Have you ever heard anyone ask, “Hmm, I wonder if there’s an easier way to find out what’s trending on Twitter?”
Twitter’s newly introduced Moments tab is the answer to that question. Even before the Moments tab we had THREE ways to find out what was trending on Twitter.
And basically, under all the hype and explanations and good intentions, the purpose of this new feature is to search, by category, what’s trending. That’s helpful to some users–those who rely on trending topics to curate content, for example–but that’s not the intention behind the Moments tab.
The Twitter gods have been working hard to introduce new features to make their site more user friendly. Apparently, they’re losing traction despite their best efforts. I think I know why.
“Twitter’s user growth has slowed to a trickle, even as the company released a succession of products designed to increase user engagement.” -Terry Collins, Cnet
People who were using Twitter are going elsewhere to socialize. People who are curious don’t “get it” so they leave almost immediately; worse, they leave frustrated. The Twitter gods decided that problem was best solved with the Moments tab. I disagree.
People who don’t understand how Twitter works do not care what’s trending.
The whole platform looks like a jumbled mess to a new user, and adding a tab (or replacing one with a new tab) doesn’t help that. To bring in new users and bring back erstwhile users, try adding an Advanced Search function. Right now, Twitter’s search function is seriously lacking. Users have to know a person’s handle to find them. (Try finding me among hundreds of Jessica Wests. Good luck with that.)
If users are looking for replies to a specific topic, then they can search for the hashtag. But, the problems with that are new users are just as confused by the mess that pops up when they search a hashtag and they care more about connecting with people anyway. Twitter isn’t the NY Times, it’s Facebook Part II.
I think the Twitter Gods have forgotten what people go there for.
New users will prioritize how they spend their initial moments on Twitter. What’s the first thing you do when you open a new social media account, when you’re just “trying things out?” You create (and personalize) your profile. More options would be nice, but new users may be overwhelmed so I think Twitter is okay on this aspect. The next thing a new user does is search for and “add” their friends. THAT is what you need to improve on, in my opinion.
Even users who have been around awhile need a better search function. Sometimes users leave and come back. It’s almost impossible to remember all your friends’ Twitter handles, but you typically won’t forget their names. Again, try to search for Christopher Smith and see how far that gets you. You’ll give up sifting through results before you find one that might be the Christopher Smith you’re looking for.
Now, this new Moment tab does make it easy to sort trending topics by category and see what’s at the top of the list at the moment. But if you want to keep users and get new users, that’s not actually helpful. The only users who will probably find this useful are those who rely on trending topics to decide which hashtag to use when promoting their product/service. Sounds good, if you have users on the other end of that equation.
Who are they promoting their services/products to?
1- The users leaving Twitter in droves.
2- The potential users who just can’t even.
3- Those of us who use Twitter daily and love it but generally ignore whatever’s trending because WDGAF.
4- The Twitter users who actually follow the trends so they can jump aboard and ride the Trend Train. (I’m not judging, I’ve done it. It’s a fun way to waste time on Twitter when you’re bored or need a break.)
5- And finally the users who follow the trends and click on external links. (What’s your conversion rate on those trending tweets? I’m just saying.)
I can see the potential from a marketing perspective, but I can’t see the benefits to users on the other end of that equation. And without a benefit to them, why would they bother? To be fair, I’m viewing from the outside so I can’t see the whole picture, but I have a feeling this might be Twitter’s missing link. They want to bring in new users and bring back estranged users, but they’re pitching away at their current audience. They’re preaching to the choir. On the bright side, this is a great new tool for them.