next, and it seems like engagement is a key metric for the service. So they’re understandably trying to bring about an enlarged engaged user base. One way they might go about this is by a streamlining of tweets and their appearance. Since Twitter’s rise to popularity all its users have been well acquainted with its two central commands, the @ and the #. Yet for new users this technical jargon could seemingly be a bit confusing at first, so Twitter is thinking of ditching these command symbols for something smoother.
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Vivian Schiller; the Head of News at Twitter, said the company was looking to move away from the “arcane” use of hashtags and @ replies. While the service will doubtfully get rid of the features, as they are the core of how people interact on the site, they are more likely moving these commands out of tweets and into the background. Facebook recently incorporated hashtags and @ style tagging into it’s service, yet when you tag someone on Facebook with the @ their name comes up plainly, simply in link form, a possible option at what we could expect from Twitter. This could certainly clarify the interface for new users, and if its easy to use and understand these new users are more likely to stick around.

How #Popular Are Your Tweets

Another way Twitter is testing out some updates to its service is with the implementation of view counts. Some iPhone users now have view counts displayed below tweets, letting you know not only how many people favorited and reblogged a tweet, but also how many actually saw it.
This could certainly be another move to drive up engagement, either assuring users that people are actually seeing and reading their tweets or encouraging them to tweet and engage more through favorites, retweets, replies, and follows to increase their views. Though you also run the chance of leaving some users malcontent as well, as no one likes being unpopular and to have a low view counted trotted out on all their tweets could be not so pleasing. However it could be a big plus for companies, to see how many people they are actually reaching as well as sponsored tweets and how their audience is augmented in using such features. It’s certainly an interesting idea, but how it actually plays out and how users react is yet to be seen.

The Next Eight Years

Twitter seems to be constantly tweaking their service, always pushing for a smoother and more engaging experience. Although for the past eight users users have been attached to @ replies and hashtags, which have become a bit of a pop culture phenomenon, in eight more years they could be a thing of the past. How Twitter continues to change, update, and expand the service will certainly be interesting to see, and expect to see a push into increasing its presence in our day to day lives and how we interact with those around us.
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