Recent Twitter news has been anything but good: quarterly reports indicate it’ll be the 2nd year operating at a loss, record low stock prices, and 8% of their workforce laid off. So why is a company with over 300 million users failing? The simple answer is lack of growth. In 2012, Twitter added 68 million users for a growth of nearly 50 percent. In 2013, the company grew only 25 percent with 56 million new users. With 47 million new users in 2014, the rate dropped to 18 percent. And with only 2 million added between March and June of this year, the growth is at a near stand still.
The problem Twitter faces: their greatest strength is also their greatest weakness—the reverse chronological timeline. This appeals to those who want to stay up to date, to know what happens as it’s happening. This setup works for those plugged in every day, all day, like a reporter trying to stay on top of a breaking story or those who sit at their computer all day and can see things as they happen. But, for the more casual users, those who only login sporadically, the primary concern is how important information is, not how recent. For those users this setup becomes confusing and frustrating. If you’re only logging in every few days it’s hard to backtrack to the tweets you read last. The “While You Were Away” feature introduced in January helped to ease some of that frustration, but it still was determined by when something happened instead of how important it was to the individual user.
But Twitter isn’t going down without a fight. Tweet this
This month they introduced the Moments tab. This feature is a list of stories, separated into categories such as “Sports” and “Entertainment.” Clicking on a Moment gives you a title and description, and you’re able to dive into the story by swiping. You see all tweets related to the Moment, regardless if they’re posted by someone you don’t follow. The tweets within a Moment still have the same interaction options. You can Retweet, Favorite or Share all from the same screen. Because this offers an easy entry point for the inexperienced user while keeping the overall functionality unchanged, Moments has a good chance of appealing to casual users without alienating established power users. It’s too soon to know if this change is enough to turn Twitter around, but it’s a step in the right direction.