What Tune is the Bird Singing Now?
This post was co-authored by Felicia Goh and Alex Cheong, Text100 Singapore.
7.7 billion hours. More than 850,000 years. That’s how much time the global online population spends on social networks – in a month. With more than two billion users on the top 13 social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, and more people in emerging economies gaining access to the Internet, it seems like this number will only climb higher.
With the increasing affordability of smartphones and internet connectivity, it’s no wonder everyone’s using their smart devices to access social networking sites today. In fact, close to 60% of users access Twitter via their handsets, buoyed by the popularity of third party apps such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.
As more Twitter users gravitate toward accessing the social network on their mobile devices, the platform has been changing its Application Programming Interface (API), placing restrictions on third party apps and gradually driving users back to its native app and Twitter website. The social networking giant made further changes a couple of weeks back, most noticeably introducing header photos. These changes are intended to enhance user experience on the native platform by getting users to engage more on their own website through the customization of the profile page. The striking resemblance this bears to Facebook’s cover photo is evidence of the stiff competition social networks face to keep users engaged and satisfied.
While having a Facebook-esque cover photo appearing on their Twitter profile, which serves only as a cosmetic decoration that pushes the user’s tweets further down the screen, the header photo is perhaps an indication of Twitter’s bid to shift away from being just a news feed to becoming a network that is more personified and business-friendly. This provides an opportunity for brands to improve the engagement with their followers on Twitter through the customization of their profile pages, and organizations would do well to work out how best to utilize this space to their advantage.
Even YouTube is upping its game with the introduction of its new YouTube app. Redesigned to be more user friendly, with clearer video feeds and easy-to-navigate video categories, it is evident that social networking companies are taking the mobile wave very seriously.
Today’s users determine the direction and continued success of social networks. The changes Twitter is making clearly indicates that the social networking company renowned for its 140-character updates is making a strong push to drive traffic back to its own website and mobile app, to reap the benefits of having an increased user base in its local environment.
While the introduction of the header photo will contribute to an increase in visits to Twitter’s website, Twitter needs to look beyond the aesthetics and into the intelligent and creative use of future implementations, to continue enhancing the engagement with visitors through profile page customizations. Whether this can be sustained, however, remains to be seen.