Back in November, Twitter said it had a bunch of new features on the way, including a new video experience, and some updates to Direct Messages. At the time, they announced the ability to share and discuss tweets natively and privately via Direct Messages, but said that was only the first of several updates.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced Group Messages, which enables users to have private conversations among groups of people.
"Private conversations on Twitter are a great complement to the largely public experience on the platform," says product director Jinen Kamdar. "You might prefer to read (or watch) Tweets but converse about them privately. You might want to continue a public conversation privately with a smaller group, or start one based on a Tweet you saw. Many of you use Direct Messages to reach the people and brands you’re only connected to on Twitter. Whatever the case may be, the ability to converse privately with groups gives you more options for how and with whom you communicate on Twitter."
The feature lets users start conversations with any followers, and you don't necessarily have to follow each other. You can create groups, and you'll get notifications when you're added to other people's groups.
A native video experience on Twitter has been anticipated for quite some time, but when Twitter teased a couple months ago, it became clear that it would be here soon. It's here, and it's a mobile feature, which enables users to capture, edit, and share videos from the Twitter app.
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015
"We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life’s most interesting moments as they happen," says Kamdar. "In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap."
You can capture and share videos up to 30 seconds. iPhone users can upload videos from their camera roll right away. Android users will be able to do so in a future update.
Twitter's foray into video couldn't have come at a better time, except maybe much earlier. Facebook has been touting its enormous growth in video, and is really sticking it to YouTube when it comes to brand videos. According to a recent report from SocialBakers, brands on Facebook posted over 20,000 more Facebook videos than YouTube videos last month.
We spoke with marketing consultant Brian Honigman about Facebook video vs. YouTube in terms of marketing strategy. The subject of Twitter's impending video offering came up, and he believes Twitter could "seriously disrupt Facebook's strategy of edging into the viral niche," though "Facebook has a serious head start and always will."
Twitter does still rule the real time realm, and though Facebook is trying harder than ever to change that, Twitter's native video offering could be a huge factor in helping Twitter remain relevant in that space.
Both Group Messaging and the new video experience are rolling out to all Twitter users over the course of the coming days. You won't have to wait at all to participate in any group conversations that others start with you or to watch videos that users with access to the feature (like Neil Patrick Harris) share.
Images via Twitter, SocialBakers