29th September 2010
With the advent of New Twitter, or ‘#newtwitter’ as it is referred to on the site by users, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at where Twitter has come from and how it has changed over time.
What is New Twitter?
New Twitter comprises a change in the Twitter interface which enables users to view a variety of different aspects of the site at the same time, in the manner of a much more complex web app.
A change such as this is one way to keep regular users engaged and to create a buzz around the site, which may encourage new users to join. However, the fundamentals of the site are still the same.
Where Twitter came from
Now that so many of us tweet on a regular basis, and take our Twitter feeds for granted as the business tools, news sources or amusing diversions they are, it may be hard to remember what we all thought of the site in the olden days.
To find out, I sought the opinion of a rare, non-Twitter using friend, who summed up the standpoint the majority of us probably had when we first heard about the site: “I can understand why people would want to read about celebrities like Stephen Fry,” he said, “but why would I want to send everyone a text at the same time, and why would people want to read it?”
The answer lies partly with the enormous amount of timely information the site has gained the ability to disseminate, and allow users to expand and comment upon, as its user base has surged.
With over 100 million users and an estimated 750 tweets per second worldwide, Twitter has increased its reach exponentially since its inception in 2006 by US software architect Jack Dorsey.
As Twitter grew and major events like the death of Michael Jackson came and went, users discovered an unprecedented wealth of information was available to them which traditional news sources just couldn’t keep up with.
That, along with the increasing opportunities identified for businesses to communicate with their customers, and, as more members of the public, superstars and major organisations signed up, the increasing ability to follow the goings on of any individual of interest, has helped boost the site’s visibility and usership.
The future for Twitter
Some commentators have noted the ‘facebookification’ of Twitter as an indication as to where it is going. The planned integration of multimedia into Twitter feeds, plus new opportunities to spend time exploring the site and of altering profiles, for example by creating ‘lists’, are all ways in which Twitter is seeking to increase its following to Facebook’s epic proportions (Zuckerburg’s site is still way ahead with an estimated 500 million users worldwide).
Over time, Twitter will continue to grow and transform to meet its users’ changing needs. There’s no sign of this microblogging site going away any time soon.