Free Assessment: How does your sales & marketing measure up?

Get Started

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.
Get Started
Kate Fodera

By Kate Fodera

Oct 30, 2018


Twitter Marketing
Twitter Marketing

Big Changes Could Be Coming to How You Engage on Twitter

Kate Fodera

By Kate Fodera

Oct 30, 2018

Big Changes Could Be Coming to How You Engage on Twitter

Twitter has never been a platform to shy away from making updates. The Evolution of Twitter Since the Dawn of the First Tweet lays this out and we can easily see that from 2006 to now, users have had to continually adapt.

Throughout the years, Twitter has launched verified accounts, introduced retweeting, added GIF functionality, increased character limits, among other things.

And it doesn’t look like they’re slowing down even as we’re coming to the end of 2018.

(Side note: I don’t think they should. A company that doesn’t continually change and make updates for a better user experience tends to get left behind but, anyway, that’s for another blog post.)

So, what’s Twitter up to now?

Twitter’s Latest Updates to Improve Engagement

Social Media Today reported that during the past month, Twitter has also been testing out a range of new options for tweet replies, including color-coded highlights for the original poster and threads based on each response, which we can see in the screenshot below:


Based on these mock designs, Social Media Today also suggest that:

  • Threaded replies to individual responses, making it easier to see who’s responding to what within tweet reply chains

  • Colour coding for responses from the original tweet poster and yourself, highlighting key replies (purple for responses from the original tweeter, blue for you)

  • Green dots on profile images within chains to indicate when a user is active and spark more real-time engagement (users would have the option to switch off)

To me, the cool part is that they aren’t making these decisions on their own -- Sara Haider (@pandemona), who is part of the Twitter Product team, has taken to the platform to crowdsource info from users.

The focus of this seems to be on making Twitter feel more conversational:

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 11.35.55 AM

If you look at the tweet itself, you can see that users are commenting, providing insight, and asking questions including:

“Are the replies still tweets?”
(from @pandemona - yes)

“What are those green dots? Online status?”

(from @pandemona - yes)

“Where are the like, retweet, share buttons in the replies?”
(from @pandemona - They’ve been moved out to explore how it would look to focus more on the replies — to show more of them and make them easier to read)

(Though we did learn this week that they may be removing the “like” button altogether.)

Not only has she tweeted from her own user account but is also looping other active users, such as Casey Newton, into the conversation on more of a one-on-one basis:

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 11.50.27 AM

It’s worth repeating here -- Twitter is just at the testing and crowdsourcing phase of these updates.

We haven’t been told that any of this is final but, as you know, it’s important for us as marketers to ahead of things  If we don’t think about the future of the platforms we use, we run the risk of being caught off-guard when updates are made.  

What Do These Updates Mean to Marketers?

I think there is a lot to note when it comes to the updates that Twitter is experimenting with.

1. Focus on how we really communicate

As we look at how communication is changing and evolving with time, there’s no denying that much of it is being done in the non-traditional sense.

We’re trading in phone calls for text messages or apps. We’re managing customer service through Facebook Messenger or specific customer service accounts for major brands. These possible updates to Twitter will allow us to more easily follow conversations with not only brands but also people we want to communicate with -- friends, industry professionals, brand influencers, and more.

Twitter’s even getting even more real-time, as we can see when the user is available to chat. This gives users an opportunity to spark up live conversations like never before.

2. Easier to Skim Conversations

By threading conversations and color-coding them, it’s just a simpler way to track who’s saying what, when, and to whom (if multiple people have responded to the same tweet).

The way the platform is currently, you can click on ‘See Thread’ if a conversation is happening about the tweet but it’s fairly difficult to understand what’s coming from the original tweeter and what tweets are coming in from other users.

See this example below:



Right now, you have to pay attention to the username as the tweets all look the same.

The update being tested would make this conversation easier and quicker to follow, especially if you’re focused on what insights the tweeter is sharing.

