When you go for a walk around this time of year, the twittering of the birds can be lovely but confusing. So many different breeds all chirping away. The sophisticated walker will be able to pick out
the odd song and attribute it to a common bird. The expert countryman can go a step further and mimic a couple of calls, soliciting a response.
That's basically what Twitter is doing right
now. It's no secret that the social media platform is a pretty confusing place, with conversations flashing before your eyes and there seemingly being little difference between people broadcasting
endless views, news and links to those engaged in a two-way dialogue.
Listen to every word that comes from Twitter now, however, and you can see how this is where it sees its role. It's not
just there to help make sense of the background chatter that flashes past your eyes -- but also to allow brands to join in the conversation among those who actually want to chat. On a forest or
estuary walk, it's the countryman who can understand the chirps and songs and who can show you how to join in convincingly to get a response and become part of that chatter.
It's obvious that the
future of social media, like any other digital channel, is in data -- and so it comes as little surprise that Twitter presentations and announcements concentrate on its deals with Kantar, Nielsen and
others for data gathering and interrogation as well as its purchases of the likes of London-based SecondSync to tap into second-screen conversations.
So the new look, which is pictorially
led and based around better organised content being easier to discover, is a step in the right direction that will make brands a lot easier to interact with once they have caught someone's attention.
It has been referred to as the biggest change to the site in eight years, and interestingly, the worst criticism is that it makes Twitter look a little more like Facebook or Google+. How that can be
an insult to a site that otherwise has all the design appeal of a telephone book is hard to fathom.
But therein lies the huge difference. Twitter is positioning itself to be the helping
hand to brands which will crunch the data and allow them to appear before people most likely interested in them or even talking about them at that very moment in a second-screen chat.
Facebook does this. It has stacks of data which very strangely led one media buyer to comment to me the other day they'd bought a campaign targeting people who were 68% male. Apparently the multiple
gender and sexuality options mean people are not solely male, female or transgender any more.
However, the point is this. Twitter still allows people to have a conversation with
brands of their choice. If a brand posts rubbish or just shouts about itself all the time, that user has the ability to ignore them or unfollow. It's down to the user. Facebook has simply gone too far
in turning the dial on its algorithm to allow brand messages to reach less than a tenth of their organic audience which has elected to "like" them.
Facebook has just become another Google.
Everybody knows it, some are brave enough to say it loud.
It gives a vacuum Twitter can exploit perfectly. It can be the good guy which supports brands reaching out to new people holding
apt conversations but, at the same time, it doesn't interfere with the direct relationship between a brand and someone who follows them.
The worth of the data insights it is aiming to
uncover remains unknown at the moment. What is clear, however, is that right now, Twitter is playing a blinder.