So, is Twitter telling the world it would soon be known as ‘Twitter News?’ In a very quiet move, Twitter moved the app from the ‘Social Networking’ section to the ‘News’ section on the iOS App Store. For now, the switch is yet to be effected on Google Play Store. But it is still significant that Twitter decided to switch categories in the App Store.
The immediate result of this switch is that Twitter is now ranked number one in the ‘News’ section of the App Store. The move begins to make sense if you look at it strictly in terms of ranking. Because in the ‘Social Networking’ category, it was ranked at 5, after Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and Whatsapp. And this ranking has being that way for quite a long time. So perhaps Twitter got tired of competing against the likes of Facebook who with their Messenger app are getting more popular by the day. It doesn’t help that Facebook has being upgrading its flagship app to include live video functions, decisively taking the wind out of Twitter’s Periscope.
So why the rush to be ranked as number 1. For starters, there is that buzz of good feeling seeing your app as the top app in a category. Again, being at the top of the rankings means Twitter would have more visibility. Often, people with new phones tend to install the first apps they see in any category. Being the top app is the result of the number of downloads. And the rule of thumb is, people download a particular app more frequently because it is the best in the category.
This makes a lot of sense if you consider the slow growth of Twitter in the last few years. To put it bluntly, Twitter is not attracting new active users. Apparently, even after upgrading Periscope and changing how tweets appear on users’ timeline, people are still not downloading and using Twitter as much as the company expected. This has of course impacted on the bottom line: finances. Twitter’s financial outlook is not looking very bright.
So ‘Twitter News’ is not just about running away from a lost battle. It is mostly about survival in the long run. It is mostly about getting people to know that an app known as Twitter still exists. It is also about moving to a segment of the market where it can rule the roost. And perhaps, it is about being linked to something serious like ‘News’ instead of ‘Social Networking’ that sounds like a digital party.
It would take a while (we are talking a long while here) before ‘Twitter News’ becomes accepted the way we look at icons like CNN news or BBC news. For now Android users would be waiting for ‘Twitter News’ to appear on their Google Play store. Twitter has not released any statement on this new development yet.
photo credit: armdigital.in