Twitter Changes Reveal Strategies for Modernization and Success

Now that Twitter has become a publicly-traded company, it's under pressure to prove profitability.

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Twitter has been struggling to make a profit for some time now, and estimates of user growth have fallen short. The company is trialling two possible solutions to create consistent expansion of the user base and value generation within the network. Can ridding Twitter of its ‘Town Square’ doctrine and revamping its look to bring in new users?

Indeed, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, creator of the idea that Twitter was a town square for the exchange of news and ideas, has dropped the concept. In a speech to mark Twitter’s first quarter earnings, he remarked, “We think of Twitter as this companion experience to what’s happening in the world,” according to ReadWrite.

The town square is now just too small to drive the network. So Twitter’s less interested in being a news source for industry insiders and more interested in being a constant companion.

To that end, the company recently implemented features that turn the service into more than just a social network. In a partnership with Comcast and NBCUniversal, users will be able to access television content through Twitter by setting a DVR to record. They can also tune into a live show, or start on-demand programming through their cable box. Additionally, Twitter partnered with Amazon to allow shopping via the hashtag #AmazonCart.

The goal of these features is to add consumer value to the social network. If strategies like these work, the influx of users will be exposed to Twitter advertising, and hopefully become more engaged users.

Twitter is also giving the user interface an overhaul. Since the platform has always preferred content over the individual, the feed has traditionally been more important than the person. Sachin Agarwal, one of Twitter’s product managers, hopes that aligning Twitter as an identity service could make the network more relevant to the masses.

“We really see the Twitter profile as your public identity online,” says Agarwal, “It brings together all the content you’re producing on all these services, all just coming in live. We want the profile and the @ handle to be things you put on your business card.” And that’s the main drive behind the profile changes: clearer identities.

The new profiles hope to bias content that gains more interaction by making it slightly larger and to highlight visual content such as pictures and Vines, so Twitter can shine in terms of embedded media. The platform certainly has an uphill battle if it plans to gain back its stock value, but a shakeup of the 8-year-old service might be exactly what’s needed.