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Twitter Will Now Let You Shoot & Upload Video From Your Mobile Device
Twitter's native video product will accept clips up to 30 seconds long; the company also announces a private group chat feature.
Twitter is finally ready for its video close-up.
Today the company announced the roll out of a native video product that will give mobile users the ability to upload clips of up to 30 seconds directly to the Twitter platform. Twitter also announced an update to its Direct Message feature, giving people the opportunity to hold private group chats.
Both moves, telegraphed by Twitter executives in November at a day-long session for investors and analysts, are part of Twitter’s campaign to convince Wall Street that it has a solid product-improvement plan, one that will lead to increased engagement and higher retention of new and occasional users. Twitter is due to release its fourth quarter earnings report on Feb. 5, so today’s move can be seen as a signal to investors that the company is making progress, or at least making an effort.
With native video, Twitter is aiming to capture some of the momentum enjoyed by Facebook, which is now challenging YouTube as a place upload and watch video. Facebook’s video success was triggered largely by this summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge videos, Facebook’s adjusting the News Feed algorithm to favor video and the fact that native video on Facebook plays automatically in people’s streams.
There had been speculation that Twitter would enable autoplay on its native video, but that isn’t the case. Native video will be displayed with a thumbnail; users can view with a tap on mobile devices or a click on the web.
Today’s video release is narrowly focused on consumer video on mobile devices. The feature — a video camera and editing tool within Twitter’s iOS and Android apps — will roll out slowly to all users in the next few days, Twitter said in a blog post. Users of iPhones will also be able to upload video from their phone’s camera roll, a feature that Twitter said is coming “soon” on the Android app, but users will not be able to upload video using a web browser.
Here’s how the video composer looks on an iPad:
And here’s a video tweet from Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris, that Twitter is billing as the first tweet using the mobile video camera:
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015
Marketers, of course, will be able to use the video product as well, but at the moment there are no special advertising features built in. Tweets that include native video can be promoted and targeted like any other, but advertisers looking for video solutions that include pre-roll will still need to use the Twitter Amplify product.
DMs Now Enable Private Conversations With A Group
Since its beginnings in 2007, Twitter has favored the public message, often to the point of neglecting its private Direct Message system. Now, however, it is turning its attention to back-channel communications that it had been largely ceding to competitors like Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp.
In November, soon after the analysts day, Twitter gave users the ability to share public tweets privately within DMs. Today, it’s enabling people to set up group chats out of the public eye.
Users will be able to start a group conversation with up to 20 of their followers, and “they don’t all need to follow one another in order to chat.” People who are invited to join a group chat will receive a notification.
Twitter has created a help page that explains more about the features of group chat here and here’s a video demo:
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