Sahail Ashraf posted on 7 January 2020
Twitter is a remarkable thing. Marketers regularly attest to the fact that it isn’t necessarily the one platform that is the best for them. At the same time, it’s a ridiculously simple and easy to access platform. For any brand with an ability to use it properly, it can be a powerful tool.
So it’s been exciting that Twitter has some planned changes coming up. We have to emphasise the word ‘planned’ here because none of these are set in stone. The VP of Design at Twitter recently offered a list of changes that he is ‘looking forward to’ in 2020.
So we thought we’d analyse his list.
Yes, this is one feature that stumped us at first too. We all tweet for a reason, and getting retweets means we are super popular and successful, or something along those lines. But once we looked at the concept a little closer, the rationale just kind of became clear. Imagine if you had a tweet that went viral in the wrong way. You might have a tweet that responded to a complaint that only brought more complaints (it happens). The last thing you want is a retweet of the original tweet. So being able to stop retweets of a tweet you have posted makes perfect sense from a public relations point of view.
This is an exciting one, especially for marketers who want to get more out of Twitter. It basically allows the user to identify groups that would see the tweet. Other people wouldn’t. This is obviously segmentation, but it makes for a much more exciting landscape on Twitter if you are trying to develop a brand that has a number of products or markets etc.
Used well, it could simply mean that marketers can take the tweets that are hyper-focused, and make sure only the right people see them. It makes perfect sense, and opens up a whole new set of possibilities for users.
Of course, this is only hypothetical, because Twitter has not confirmed this is happening, but we have to say it is one of the more exciting options on the projected menu.
You can take yourself out of direct message discussions on Twitter already, but this option would allow you to be removed from a tweet exchange. It allows a little more safety and security. You might have been referenced in an exchange and would prefer that your brand is not mentioned. This option adds that little more control that would certainly be welcomed by social media teams running accounts for popular brands.
This is of course a nod to the safety aspects of Twitter. If you’re being trolled and you want an escape route you can do this, and take yourself out of the equation. Obviously, such a useful tool would have been welcome many years ago, but Twitter seems to be choosing how it manages trolling very carefully.
CEO Jack Dorsey, a controversial figure himself, told Rolling Stone earlier this year that he genuinely enjoys being on Twitter, and he also talked about the difficulties the platform has:
Expression is messy. It has unpredicted outcomes. It has so many people coming in and adding their voice. The song just keeps going on and on. Looking back, 50 years in the future when it’s still here and I’m gone, my impact will be nothing compared to the impact that people using the platform in those 50 years will have on it. We all have time to add to the song. Then we depart, and it continues to go on.
It’s philosophical stuff. However, the beauty of Twitter will always be it’s speed. That beauty also allows trolls to get in quick, and for mis-judged tweets to go viral. Hopefully, these potential changes will reduce some of the nastiness and stress Twitter currently causes.
To be honest, we are most impressed with the chance to enhance damage control and to gain more segmentation possibilities. This makes us think that Twitter (assuming these things go ahead) really is trying to make the platform more manageable and better for marketers, even though it may not always be entirely ‘safe’. Social is not necessarily ever going to be safe, but it can definitely become more useful.
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