From short texts to livestreaming, Twitter evolves new features

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2021 06:44 PM

From short texts to livestreaming, Twitter evolves new features 1
Twitter Spaces sample interface. Screengrab

MANILA - From text Tweets, Twitter has evolved and now has videos, live streaming as well as audio chat rooms to keep the platform interesting for users, one of its regional officials said.

With newer social media platforms like Snapchat and TikTok competing for attention, Twitter has introduced a slew of new features to keep users engaged as well as attract fresh blood into the platform.

As a "passion and interest network," Twitter allows users to follow conversations that they're interested in using Topics as well as Twitter Spaces, Twitter Southeast Asia Managing Director Arvinder Gujral told ABS-CBN News.

With Topics, users have the ability to choose the content they'd like to see without having to follow specific Twitter accounts.

Currently, there are 5,000 Topics to choose from, with new Topics added every week. Around 70 million accounts are already following topics, it said.

Videos have also "dominated" conversations, with video Tweets about food and gaming among the most popular for Filipinos.

In 2020, Filipinos recorded a "striking" 7 million Tweets about food including those with video. The Philippines is also the 9th country in terms of Tweet volumes in gaming, which was a "phenomenal" record, Gujral said.

"These are the things that keep Twitter interesting for users to come and discover their interests without having to work so hard," Gujral said.

"Seven or 8 years ago it was so difficult to find the right handle to follow, find the topic you’re interested in, now you can just follow the Topic, let the machine show you the Tweets related to the topic," he added. 

Twitter Spaces, introduced in 2020, is a "very natural thing" and organic thing to happen next to texts, GIFs and videos. 

It allows users to host, participate or just listen to audio "rooms." It will soon launch for everyone, Gujral said. Some Filipino users, he said, are already engaging others in audio conversations.

"You can go in any room which you find most interesting, go there and listen to their commentary. You can either go and participate in the commentary or you can just listen more," he said. 

Live streaming is also gaining popularity, especially during the pandemic. E-commerce giants hold live events and even globally acclaimed entertainment groups hold concerts on the platform.

"One of the most breakout things that happened on Twitter is actually live streaming in 2020, and [in] 2021 and it would continue. Why? It’s the most incredible way for people to get connected to their passion," he said.

Live streaming has grown "exponentially" on Twitter and is likely to continue to trend in the coming years, he said.

FUN-LOVING FILIPINO TWITTER COMMUNITY

Filipinos love life and entertainment. Filipinos love to Tweet about food, KPop, basketball, beauty pageants, sports and "teleseryes," Twitter data showed.

"I think, Filipinos love life and they show their love of life on Twitter. It’s all fun stuff, all these are fun, positive, living life, enjoying life together. It’s a happy community and it’s really good to see that," Gujral said. 

In 2020, Filipinos found comfort in social media during the pandemic with 7 million food Tweets led by #DalgonaCoffee and #UbeCheesePandesal, the platform said.

Aside from food, Tweets and hashtags about P-Pop band #SB19 as well as love team Maymay Entrata and Edward Barber topped the charts.

Twitter is also continuously beefing up its platform to protect public conversations from misinformation especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While doing all that, Twitter is also using its platform to do it part of of "bringing smile" to its users, Gujral said.

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