Is Twitter Getting More Social Or Just More Complicated?

Twitter has added a couple of features recently, that while adding more social elements may risk 'jumping the shark' a little. The new features are the ability to see what tweets your followers are making as well as those made by people they follow. They also added a "stumble through" button allows you to shuffle through your followers tweet streams.

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Now how many people are scratching their heads wondering what all that was about and if it is something users really need?

The beauty of Twitter was its simplicity. Being forced to communicate in 140 characters at first seemed ridiculous but quickly took hold because it was simple. The company played with a few features over the few years of its existence but dropped most as they did not foster that simplicity. Now it seems Twitter wants more interaction between its users and are launching these new features to foster this. But should they?

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"You can see above that you will be able to click on a person that youíre following and see Tweets from their followers. This means that you are effectively looking at their Twitter stream," the Next Web noted. The feature had been available a couple of years ago but was pulled, they added.

The 'stumble" feature has not rolled out globally but the pic below shows there will be a button to click to go through and see others tweet streams. This could come in handy, but is it essential? Social media sites have a tendency to get lucky with their initial service offer and then make changes to what they belive their users want and in many cases they are wrong. Hey, even Google has launched bad products and pulled them quickly.

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Why do I want to randomly see a twitter stream of one of the people I follow? Is this a feature to just get more interaction? Twitter does not run ads so the extra pageviews will not add to their income - or are they ready to monetize and want to have some increased pageview generators in place?

One has to wonder if the people at Twitter are making moves that may become too intrusive and change the perception of this simple yet popular communication tool. Twitpics was a hugely successful feature - whether these two new ones become popular has yet to be seen. Personally, I don't think this feature will become very popular... but I have been wrong before.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.