Twitter will add video and build more standalone apps

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Twitter will add video and build more standalone apps

During Twitter's analyst day conference there was also talk about future plans for features and even completely new apps. For one, there's been talk about expanding the use of Direct Messages. The idea would be that you could DM someone a public tweet and have a private conversation about it. The company is also planning to bring real-time video capture and editing to the Twitter platform proper. That means, rather than have to fire up Vine first, you can simply hit record from within the Twitter app to post video. While there are still a lot of questions about what the feature will look like exactly, we do know that it should be a little less restrictive than the six-second Vine service. Though, we doubt you'll be able to shoot a feature length film and share it directly from Twitter.

That doesn't mean that Vine is withering however. The company also plans to build many more standalone apps to help expand its ecosystem. Unfortunately, that's about as specific as it would get.

It's also no secret that Twitter has a bit of a growth problem. A big part of that isn't just getting new people to sign up, but getting them to stick around. Apparently there are 500 million "logged out" users on the service -- meaning these are people who aren't actively tweeting, but still making use of the service through search results or clicking on links. The company is hoping to convert those users to regular participants by hooking them from moment one. Part of the equation is a new onboarding process and "Instant Timeline." First up, Twitter is going to remove many of the existing steps in the signup process, and there will even be an explicit explanation of the value the social network provides. But really the big news is the step where new members will be asked what topics they're interested in. Twitter will then instantly populate their timeline with relevant accounts.

Obviously this lowers the barrier to entry. Rather than having to go out and find companies, or public figures you care about on your own, Twitter will simply bundle those accounts for you and deliver their tweets to you from moment one. Of course, there will also be an address book import step, for finding your friends.

The biggest challenge though, is how the company will keep the existing users engaged. Many have a time to start drifting away from the service. Especially as they follow more and more accounts, and the signal-to-noise ratio starts to lean in the wrong direction. Twitter will soon start prodding inactive users in subtle ways. And a new Timeline Highlights feature will try to make sure the content you care about most doesn't get buried under a barrage of meaningless whining from your college roommate.

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