[email protected]: Industry Experts Discuss The Future Of Twitter

Who could believe it’s been 10 years since Jack Dorsey was “just setting up my twttr”?

At Unruly we love any excuse to break out some birthday cake! Social media has come of age. It’s been a decade since Unruly set up shop  in the Truman Brewery and a decade since Twitter first flapped its wings.

But today we’re asking what does the future hold for Twitter? From the early days of savvy SXSW users to today’s mainstream audience, Twitter has been there for every moment. Whether it’s breaking a news story, reporting astonishing sporting moments or simply a witty micro-moment that made you burst out laughing on the tube.  Birthdays are a great opportunity to eat cake, celebrate, but also time for a bit of reflection and a healthy dose of future gazing. So who better to talk to than some of the platform’s most engaged content creators? From community directors and strategic heads, to brand innovators and industry experts, we’ve got every angle covered.

So less from us and more from them. Here’s what they had to say about the future of our favourite 140-character feathered friend:

Matt Navarra – Community Director at TheNextWeb

“Twitter is still my favourite social network for connecting with amazing people all over the world BUT…I’m not the type of user @Jack needs to worry about! In order to survive for another 10 years, it needs to give users an increased set of features and vastly improved UX to prevent putting off Twitter beginners. If it fails to do this, and do this fast, the best it can hope for is another 10 years of being a niche social platform that fails to go mainstream.”

Lara O’Reilly – Advertising Editor at Business Insider

“Going public isn’t easy for any company, particularly one with revenue tied into advertising cycles and for a business that will be forever compared to the explosive growth of Facebook. It has several naysayers, but Twitter isn’t going anywhere. It has millions of power users whose content tops TV news bulletins and is distributed far wider than the Twitter platform itself. It’s real-time. It’s the Bloomberg terminal for all news. No other company has yet successfully emulated what Twitter does; the internet would be a worse place without it.”

Meagan Cignoli – Creative Director at Visual Country

“I love Twitter’s story. In the last 10 years Twitter has grown into something very different from what it started out as. To always be open to evolution and be fearless and smart when it comes to change, that’s something that inspires me so much and something I hope to do with my own company. What started as personal updates has turned into an essential, vital space for sharing information. As a platform, Twitter has really found a way to serve the community in a meaningful way.”

Barney Worfolk-Smith – Director at That Lot

“As a social creative agency who prove and scale creative ideas for our clients, we ? Twitter. Sure, it’s had a rocky few months and its future is not yet clear but perhaps now Jack Dorsey has delivered his electrifying ‘no one is coming to save us’ speech, it will rally and return to the happier days we feel it deserves. In the last 10 years it has been a profound architect of global social change, it has democratised information, it has given a voice to many who lacked confidence, it has enabled brands to develop a real-time dialogue with consumers and above all, let’s not forget that at any moment we can check in and see how Kanye is feeling.”

Pete Durrant – Digital Partners Manager at Comic Relief

“The next 2 years and one fundamental question is critical to Twitter’s future: why should people use it? Twitter defined a time and revolutionised marketing by bringing the customer to the fore. However, the consumer evolution towards narrowcasting through messaging apps and industry factors like the rise of Instagram as a place to get closer to celebrities has seen significant encroachment on its territory. Through a combination of choosing exactly what their USP is, what audience they want on there (Is it a professional tool? Customer service tool? Informational tool? A tool to complement TV? A place for breaking news? Can it be all of these things?), while diversifying its product portfolio will be key to its longevity and whether it sees in another 10 years.”

Hunter Harrison – Senior Director of Brand Strategy at Softway

“I can honestly say no other platform has shaped who I am, both personally and professionally than Twitter. It’s where I go for news. To get inspired. Discover trends. Laugh. Make friends. Network. It’s my everything network. I think this is what most people seem to forget about the platform. It has always been about adding value. Twitter has somehow found a way to feed our passions in a world where most social networks feed our insecurities. Twitter is constantly evolving. Video will continue to be embraced to a greater extent. I also think that ‘live content’ will radically transform the way posts are shared and consumed on the platform. While the future of Twitter is being widely debated, I think its core will remain constant. It’s about discovery, sharing moments and having conversations.”

Wahyu Ichwandardi aka @Pinot 

“The trend is going mobile with more portability: less (smaller & lighter) device form but richer contents. Video is going in the same direction; lighter formats with more content. We saw the birth of Vine, the rebirth of GIF, live stream broadcast, then shorter video news from the likes of Now This and Buzzfeed. They try to meet the digital needs of short attention spans, whether it’s a verbal or visual story. As the new service has to meet the new mantra: micro format, macro content, it has to be quick, fast, relevant whilst fitting in with each user’s unique character. Twitter has forecast this, so it is updating its algorithm. We will no longer see a chronological feed in our timelines, but an interest-based feed, because what it comes down to is we don’t have time for content that doesn’t interest us.”

Matt Willis – Founder of Yell Design

“I think Twitter will continue to push the ‘live’ feed concept of instant news, instant reactions and instant footage! Its simplicity is still its strength, the platform has survived without bloat. Let’s hope new features continue to be integrated seamlessly, built into the UI – not onto it. In a strange way, the Twitter community makes the platform feel like a single-source of truth, where the best and most highly-regarded tweets gain traction and rise to the top.

Yves Das – Founder, Looping Tales

“I think that images/videos will be the hashtags of the future. They will give you the option to stitch videos together to create new rich stories based on things that will be posted by users. Videos will be more interactive and naturally shoppable.  Twitter will become more and more a broadcaster with video in all shapes and sizes appearing heavily in user’s feeds. “

Jon Williams – Strategic Director at Red Pill

“Even if the face of a flat-lining user base and regressing ad revenues, I’d suggest they need to hold their nerve. Vine is the perfect extension for the brand, it delivers the same concentrated experience, which is what I’m sure retains its loyal user base, so a move to longer form content jars with that ethos, disrupting the user experience and I’m sure further impacting the numbers. Users are increasingly conditioned to more inclusive networking, posting to multiple outlets in a single session, so a slicker interface between the two (Vine and Twitter) would be a positive step, with potentially more ‘disposable’ formats to take on Snapchat (imitation being the highest form of flattery and all that). Change has seemed somewhat glacial, so maybe it’s just the fact that users have got bored. They don’t need to reinvent, they need to evolve, but in a direction that is recognisably Twitter.”