In order to let you forward the video, another social media giant has begun to learn from Douyin | Great Voyager

"What's happening?"

This is Twitter's input box prompt.

Just as it changed its category in the Apple Store from "social network" to "news", among social platforms, Twitter appears to be less entertaining and has the strongest news attributes.

But in the past few months, Twitter's internal testing has been frequent, and it has even learned from the overseas version of Douyin, which has a "different style".

Twitter's new posture

On January 6, Twitter announced that it was testing a feature called "Quote Tweet with reaction," a new form of retweeting in which users can refer to a tweet as Embed "stickers" in a photo or video, and use the photo or video to express your thoughts about the tweet.

▲ How to operate.

This feature is currently being tested on iOS. If the user has access to the feature, the "Retweet" menu will have a "Cite a Tweet with Reaction" option, click it to bring up the recording screen, and take a photo or video embedded in the Tweet.

▲ Example of a Product Owner. Image via: Twitter @samhaves

According to one Twitter product manager, they hope the new feature "provides more creative ways to encourage more users to join the conversation and express themselves."

But this form of tweeting as a sticker isn't new, and in December 2020, Twitter was already rolling it out on the photo-sharing app Snapchat .

After a user chooses to share a public tweet to Snapchat, they can directly access Snapchat's camera and editing features, adjust the sticker size and position, add doodles, filters, text, create a new Snap as usual, and share it with friends, Or add to your own story.

▲ Share the tweet to Snapchat.

The smooth cross-platform sharing experience isn't everything. The most interesting part is that anyone who sees this Snap can click on the Twitter link on the image to return to the original tweet. After all, driving traffic back to Twitter is king.

▲ Click the link to go back to Twitter.

Twitter said at the time that a small group of iOS users would soon be able to experience the same functionality in Instagram Stories.

▲ Share the tweet to Instagram Stories.

On January 7 this year, Twitter began testing a new design on iOS, where users can compose tweets directly at the bottom of the timeline, rather than clicking a button to enter the compose screen.

▲ Write a tweet directly at the bottom.

These small, accessible innovations illustrate how Twitter wants to make it easier for users to write and distribute tweets, both within the app and widely distributed across every major social media platform.

However, there are also concerns about the new sharing method. Some internal beta users are concerned that, compared with conventional retweets, it is more difficult to find illegal content through photos or videos, which may encourage harassment and other illegal behaviors.

Twitter spokesperson Viviana Wiewall responded that this new retweet method inherits standard quoting tweet behavior, such as limiting who can reply to a tweet, and they will also closely monitor the use of the product to ensure that Twitter rules can adjudicate any abuse. .

How many social platforms have the shadow of Douyin

Twitter's "reaction tweet" is very similar to the "video reply to comments" function of Douyin and TikTok (the overseas version of Douyin).

The "Video Reply to Comments" function is aimed at the comments received by one's own work. Select a comment that needs to be replied, click the "camera" icon on the left, and call out the recording interface. This comment is attached to the screen in the form of a label, and then like Just record, edit, and publish your video as usual.

▲ Douyin video reply function.

The most important thing is that the creator can choose whether to let this video appear in the comment area and the work page at the same time. The comment area is dedicated to interacting with fans, and the works may be integrated into the "guess you like" video stream.

▲ Post a video reply.

If other users see this video, they can not only know what you are making the video for, but also can go back to the original video by clicking the "Comments tab" in the video and selecting "View Comments".

▲ Go back to the original video by checking the comments.

That said, while recording a video is more of a hassle than replying to a text, it maximizes the power of a comment—a new password for traffic. Each "reply video" incarnates a "virus" that spreads the information flow, helping the original video to form a "viral spread".

"Reply Video" is also triggering new conversation topics and spawning new subcultures.

As of the end of June 2020, TikTok's "#replytocomments" hashtag had been viewed more than 1.8 billion times.

▲ Instagram's video reply function. Image from: the verge

In addition to Twitter, social apps such as Instagram and Pinterest are also imitating Douyin's video reply feature.

However, if the “Video Reply” function really plays tricks, it is also the content discovery form of short videos that is at play. It is just another simple creation and sharing of short videos, which is naturally suitable for TikTok’s ecology. As TikTok official said:

What better way to respond to comments on TikTok than with a video? It provides more context, answers questions and explains all the details in unique TikTok style.

Then it goes back to why the whole world loves to use mobile phones to "swipe" short videos. There are too many articles on this aspect. Ai Faner also wrote "Why is Douyin Addictive?" " .

▲ Picture from: Simple Psychology

Behind the funny and interesting video content, the real addictive details are the large and small interactive details, such as guessing your favorite algorithm, full-screen immersive viewing experience, tension and drive caused by 15 seconds, these details eventually cause a surge of dopamine and "behavioral addiction".

