Under intense media and investor scrutiny amid slowing user growth, Twitter on Wednesday gave the public a look at its roadmap for the next year, using its first-ever Analyst Day to explain how it intends to add more users who both tweet and consume content on the service.
For new users, Twitter touted recent changes to its onboarding process that make it easier to sign up. Through an upcoming feature called "Instant Timeline," for example, first-time tweeters will be able to initially pick from categories like sports, television and technology to be automatically shown a feed of interesting tweets and users. Twitter will also better educate new users on the site’s quirky parlance, which is currently complicated enough to necessitate a glossary.
The company also plans to roll out new features to get current users visiting more often. A new “Timeline Highlights” section will display popular tweets that were sent while a user was not on the site and live above Twitter's traditional chronological list of tweets. Users will also be able to send public tweets to other users in direct messages to discuss privately. Twitter is also planning to introduce more event landing pages, similar to ones used during the World Cup and for NFL football games. Finally, Twitter will soon let users shoot and upload videos from directly within the Twitter app.
In addition to these changes to Twitter proper, the company said it plans to launch more independent apps similar to the microvideo sharing service Vine that Twitter acquired in 2012. Twitter didn’t specify what its standalone apps might do, but rival Facebook has released single-purpose apps for private messaging and group chats, among other features.
To address ongoing criticism of its slowing growth rate, Twitter emphasized its opportunity to better engage with the massive number of people who visit the social network every month without logging in—500 million people in total. The company is offering its top 50,000 hashtags each day to be indexed in search engines, thus enabling all Internet users to peruse Twitter when viewing search results. It will also present more content recommendations to logged-out users who visit the site — someone who stumbles upon Katy Perry’s page, for example, might see links to other pop stars’ profile pages.
The scope and specificity of Twitter’s presentation seemed to please Wall Street, as the company’s stock climbed more than 7% in midday trading Wednesday.