Twitter has been causing quite a stir among its users. The reason? They are testing a new feature. Soon Twitters will find themselves reading the tweets of people they do not follow. Oh, but their friends, or their friends’ friends do. Cue the angry Twitter mob. Just as with the debut of ads in the twitter feed, the outcry here will eventually die down. It is the early- and the hard-core users who are the most outspoken on the issue.
The current number of users in the experiment appears to be few but there has already been a great deal of backlash. The ability to “favorite” something without the world knowing about it as a tweet has long been a sacred right on Twitter. The fact that with the new update, the system of the “favorite” would be something akin to the Facebook “Like”, where everybody within your feed can see what you’re up to.This seems to be a sticking point for the heavy users, for whom the “favorite” button has a netiquette and social system surrounding it.
For the most part though, what would a full shift to this system truly change about Twitter? It will still be a source for breaking news, and a community to reach out to in times of trouble or joy. Twitter is a social network and that means it is only held up by the strength of its users. The more users it has, the greater the size and the farther the reach of that network. If too many users drop this social media giant because of one new push, then the whole Twitter foundation could collapse.
That said, there is little evidence to support any theory of Twitter taking a nosedive. Their profits are growing with the addition of more users, generally young users. It seems to be working for them, this plan to expand.
Twitter has weathered media storms before, and this time will be no different. Many changes have been implemented through the years since Twitter’s birth. The use of ads is only one such bump in the road. For every new update on notifications or the design layout, there is someone ready in the wings to complain.
Will this new development change the way Twitter works on a fundamental level? It may shift the way it is used as a central hub of social networking, yes. It will not be the death of social media, though. Twitter is too integral to the news media to go down without a fight. The way it connects people in times of trouble and spreads messages across the globe in the span of just a few hours, that will keep going. What’s the big deal about having to read a few more tweets? You might learn something new, or discover a new item. You might change your stance on an argument based on a tweet from a stranger. Who knows, this could be the start of something beautiful.