Happy 9th Birthday Twitter! Here’s to your future..

On Twitter’s 9th birthday, Ed Kitchingman, Social Insights Director at MEC UK, reflects on the platform and the role of streaming in its future.


When Twitter turned 9 on Saturday co-founder @jack directed his thanks specially at journalists. He tweeted:


The Meerkat app that’s been responsible for so much buzz and dominated at SXSW may well turn out to be a fad. In social we have a horrible habit of  all converging on something new as soon as there’s a bit of traction; blogging about it, declaring something to be the next big thing, and before it’s even had time to breath we move on to the next app/platform , ello anyone….?

However Jack Dorsey’s tweet indicates why live streaming on Twitter makes for such a winning proposition, even if Meerkat might not be the app that does it.

Jack’s tweet, perhaps unwittingly, recognises Twitter’s success has not actually been getting people to tweet regularly (which is something the platform has struggled with) but access to the type of people who are tweeting like journalists, sport stars and pop stars. What Meerkat offers is an added dimension to bring these people closer to the fans following them. For journalists or news outlets, like the BBC and CNN, or even the event itself, it enables them to go one step beyond live tweeting by empowering them with the ability to broadcast live their thoughts to followers or coverage of the event. Something journalists  are already harnessing

For the general Twitter user base all we have to do is look at the impact of other visual mediums: the rise of vloggers and the popularity of Vine and Instagram stars to see why live video streaming has such potential.

Video is the present and the future for social

Twitter has embraced the renewed impetus live streaming offers the platform…it’s just not with Meerkat.  A couple of weeks ago it announced the acquisition of Periscope, a start-up developing a Meerkat-like live streaming app for smartphones. It quickly put the kibosh to some of Meekat’s momentum by stopping access to its social graph.

Investing in video is part of a wider social trend from networks who are responding to a desire from social media users to be entertained via either short or long form video content, or to utilise the format to communicate.

Mark Zuckerberg believes in 5 years “most of (Facebook) will be video” and Facebook’s native video capabilities have been supplemented with a move towards premium content. They have signed a deal with the NFL to show video clips to include game highlights and NFL news- ABC News, Access Hollywood and YouTube’s top news channel, The Young Turks Network

Snapchat has been one of the most forward thinking of all the platforms with its use of video. Launching Discover, where brands like Vice, Daily Mail and ESPN provide daily updates that mix video with text and using video as part of its story format. Although less seismic, Instagram’s main evolution has also been in this area: putting its video format on loop (an extra fillip for advertisers) and enabling people to be creative via its hyperlapse app.

As video becomes increasingly integrated into social networks and how we communicate Twitter needed something extra to fight the rise of Snapchat, the creativity of Instagram and the behemoths of YouTube and Facebook.

It just might have found it with live streaming.

If you’d like to chat with Ed please contact him through the @MECUK twitter handle