The Poly Spotlight

March 28th, 2017
The Evolution of Twitter

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UPDATE: Twitter launches new features to regain prominence.

By Caroline Iglesias, Staff Writer

Released in 2006, Twitter has become one of the most popular social media outlets worldwide. This platform provides an easy and fun way to let your friends, family or the world know what’s on your mind in 140 characters or less. By 2012, Twitter had more than 100 million users posting 340 million tweets per day. In order to maintain its large user-base, Twitter’s software developers continuously improve the app through updates.

One of the most recent game-changing additions to Twitter was the “Moments” tab. Unveiled in October of 2015 after ten months of programming, the “Moments” tab allows Twitter subscribers to view a collection of tweets and provides users with the latest events and top stories.When one opens the “Moments” tab, the menu on the left allows the viewers to select moments categorized by News, Sports, Entertainment and Fun. Each individual category provides the latest ‘moments’ of each day. When the viewer comes across a ‘moment’ they would like to explore, simply click to view the entire collection of tweets. As one scrolls through the collection, they can click on any tweet to view the tweet details. From there, one can reply, retweet and like the tweet.

“Twitter ‘Moments’ truly keeps me up to date with the latest news that I may have missed in the past week or so and allows me to connect with the society around me,” Arya Sherafat (10) stated. “Moments” marks a shift towards a more encompassing program, capable of providing the latest worldwide news to your neighborhood. Stories on this tab are provided by initial partners such as Buzzfeed, Bleacher Report, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Major League Baseball, Vogue, NASA, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Another innovative addition to Twitter is the “Twitter poll.” Twitter users can now make decisions according to popular demand. The “Twitter poll” allows users to pose a question, then provides different answer choices as options for their followers. “They’re fun to participate in and it’s also interesting to see the percentage of people who chose certain options,” Danielle Oyama (11) noted. Both the illustrator and the audience can enjoy the new “Twitter poll.”

Lastly, Twitter plans to expand the character limit to 10,000. This marked increase from a 140 character limit is intended to primarily serve a financial purpose: providing Twitter with the accessibility needed to begin competing with Google and Facebook for advertising dollars. The problem with Twitter is that it has not attracted advertisers’ dollars because it does not engage the readers long enough for a strong advertisement to develop.

Aside from the point that the addition of 10,000 characters will aide Twitter in the stock market, will it better engage the common user?  Reactions are mixed. On one hand, users feel as if it is too dramatic of a shift. “Seeing someone’s 10,000 character rant isn’t appealing to me, and it goes against the shortness that Twitter is known for,” Julianne Hilvosky (11) expressed. On the other hand, some believe this new feature will allow for greater individual expression. “I think this will bring more advantages than disadvantages because now users can write freely without worrying about hitting the maximum limit,”Jose Garcia (12) said. 

As always, the opinion lies in the hands of the beholder, but that will not stop Twitter from frequent attempts to stay modern.

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