The last couple weeks have been extraordinarily busy for Twitter, with a number of new features, altered functionality and other business-related news providing a steady stream of conversation topics.
But while the announcements, recapped below, are interesting as we see how the platform is evolving and coming into its own it’s incredibly important to remember that these are not things that exist in a vacuum and can be implemented in and of themselves. Lots of people are going to latch on to one or two things and execute them and call it a day. But when they’re considered in relation to what a larger program is meant to achieve and them implemented when and where they’re appropriate they can be incredibly powerful tools that work in service of that program’s goals.
Anyway, a brief look at what has made the news in the last two or three weeks. If you’d like more information on how Voce has used Twitter – or any other social media platform – in service of client programs drop us a line and we’ll be happy to talk to you.
First, the search.twitter.com functionality has been altered to more closely resemble what people have come to expect from search results. Namely, results are now weighted by popularity, with the three most popular appearing at the top, with popularity defined as those with the most retweets. While not perfect by any stretch that’s an important addition to the search offerings, one that has even more potential when extended to the API for other developers to play with.
More changes were announced later on with the news that the Library of Congress would be hosting Twitter’s full archive of updates. Along with that Google announced Replay, a service that will eventually allow for searches to be run against that full history of Twitter updates.
Then Twitter announced it has acquired Tweetie, a popular desktop and iPhone client. That filled a major hole in the company’s portfolio by instantly creating the first “official” app and the only one that could bear its name since it would be renamed “Twitter for iPhone.” While there was speculation that this would negatively impact developers of other software that seems unlikely since Twitter for iPhone would be exclusively for Twitter and not, as many others are, for also managing Facebook and other network profiles.
Next was the launch of Twitter Media, a blog and (of course) Twitter account that was designed to help media companies and journalists get to know Twitter and use it effectively.
After that was the big one, the announcement of Twitter’s advertising platform, named Promoted Tweets. The platform worked somewhat similar to search ads elsewhere on the web, with an ad appearing at the top of certain search results pages. Those ads, though, appeared like a normal tweet (though shaded for differentiation) and they could be replied to and re-tweeted just like a normal tweet. Twitter promised, though, that what it was aiming for was an ad environment that resonated with users and so those ads which did not have high engagement factors would be pulled. Twitter execs made it clear as well that app developers would not have to include them and that they were still free to run their own ads as long as they didn’t create user confusion. The company later promised app developers a 50/50 revenue split if they did run Promoted Tweets ads.
Developers got their own dedicated news when services such as Places (which gives them access to a database of locations for use in meta data), User Stream (which removes the call rate limit previously in place) and Annotations (which gave developers the flexibility to create their own meta data categories) were announced.
One of the first implementations of Twitter’s finally-launched @anywhere service was from Google, who launched Follow Finder as a way for people to discover other accounts they should probably be following based on shared Following and Follower lists. But it doesn’t weed out those accounts you’re already following, meaning there’s a lot of “Yeah, I know” going on in the results.