11th August 2023
This week, X (formerly Twitter) shared that more updates are coming, including video-chat capabilities, as its evolution to an ‘everything’ app continues. Meanwhile, Threads now connects to Instagram DMs in a bid to boost retention.
In her first interview since taking on the role of CEO of X, Linda Yaccarino confirmed to CNBC how the company is embracing the “everything app” concept moving forward and mentioned new updates coming to the platform, including video-chat capabilities and alluded to the possibility of digital payment capabilities within the app.
Talking of video calls, Yaccarino said that X users will soon be able “to make video chat calls without having to give your phone number to anyone on the platform”, a comment that confirmed X designer Andrea Conway’s hint about the new feature earlier this week when she posted, “just called someone on X”.
Elon Musk has previously outlined his vision for transforming the old Twitter into his ‘everything app’ where users can follow their favourite content creators, watch videos, share their thoughts (with the potential for lengthy 25,000-character posts), transfer funds, make payments, and possibly even save money in high-interest savings accounts.
The company has been working towards these objectives. It recently introduced a revenue-sharing program for creators worldwide and enabled the uploading of two-hour videos. X also announced recently it is expanding its existing Brand Safety and Ad Adjacency Controls. The company also just acquired the @music handle for itself, indicating potential future support for musicians and artists.
Meanwhile, Meta’s new conversation app Threads which launched last month as an alternative to Twitter has been adding more features. The platform now supports sharing posts to Instagram DMs, custom alt text for photos and videos and a new mention button.
The ‘Send on Instagram’ option lets users publish their Threads posts directly to Instagram DMs via the Send button. This is potentially to tap into the trend of people connecting and engaging with DMs, as Instagram's Adam Mosseri has remarked that users share more content through DMs than in regular posts or Stories.
The rollout of custom alt-text will let users add descriptions to photos, or edit auto-generated alt-text tags, before posting. The platform is also adding a new ‘Mention’ button on profiles, so you can more easily mention an account in your post. Threads also recently added a chronological feed and the ability to sort your following list and view your liked posts. Finally, the platform is making it easier to verify your identity on fediverse platforms like Mastodon.
The new potential features for X are in support of the rebrand and long-term vision to try to change how people congregate, entertain, and transact in one unified platform. But the details are quite vague, and it is still early days in the platform’s evolution, so it will be interesting to see how some of these materialise.
After the much-hyped launch of Threads which saw the new platform draw 100 million users in its first week, engagement has since fallen, and the app is still not available in the EU. The new updates to the app look to be ways to drive retention, however, users may be waiting for bigger updates like a web client and improved search which are said to be ‘coming soon’.