Twitter's evolution from a tech network to a mainstream mashup

When Twitter started out it was used almost exclusively by geeky tech types, first as a way to stay connected at conferences, and later as a general water cooler to keep in touch, network and exchange ideas, and blow off some steam. Today, Twitter is a massive mainstream mashup where many if not most users #hashtag every second word, follow hundreds of real-world celebrities, almost never use direct messages, but actually, really, truly do use the Discover tab. Matthew Panzarino from The Next Web, an early-days user, decided to start a new account some seven years later and see what the modern, far more populous Twitter felt like for first time users.

Right now, Twitter is a product in transition. Onboarding new users is still a work in progress, retaining those users is a moving target, and making sure that the experience is as friendly as possible to media content is an unfinished job. But there are glimmers of brilliance here, and signs that the transition to a strong second act might actually work.

Panzarino gives a thorough breakdown of the sign-up process, Twitter's attempt to help create connections, and the general usability of the product. Sadly, he in no way uses #WhyISmile #wordstoliveby or #americanidol enough, and could probably stand to follow 10x more Biebers and SHAQs just to get the full and proper new Twitter feel.

There are many, even new users, who still use Twitter as a tech network, as much as is possible, even as others have moved over to app.net (ADN) for that instead. Like any big network, smaller subsets form and eddy about, sometimes growing, sometimes shrinking, sometimes merging, and sometimes breaking away. Whether you love Twitter now more or less than in its early days, it's amazing to see the changes that have taken place over the years, and even more amazing to think of where the next 5 or 10 could take it.

The web is littered with the bodies of dead social networks, killed by poor direction from the top, and user migration from the bottom. Twitter's trying not to become one of them. Check out Panazarino's piece via the link below and let me know -- how well do you think they're succeeding?

Source: The Next Web