In July 2021, TikTok became the first non-Facebook app to reach 3 billion downloads worldwide; in September 2021, TikTok reached 1 billion monthly active users. According to Cloudflare statistics, TikTok replaced Google and ranked first in the world's most popular domain names in 2021. Who isn't jealous?

▲ YouTube Shorts. Image from: YouTube

So, before following the trend of the "video reply" function, we have already seen mainstream apps launch short videos of "go after you", such as Instagram's Reels, Snapchat's Spotlight and YouTube's Shorts , even streaming platform Netflix and music app Spotify Also trying.

▲ Spotify's music video stream. Image via: Twitter @chrismessina

This time around, Twitter , too, announced on December 9, 2021, that it was testing a new feature that turns its in-app Explore page into a TikTok-like video feed, and even a TikTok-style For You Label.

Twitter says it's an improved, more personalized Explore page that "makes it easier for users to relax, find new interests, and learn about the best content that's trending."

Facing the new traffic king, is the old social platform anxious?

Twitter has borrowed from TikTok again and again, which in fact just shows that in terms of content logic, distribution and creation, the Internet has changed round after round.

Foreign media TechCrunch pointed out that TikTok is not easy to imitate. In addition to the short video magic that has been discussed over and over again, there is another reason that cannot be ignored-the content network effect.

▲ Picture from: TechCrunch

Simply put, "content network effects" mean that every piece of content on TikTok adds "value" to other content.

The value here does not refer to the judgment of the quality of individual information, but that they "continuously" maintain the vitality of a whole.

All kinds of hot songs with one-click "shoot the same style", popular trends categorized by topic, and certain easy-to-follow shooting forms (such as seaweed dance and duet) can be used repeatedly as memes or templates, which are naturally viral Born to spread.

This gust of wind blows, and there will be another.

▲ Select a hot song to shoot the same style.

At the same time, TikTok provides creators with simple video creation tools and super-large-scale communication channels, lowering the threshold for amateur creators to generate content.

When a creator takes a drink from this endless well of inspiration, it also means that it has been renewed; even if you are a new user who doesn't follow anyone, you can still receive a steady stream of content on the homepage , just give the algorithm a little time, and it can guess you and lure you back here again and again.

▲ Picture from: unsplash

But Twitter has never been like this. Its content distribution is often based on subscription relationships. You follow someone or a topic, and then see them in the timeline and sidebar menu. Give back.

This is its feature, which is liked by many users, and at the same time makes it impossible to replicate TikTok's content ecology.

Of course, Twitter also has irreplaceable strengths. It is indispensable to the activity brought by politicians, celebrities, trending topic discussions and major news events. In recent years, sports, e-sports live broadcasts and advertising conversions have also improved, targeting online violence and spam. The technical optimization of information improves the user experience.

According to the 2021 Q2 earnings report, Twitter's monetizable daily active users increased by 11% year-on-year to 206 million.

Meanwhile, Twitter appears to be entering a phase of innovation, fast-tracking some nice product trends, such as Spaces (Clubhouse-like real-time audio products), Blue (paid subscription service), and Tip Jar ( tip features).

▲ Spaces.

But not every imitation is successful. In August 2021, after an eight-month test, Twitter shut down its Snapchat-like feature, "Fleets," which was placed at the top of the timeline and allowed users to post content that disappeared within 24 hours. Many major social platforms have some form of "disappearance" feature, so it's no surprise that Twitter is trying.

But Twitter product managers found that Fleets was not a good fit for Twitter, it didn't bring new users, it was used more often by old users, and it caused some confusion.

Luckily, the experiment wasn't in vain, and they found that Twitter users needed more quickly to share photos and videos, and the top of the timeline was a good place to highlight events.

Twitter has accelerated its pace in the past two years to learn from experience, perhaps due to reflection and vigilance over the past period of low ebb.

In the early years, Twitter only provided short text messaging services. The limit on the number of tweets and the pioneering of the timeline information flow made it naturally mobile, but the slow product iteration made it miss the opportunity of pictures, short videos and live broadcasts. The short-video app Vine, acquired in 2012, could have seized the opportunity, but it was left to fend for itself.

It may be a good thing for veteran social platforms to keep trying and obsoleting new features, threatened by new top-tier and old rivals, and it helps them rethink the essence of their products, as Ilya Brown , vice president of consumer products at Twitter, said:

We're evolving the nature of Twitter and trying something bolder to serve the public conversation. Many of these updates, like Fleets, are speculative and won't work.
We will critically evaluate what works and know when to move on and focus elsewhere. If we don't constantly improve methods and reduce features, we won't be able to capture big enough opportunities.

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