Twitter Is Rolling Out Trends With Descriptions On The Web
Expanding on the mobile launch earlier this month, context about trending topics is appearing on Twitter.com. The feature is also being made available in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Earlier this month, Twitter started displaying more context about trending topics for mobile users of the network. This week, the company is moving the experience to the web, gradually rolling out the feature on Twitter.com.
Not everyone is seeing the change yet, but those who do are being presented with a description for each of the trending topics in the left-side bar. In some cases, there’s also information about when a topic started trending and number of tweets it has spawned. Here’s how it looks on the Marketing Land account.
The switch also means the end of the Discovery tab, which had already been deleted from the mobile apps. Originally intended to surface high-quality and popular tweets from a user’s network, Discover had been made largely redundant because by recent Twitter moves to surface content in other ways — for instance, the While You Were Away mobile feature and this week’s introduction of Highlights to provide a twice daily snapshot of the best Twitter has to offer.
Such efforts are part of Twitter’s strategy to improve the experience for casual users in the hope that more of them will make the network a regular part of their daily digital routine, crucial for a company trying to pick up the pace of growth in its base of 288 million monthly active users.
Twitter also announced this week that trends with descriptions is being made available to people in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The feature is still limited to English language users who have enabled tailored trends.
The new trending experience is part of a total overhaul of the trend platform, Twitter engineering manager Zhenghua Li wrote in a blog post today. “This is the largest engineering undertaking of the trends system since 2008,” Li wrote. The topic descriptions are created algorithmically, and in testing, have boosted engagement.
Here’s how Li’s blog post described what may be displayed:
- A description: Short text descriptions are presented to explain the meaning of a trend. Currently, they are mainly retrieved from popular articles shared on Twitter.
- An image: Surfacing a relevant image provides our users with direct visual knowledge. Trend images can come either from popular images or news articles shared on Twitter. [But images aren’t currently displayed in the web version of the widget.]
- Twitter-specific information: The volume of Tweets and Retweets of a trend, or the time in which it started trending, helps users understand the magnitude of conversation surrounding the topic.
Postscript: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Twitter needed build a new platform to create the new trending experience. It wasn’t a requirement. For full details about the engineering project, read the blog post.
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