Twitter Aims To Come Back With A Roar

Twitter is broken and founder Jack Dorsey has some big plans aimed at fixing the ailing social media network.

His first problem is working out the space where Twitter sits with other social media.

Is Twitter a news network, a place for business or somewhere to hang out with friends?

No one seems quite sure and Dorsey spends half his working week trying to sort out the mess and devise a strategy for flying Twitter forward.

Twitter may have 300 million active users, but the core base is much smaller and many only visit once a month or even less regularly.

The user base also seems hostile to change.

Switching an icon from a star to a heart recently proved incendiary for too many users and almost a tweak too far.

Changing the Tweet format

But Dorsey has bigger plans in mind.

He has changed the format of the famous tweet. The 140-character limit has gone, well, almost.

Some elements of a tweet now do not count towards the character limit.

Media attachments, such as videos and images are excluded from the character count, as are @names in replies.

Users had already worked round the @name tag by putting a point in the front, like this: .@name

Now, users can retweet or quote-tweet their own messages. This lets them repurpose old tweets whenever they like.

New tweets starting with a username are no longer private. All the sender’s followers can see the message as if they were following the name at the start of the tweet.

Relevant and easier to use

“I want to make Twitter relevant and easier to use this year,” said CEO Dorsey.

“We have a place in social media and we want to broaden our offering to attract more users.

“We need to put across what Twitter is about and to tell people what they can do with Twitter.”

Whether meddling with the format is a bit like moving the deckchairs on The Titanic remains to be seen.

Dorsey realises the real problem is schooling social media users about why they should use Twitter and what the network can offer that no other network can.

The world has moved on since Twitter first landed in 2006, but the network has failed to move with it and has some catching up to do in the face of competition from the seemingly all-conquering Facebook.

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