Expected Changes Coming to Twitter in 2015

A year after the social network’s IPO, Twitter held its first ‘analyst day’ in San Francisco yesterday, where CEO Dick Costello & other senior execs shared their vision for the company in 2015 with Wall Street. 

Among the hottest-of-topics: while the platform has 284 million active users, there’s another 500 million people who somehow interact with the company’s properties each month, yet aren’t logged in (many of whom aren’t registered at all). Much of this comes from embedded tweets in news articles (such as the ones below); unfortunately, Twitter hasn’t found a successful method of converting these ‘passive’ viewers into active accounts.

Addressing this shortcoming, Costello unveiled plans for Twitter in 2015, including some new features that he & the rest of the company hope will improve non-user conversion (early response from The Street has been positive, as stock was up nearly 7.5% by EOB Wednesday).

Instant Timelines

A barrier to entry with Twitter is the need to actually follow people to start participating in the experience. The company hopes that Instant Timelines, which will be available to both new users & those who opt-in, will help ease people into Twitter with suggested content.

Timeline Highlights

Another new feature to Twitter Timelines will be Highlights, which will showcase content users may have missed since their last login. As Twitter confirmed recently, Timeline ‘optimizations’ have been in the works for awhile; while Highlights isn’t a dramatic shift for seasoned users, it may help those who don’t visit often to become more engaged.

Appropriately enough, a great example of how Twitter Highlights will work is featured in this tweet:

Real-Time Video Editing & Sharing

Building on the success of their standalone app, Vine, and the recent explosion of video on competitor network Facebook, Twitter will be getting into the medium themselves in early 2015. Users will be able to compose & edit a new video direct from Twitter itself (which, incidentally enough, will open the company up for further video advertising).

Direct Messaging Updates

While personally, I feel DM on Twitter is the bane of the social network’s existence, people like private communications. Starting as early as next week, the company will roll-out updates to Direct Messaging that will enable users to easily take public tweets private (which should lead to some even more interesting social media fails).

Location-Based Curated Lists

If the DM update is the least exciting for me, the addition of location-based lists is definitely the most. Lists in Twitter have always been a good idea on paper (like Communism…and the Bears), but they are tedious to curate & maintain. Automated lists, those based on geo-fencing to boot, would be a feature a longtime user like myself would actually get some use out of. Location lists also put interesting advertising options on Twitter’s agenda for 2015, and, as Carmel DeAmicis of gigaom put it:

So what do you think about Twitter’s plans for 2015? Myself, I see some interesting opportunities on the horizon for those of us in social media marketing; but, aside from that, as an avid user of the Twitters, I think there’s some cool updates coming that could enhance our experience.

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