10 tweaks Twitter is trying to stay relevant

It has been little over a year since ex Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stepped down over disappointing revenues. Over the course of the year, Twitter has tried a number of changes, but the stock prices continue to fall. Snapchat users surpassed Twitter users, and Instagram started attracting more advertisers. A report tracking social media engagement over the course of two years showed that social media use is falling worldwide. Here are 10 things Twitter has tried to stay relevant.

Periscope Shortcut

Twitter added a Periscope shortcut to its mobile app. Perhaps the reasoning was to introduce more Twitter users to Periscope. It is not integrated into Twitter though, so users are prompted to download the app if they do not already have it installed. Users had a pretty obvious feature request to make, integrate the services on both the apps. The Periscope app could do with a Tweet button as well.


140 second videos

In a move that would substantially change the brevity of Vine videos, Twitter has increased the limit to 140 seconds. Vine also opened up for commercial use, allowing revenue streams for content publishers.


Night Mode UI

There is an automatic night mode UI in the works that switches to a colour scheme that is more suitable for viewing in low light conditions. This is a handy feature, but is yet to be rolled out beyond the alpha and beta versions of the Twitter client.

Alternative Text

In a feature roll out that makes images accessible to the visually impaired, Twitter allowed users to enter text to describe the images they were posting. There is an extended 420 character limit for the descriptions in the alternative text for images.

Twitter image desc

Trending News

Trending news is a experimental tab that better organises news headlines, and the conversations around them. The feature is undergoing a phased roll-out, so everyone using the application does not have the same experience on it.

Twitter Trending News

Message button

Twitter added a message button, the latest in a series of new features added to the messaging functionality. These included group DM functionality, adding multimedia and longer direct messages.



Twitter is testing a feature that upgrades photos with overlaid template graphics. These are in the experimental phase, and Twitter is figuring out what to call them. Some options are stamptags, taptags and stickits.

Material Design makeover

Twitter got a Material Design makeover for Android. This integrates it better with the sensibilities of Google, and gives users a more streamlined interface. The most critical action buttons are brought to the front, with a persistent Tweet button always on screen. Less used functions that were previously persistent, were hidden away. The search button, for example, requires users to pull down the option from the start of a page scroll.


Retweet yourself

Twitter rolled out a feature that saved the time required to repost older content, or continue a one sided conversation where it left off.


More Characters

Twitter stopped counting attachments, links and mentions towards the 140 character limit for tweets. This gives more room for each tweet to be treated as a multimedia canvas, instead of a text message with optional extras. The problem is that this makes it easier to for the content to be in the link or attachment form, with the text being the context, instead of the text being the content, and the attachments and links being the context.


Apart from changes in the service, there are also back end changes in the technologies. Twitter has acquired Magic Pony for integrating artificial intelligence in its video and photo offerings. Twitter has also invested in SoundCloud. Maybe Twitter could turn its fortunes around by being picked up itself, and there is a lot of speculation on which company is ideal for this after Microsoft acquired LinkedIn.

Published Date: Jun 23, 2016 10:23 AM | Updated Date: Jun 23, 2016 10:23 AM