Twitter to Get Refresh?

The rapidly growing microblogging phenom is expected to reveal a makeover this coming week.

For the last several months, a tsunami of media hype has washed over Twitter. And yet, for all that saturation, many folks are left scratching their heads, wondering what, exactly, Twitter is.

Well, it seems that Twitter's senior management has realized that disconnect, and is planning to take the wraps of a redesigned main home page to make the service clearer and explain how to use it.

"We need to do a better job of explaining ourselves to people who hear about us and then have no idea what do to," Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the tech news blog AllThingsD.

Stone said the new home page would come next week.

Furthering its mission to better explain itself, Twitter is also reaching out to the business community with Twitter 101, a compendium of tips and tricks covering things like how to launch a corporate Twitter account, Twitter lingo and case studies of firms that have done it right.

"We're often invited by businesses and organizations to talk about Twitter and how it can be used to better engage with customers," Stone said in a blog post. "Twitter is still a small team so it made more sense to do some research and make it widely available rather than personally visit businesses big and small."

Stories of enterprises warming up to the new mode of communications that Twitter represents have been pouring in for months, and a burgeoning crop of startups are making a cottage industry out of Twitter marketing.

But Twitter 101, like the coming home page, seems to represent the company's efforts to bridge the gap between Twitter as a curiosity and Twitter as a mainstream communications channel.

After all, it wasn't so long ago when tech bloggers were posting breathless stories about hipsters in places like Brooklyn and San Francisco sporting fail whale tee-shirts. (The fail whale was the image that appeared on the site when traffic to Twitter overloaded its servers, a common problem in its early days.) Since then, Twitter has been co-opted by celebrities (Kutcher, Shaq, Oprah, et al), and a great many mainstream media outlets have been falling over themselves to incorporate Twitter into their coverage.

And yet, Stone acknowledged that many people remain perplexed about the utility of Twitter, an issue borne out by the "Twitter quitter" studies from Nielsen Online, which have pointed out that of the legions of people who have flocked to the site and create an account, most abandon it after a month.

"We have to turn a lot of awareness into engagement," he told AllThingsD's Kara Swisher. "Our front page is not reflective of that right now."

In that spirit, a screen shot of the redesigned home page offers a prominent one-sentence answer to the question, "What is Twitter?", along with a few pithy accolades from media coverage.

The new home page also offers explanatory tabs delving into "why" and "how" in an effort to reach out to visitors who might still need convincing.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com.




Tags: Twitter, marketing, servers, startups, media


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