We Have Notes

For today’s blog I thought I’d venture into the wild world of feature testing on social media apps. It’s common practice for a company to A/B test something on a section of your audience or following, to gauge the reaction and let the creators know that maybe their product needs some fine-tuning. The same is also true of social media companies. It has recently come to light that Twitter is trialling a new ‘Notes’ feature that lets you write a longer post with a character limit of up to 2,500.

“But I thought this was a micro-blogging site?” I hear you cry, and I understand your misgivings, but I think it’s a reflection of how much the site has grown since its launch in 2006. It has become the public forum for everyone from private citizens to massive celebrities and even governments. It must adapt to survive, and I believe this is a very canny move. I think this has come in response to the “mea culpa” posts the have been cropping up on twitter, where someone will post a screenshot of the notes app on their iPhone which contains a longer piece of text to circumvent the character limit.

This article on the BBC goes into greater depth on the feature.

“Since the company’s earliest days, writers have depended on Twitter to share their work, get noticed, be read, create conversation – everything but the actual writing…”With Notes, the goal is to fill in that missing piece.”

You can read the announcement here

The test will be rolled out for users in Canada, Ghana, the UK and US. It will run for two months, at which point, Twitter will gauge audience satisfaction.

The new product aims to keep users in the Twitter eco-system, with readers able to see a headline and expand the note by clicking on a link. You will be able to embed gifs, photos and other features into long-form essays that can be read on and off Twitter. Notes will be editable after they have been published – a feature that Twitter has long been reluctant to implement in their usual tweets.

The move follows Twitter’s purchase last year of Revue, a Dutch newsletter start-up. This follows a trend where they see a feature they want in another company’s product, buy them out then implement that into Twitter’s main feature set.

So, I hope you enjoyed the blog today. It will be interesting to see whether this feature actually gets used, or like vines before it, is the notes feature destined to be underused and quietly discontinued?

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