Trying to take the guesswork out of trendspotting, Twitter is also adding descriptions to trends -- and in some cases, more data about a trend and its trajectory.
“We’ve been working to make content easier to find over the last several months in places like your home timeline,” Gabor Cselle, group product manager for content and discovery at Twitter, explains in a new blog post.
“Since trends tend to be abbreviations without context, like #NYFW, a description will make it clear that this trend is about New York Fashion Week,” according to Cselle. “The new trends experience may also include how many Tweets have been sent and whether a topic is trending up or down.”
Long criticized for flying over the heads’ of average users, Twitter has been taking steps to simplify its service and encourage users to stick around for longer durations.
Counting on the stickiness of moving images, for example, Twitter recently acquired live-video platform Periscope. Following Facebook's lead, the microblogging giant also recently began testing auto-play video ads among consumers with iPhones and other iOS-supported devices.
Despite efforts to broaden its mass-market appeal, however, Twitter’s user growth continues to slow, according to a recent forecast from eMarketer. Last year, Twitter's U.S. user base grew 12.1% to reach about 48.4 million users -- while user growth should fall into the single digits this year, eMarketer estimated.
By contrast, the number of U.S. Instagram users increased nearly 60% in 2014, bringing the social network’s domestic monthly user base to 64.2 million people, according to eMarketer.