3. Twitter’s Listening to Its Users

This is less of an update but more of a shoutout to Twitter. I personally love that they’re using the platform to talk to the people who are actually active.

Often times, tech companies (or any company really) make changes based on their data rather than the people actually using the products and platforms (a.k.a. Their buyer persona).

By asking questions to the people who actually use the platform and keep it alive, Twitter is gaining extremely valuable, authentic user insight.

I think this kind of crowdsourcing and user testing is essential for companies when looking to make updates to their products.

This communication allows businesses to be sure that the changes are actually needed and that they’re not going to cause more frustration for people who are actually supporting them most.

The Bottomline

The updates Twitter is in the process of testing are exciting for users of the platform and for marketers.

Because they’re focused on increasing engagement and making conversations easier to be had, it would be difficult to see how these updates could frustrate users.

Plus, from a marketing perspective, it will be much easier to spark up conversations with the right people, to understand the line of communication through threads, and just make the platform easier to use.

I’m looking forward to seeing what comes from this. Are you?

Free Assessment:

How does your sales & marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.

Related Articles

Twitter teases Super Follows, Communities; undo send tweet still a rumor

March 11, 2021
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

Twitter has acquired newsletter publishing platform Revue

February 2, 2021
Melanie Moore Melanie Moore

New report: Best times to post on social media during coronavirus (COVID-19)

May 4, 2020
Liz Murphy Liz Murphy

Twitter Releases Agency Playbook for All Things Twitter

September 17, 2019
Lexie Ward Lexie Ward

Twitter Reveals Several New Features to Enhance User Experience

August 16, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Twitter Ad Platform to Remove Access to Third-Party Data in 2020

August 14, 2019
Dia Vavruska Dia Vavruska

Twitter Users Can Now Subscribe to Tweet Replies on Mobile App

August 13, 2019
Justine Timoteo Thomas Justine Timoteo Thomas

Twitter Launches ArtHouse to Help Brands Produce Better Content for the Platform

July 17, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Twitter's Desktop Gets a Much Needed Redesign

July 16, 2019
Carolyn Edgecomb Carolyn Edgecomb

Content Marketing Trends on Twitter You Need to Know in 2019 [Infographic]

July 13, 2019
Rachel Palmateer Rachel Palmateer

Twitter Went Down for 2 Hours & Reminded Everyone Why It’s Still Relevant

July 12, 2019
Ramona Sukhraj Ramona Sukhraj

Twitter Acquires Fabula AI to Help Fight Misinformation

June 5, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Twitter Introduces Live Streaming Feature: "Go Live with Guests"

June 4, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Twitter Experiments with New Desktop Layouts for Upcoming Redesign

April 30, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

How Jack Dorsey Plans to Turn Twitter Into More of a Community

April 19, 2019
Carolyn Edgecomb Carolyn Edgecomb

How To Be Social When People Don’t Trust Social Media

April 11, 2019
Jenna Ott Jenna Ott

Twitter’s “Timing Is Everything” Tool Aims to Help Your Videos Perform Better

March 11, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Twitter’s Hide Reply Feature Adds More Control Over the Conversations On Your Posts

March 6, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

Marketers Rejoice -- Twitter Has Just Released the 2019 Event Calendar!

January 22, 2019
Kate Fodera Kate Fodera

4 Things We Can Expect in Twitter's Beta App

January 18, 2019
Carolyn Edgecomb Carolyn Edgecomb

Coming Soon To a Twitter App Near You — A New Type of Conversation

January 11, 2019
Joel Waggener Joel Waggener

New Twitter Image Upload Process Will Improve Global User Experience

January 9, 2019
Iris Hearn Iris Hearn

A Tale of Two Timelines: Twitter Resurrects Its Reverse Chronological Feed

December 20, 2018
Nick Bennett Nick Bennett

Keeping It Short Still Reigns Supreme on Twitter

November 1, 2018
Jenna Ott Jenna Ott

Big Changes Could Be Coming to How You Engage on Twitter

October 30, 2018
Kate Fodera Kate Fodera