Twitter just wrapped up their Twitter Flight annual developer’s conference, announcing a slew of new features, updates, offerings, and opportunities for individuals (not just developers) to use Twitter in new and exciting ways.
From the newly launched Twitter Polls, to long-awaited API features, there are some important changes coming to Twitter and its users over the next few weeks. If you use Twitter for fun, for work, or just need to stay on top of industry news, here’s everything you need to know. For in-depth updates and news on all things Twitter Flight, you can visit their various company blogs.
1. Twitter Polls are officially rolling out to everyone
Twitter Polls, those simple and sleek two-option questions you might have seen in your feed, will be available for everyone. Soon, anyone and everyone will be allowed to create a simple poll, and while many people don’t like the feature, it has quite a few potential benefits.
It will be used during live television programming such as sporting events and awards shows. Just one tap, and you can answer any poll question on Twitter, and all answers are anonymous as well. On top of that, polls only last 24 hours, so don’t plan any long-term customer surveys using this new feature. Instead, Polls can be used to engage your followers in a new way, or perhaps ask for instant feedback on questions that only need two possible answers.
— Twitter (@twitter) October 21, 2015
2. Twitter wants to help more with your customer support
Twitter wants to help you better integrate their service into your customer support efforts. The first step Twitter is taking towards making this a reality is enabling businesses the ability to connect a customer’s Twitter handle and phone number to his or her customer account with your business.
Through your CRM backend, you, or any customer service employee, will be able to see relevant information on the user, along with a way to track that individual’s Tweets mentioning your business over time. This makes it easier to see the history of the relationship between customer and organization, and represents a cheaper option than managing customer support with a 1-800 number and other traditional methods.
3. You’ll likely Tweet from other apps a lot more
Twitter wants you to celebrate, share, and inform your followers from other apps. Now, mobile app developers will be able to incorporate Twitter in two new, easier ways. The first is the option to preview Tweets in other apps. Chances are you’ve been prompted to Tweet from a fitness tracker, mobile game, or other application, but are scared to Tweet blindly. Now, you’ll have full transparency of what you post to Twitter from other apps.
The second update is for developers to add an “Install” button to Tweets shared from their app. For example, if your company or client has a mobile shopping app, any Tweet sent from there will have a download call-to-action to encourage more people to download the app. It’s primarily going to be used by developers that want to increase downloads via sharing on Twitter, instead of spending money on app download Twitter Cards.
4. New tools for discovering and embedding Tweets online
Content creators and online publishers will soon have a new suite of options to embed Tweets, Vines, and other content from Twitter on their stories and websites. Twitter will take inspiration from the new Moments feature, which curates and aggregates photos, videos, Tweets, and interactions around the same topic, to allow publishers more customizable options for storytelling.
One thing publishers will definitely enjoy is a new way to embed multiple Tweets together, offering a new way to surface Tweets other than stacking one on top of the other. Now, you can embed a series of Tweets in a grid format, and specifically, you can embed Twitter Moments on your website and content, such as the one below:
5. More support for developers using Twitter and its Fabric platform
The Fabric platform allows developers to build apps using Twitter, and today, more than 200,000 developers use Fabric, which reaches more than a billion mobile devices. Twitter announced they will add nine new partners to their Fabric platform, including: Stripe (payment processor for apps), Amazon Web Services (data storage), Optimizely (A/B testing), SendGrid (email client), Nuance (speech-recognition and language processing), GameAnalytics (analytics intended for mobile gaming), Mapbox (mapping and directions), Appsee (app user analytics), and PubNub (data for developers).
This announcement comes in response to developers who want more control over their work using Twitter’s platform, which will allow them to launch more products and tools. Instead of building these tools and services themselves, Twitter believes both internally and externally they are better off partnering with companies who have not only built the technology already, but are also experts in the space.
6. Twitter is making it easier to retrieve and understand data for content and marketing
Twitter has a company called Gnip that tracks, processes, and records every Tweet since Jack’s very first. Gnip makes it easy to collect and understand the data from hundreds of millions of Tweets posted every day. Twitter and Gnip announced two features to a new API offering: Engagement API and Audience API.
Engagement API “provides powerful and flexible access to impressions and granular engagement data for Tweets from owned accounts. This new data will help brands better understand the performance of their content so they can measure and improve their marketing efforts on Twitter.”
Audience API “delivers aggregate information about custom-defined groups of people who use Twitter, making it easy to collect valuable insights about these audiences. It does this by leveraging Twitter’s robust audience insights data set to deliver sampled, aggregated demographic and interest data while protecting the privacy of users.”
7. A new look and feel of the Twitter for Mac desktop app
Not many users have the Twitter for Mac desktop application, but that’s mostly because it lacked so many of the features we know and love on Twitter’s web and mobile versions. However, Twitter announced it’s completely refreshing the Mac desktop application, which will incorporate the following additions previously not available: embedded Tweet quoting, Vine playback, Mac desktop notifications, group Direct Messages, photo support in Direct Messages, and a few other additions as well not yet announced.
The updated Twitter for Mac application isn’t quite here, but by the end of 2015, there’s a strong chance more Twitter users will switch from Twitter on the web, to Twitter on their Mac desktop.