Today, Twitter has announced an update to its apps for iOS and Android as well as TweetDeck for Web, Chrome and PC (and Mac soon) that bring a renewed focus on direct messaging. The app now features a direct link to Direct Messages in the tab bar and allows you to send photos inside DMs for the first time. This major redesign has been in the works for a while, and today marks the first time we’ve seen most of these elements all in one place. Twitter has been testing a variety of these features over the past few weeks, but now they’re all packaged together. You may have seen the DM icon in the tab bar or heard of some users getting a swipeable timeline design as a part of Twitter’s ongoing experiments which see just a small percentage of users getting each permutation of the design. Those experiments are then used to determine which features hit the app itself. We had heard this release was coming and now we know which features made the cut. There is a bunch of new stuff in this update, but the addition of photo support to DMs and the enhanced placement of the icon right in the tab bar indicated a renewed interest in the private messaging portion of Twitter — which has been long neglected. By putting an emphasis on direct messaging, Twitter is performing its own sort of subtweet towards other messaging apps like Line, WhatsApp, Snapchat and soon Instagram. The DM function of Twitter is heavily used by a lot of users, but my guess is that some of the changes here will spur mainstream adoption of DMs as a ‘private comms channel’. The addition of Messages to the tab bar also bumps Discover from the main view. That’s now tucked under Timelines as a whole. You now swipe between those timelines in the main view. Timeline, Activity and Discover are all under the single tab now. One one hand, this is a great space saver and feels like a welcome move. As we noted previously, this also makes way for even more timelines: The idea behind a swipeable interface is fairly easy to divine, as it could make the app friendly to multiple timelines. If these feeds could be treated as discreet items, Twitter could move beyond its ‘Home,’ ‘Connect’ and ‘Discover’ feeds to offer more specific feeds focused
Twitter continues to pull the string on personalization and recommendation with a new account called @magicstats. The account, whose description reads ‘I favorite the best tweets I see in real-time’ appears to be doing just that. Though the account is protected and its activity closed down, we’ve been tracking it for several weeks now and have gained a bit of insight into how it works. Several of my personal tweets and some TechCrunch tweets have been favorited by the account, which appears to be working on several metrics including velocity of activity (like favs and retweets from other accounts). We investigated the account and it’s followed by many members of Twitter’s search and relevance team, just like Twitter’s other experiments @magicrecs and @eventparrot. The account, from what we understand, was originally dedicated to monitoring the Magicrecs experiment, but was repurposed to its new role once that was rolled into the product proper. Previously, the account’s profile said it was recording data related to Magicrecs. Twitter declined to comment about the status of the account. The account’s tweets were not originally protected, and we were able to browse its favs for a while. The account often awarded a fav to a tweet very quickly after it was posted, but we never saw it fav a tweet ‘first’. It always followed other favs and RTs very quickly. Judging by this, it’s likely that the account is looking for tweets that are getting rapid attention in its network or on the Twitter network as a whole. Twitter has noticed the rise of products like the third-party fav-and-RT-tracking Favstar, which a source with knowledge of its user base told us was ‘surprisingly popular’. The service offers a visual dashboard of re-tweets and favorites that are tied to user profiles and presented very well. It’s fun, visual and addictive. Twitter also has a statistics package, but accessing it is a bit obscure as you have to go to the ads.twitter.com page and sign in with your account there. The page is interesting and information packed, but it’s not nearly as fun as the Favstar profiles are. I check Favstar several times a day at least, just to see how recent tweets faired, and it can be an interesting long-term indicator of what the best tweets on your account are. And that, in the end, could be the bit that interests Twitter the most, which tweets
Twitter’s six-second video sharing app Vine is making a play for more markets, announcing today that its apps for iOS and Android have been translated into 19 new languages, plus two more just on Android. Also available on Windows Phone and sporti…
A bunch of Twitter’s alpha and beta testers for Android might have fired up their apps today, and thought they’d been kicked out of the program. After all, the social network recently scrapped the new design it debuted to intrepid early adopters i…
Facebook’s share price tanked upon IPO, scaring plenty of private companies away from the public markets. But with its eventual recovery and now the stellar performance of Twitter’s IPO out the gates, the Wall Street bell suddenly has a much nicer ring to it. Just in the last few days we’ve heard of Square, Box, and Seamless moving forward with IPO plans.
Data from social media analytics companies Crimson Hexagon and Topsy give insight into the chatter during Twitter’s IPO using data gleaned from (what else?) tweets. Most of the accounts that produced the top tweets are expected (like Twitter’s official account and major news outlets such as CNN), but there were a few surprises.
In August, Twitter launched a beta testing program on Android which allows users to opt-in to try out early versions of the Twitter application and other unreleased features which are being considered for inclusion in the official Twitter mobile applications. Now it seems the company is taking this testing one step further – or rather, one step back – with the launch of an alpha testing program for Android users. Alpha versions of the Twitter app “will include earlier iterations of experiments,” says Twitter in a post to the Twitter for Android Alpha Program Google Group, where it shares announcements about its testing programs. The program will also give users the opportunity to provide direct feedback and collaborate directly with the company via a forum, the message explains. That’s much more involvement that the beta program allows for, as beta users generally just receive a new build of the Android app for testing purposes, but don’t really interact with the company beyond sharing bug reports. Alpha testers, meanwhile, may have the ability to actually influence the direction Twitter heads. The program will have limited space, and it will be accepting requests on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those who are invited in will receive an email confirmation in a few days if they’re able to get in. Note that joining a test group like this is not for those who rely heavily on the Twitter app working perfectly all the time. An alpha build of an app will have stability issues and far more bugs than the beta or public releases. Twitter is not the only company to turn to Google Groups and the Android platform to gather up app testers. Other companies have also begun running tests there in recent months, including both Snapchat and Facebook. But Twitter is keen to experiment with its mobile interface, having added a number of new features and changes just ahead of yesterday’s IPO event, including rich media-filled Twitter Cards, a blue line to connect conversations, interaction buttons on the mobile timeline, pre-expanded images, and more. Not all the changes have been warmly welcomed by Twitter’s user base however – the blue line, in particular, irks some to no end. But with Twitter’s alpha program, there may be room for Twitter’s most vocal and engaged users to have a say in these changes earlier on.