There’s no doubt about it: Twitter is growing up. After a year of explosive growth paired with a total lack of strategy, the news coming out of Chirp seems to suggest that the micro-blogging platform wants to step its game. As we note in the lead story of SmartBrief on Social Media, the company has sketched out its future in more concrete terms than ever before.
Metadata for tweets, @anywhere functionality and better location-aware features made headlines this week — but those announcements all felt anti-climatic to me. These are things Twitter should have been doing all along — in most cases, they’re things other social networks already do. The announcement that it was going to provide more robust access to user data, however, got my attention.
Twitter’s simplicity makes it a powerful tool for research. It could tell us so much about ourselves and about how we interact with each other. The Library of Congress is acquiring Twitter’s archives for exactly that reason. Normally, social-media research makes me nervous, but I think that because Twitter is a broadcast tool, it makes a better candidate for academic work than most networks. Twitter is meant to be public, meant to be shared in a way that other networks just aren’t. It’s coming as close to a public record of what the world is talking about as we’re ever likely to see — and I think Twitter is smart to capitalize on that.
But what do you think? Are you happy with the announcements coming out of Chirp? What initiative are you most excited about? Are you worried about Twitter being turned into a research engine? What other directions would you like to see the network explore?
Image credit, M. Dykstra, via Shutter Stock