Happy Birthday Twitter: 7 Companies to Gift Yourself
Twitter, which now has more than 200 million users, turns seven years old today. To celebrate, we've compiled seven companies the social media giant may want to gift itself. After all, if you were possibly valued at $10 billion, wouldn't you splurge on yourself?
In Twitter's early years, the service asked users one simple question: "What are you doing?" It later transitioned to "What's happening?" in 2009.
(Read More: Google's Schmidt: I Was Late to Social Media Revolution )
Whatever the prompt, billions of tweets have been posted to the platform. But where are they now? Twitter recently gave users access to their archives in a download. That's a start, but Timehop takes this to the next level.
Timehop's iPhone application, along with its time-hopping dinosaur, Abe, will let you glance at your social media posts from that exact day in history. Once a day, Timehop will also email you past posts from that date. Since users rarely remember what it was they tweeted, Timehop and Twitter go together like a dinosaur and time travel.
Interestingly, Twitter co-founder @Jack Dorsey tweeted this week that "he's really enjoying @timehop." Time will tell whether Twitter teams up with a company focused on the past.
Polls on Twitter may be far from scientific, but it's an excellent way to take the pulse of your followers. Brands and personalities can easily tweet a question, but for now, a social media manager would need to tabulate the results manually.
Want to get a crowd's opinion fast? Post a question and Poptip will handle the rest. After tweeting out a poll with hashtags as potential answers, Poptip will track the feedback instantly. For example, a news outlet can poll its audience, "Should Twitter acquire Poptip? #Yes #No #Maybe" Poptip then records the answers and displays it on a dedicated and shareable results page.
While a polling service may be geared to brands and marketers, a Poptop-like experience may be the answer for Twitter.
LinkedIn users are notified when a connection changes a job or alters a job description. Shouldn't Twitter do the same? That's where Bio Is Changed comes in.
BioIsChanged.com will automatically search for changes in the bio and profile images of someone's Twitter friends. Users there have the ability to receive an instant, daily or weekly email with all profile changes.
The site was started by two students from the Netherlands and has received increased attention over the last few months.
4. Mass Relevance
Social engagement platform Mass Relevance, likely the most valuable company on this list, helps brands discover, filter and display real-time content.
While you may not be familiar with the company, you're probably familiar with its work. You'll often see tweets appearing on your television or on a screen at a conference that were seamlessly curated and integrated by Mass Relevance's system. In 2011, the company became Twitter's first curation partner licensed to re-syndicate Twitter content for display purposes.
Twitter let the world know it wanted to play a vital role in the media industry when it purchased social analytics company Bluefin Labs in February.
"Bluefin… will help us create innovative new ad products and consumer intersection of Twitter and TV," Twitter COO Ali Rowghani wrote at the time. To help it expand its window into the media world, it may make sense for Twitter to acquire Mass Relevance.
Mass Relevance CEO Sam Decker told PandoDaily earlier this month that an acquisition may not be the best fit as Twitter is more consumer-centric, while Mass Relevance is focused on brands and advertising agencies. Still, there has been some "tire kicking" he admitted.
Forget the Favorite button, it's time for Twitter to implement a feature that lets user save articles for later.
'Favoriting' replies and other tweets is common practice now, so using the same feature to bookmark tweets translates into an unpleasant experience when one has to weed through their Favorites stream to find flagged content.
Pocket, formerly known as Read It Later, has the answer. When you find something on your phone, tablet or computer that you want to view later, Pocket allows you to easily save it and add it to your personal queue. The simple-to-use service is integrated with over 300 apps, including Twitter.
Tech consultant Semil Shah recently wrote that he 'believes Twitter will have to acquire a service like Pocket because of the amount of time users spend inside the queue, which is also attention Twitter can monetize.'
With Pocket in its pocket, Twitter could own yet another action button by adding a "Save" feature alongside "Reply," "Retweet," "Favorite," and "More."
This week Twitter tweaked its iOS app's description to read, "Get real-time stories, pictures, videos, conversations, ideas, and inspiration all in your timeline" and swapped out this phrase: "an organized stream of Tweets that deliver the best content to you."
Two things stand out: Firstly, Twitter isn't only about Tweets anymore; what was once 140 characters is now a burst of just about anything—stories, pictures, video, comments and more.
Secondly, all different forms of media are yours in real-time. Do you want to know what's happening now? Twitter has users covered. This is why Gary Vaynerchuk, an author on social media, describes Twitter as "the listening platform of our generation."
With thousands of tweeted pictures and videos a day, marketers and researchers are interested in browsing the public's media in one simple location.
Using Twitter's search engine, though, will not give one access to all tweeted media. While it's a terrific tool to search hashtags and other keywords—one would have to query "Oscars pic.twitter" to locate a stream of tweets related to the Oscars that also included pictures. Aside for being a clunky solution, one would also be limiting a search to pictures tweeted from Twitter.com. If you want photos from sites like Twitpic or Lockerz, it won't show up.
This leads us to Skylines, the world's first search engine for real-time photos. Skylines will scour photo-sharing sites for pictures that have been tweeted along with a keyword of your choice. In fact, its search engine indexes over 5 million photos a day. It then displays the results in an easy-to-view stream on its website and mobile applications.
To enhance real-time search, Twitter might want to take a look at Skylines.
In June of 2012, Twitter rolled out a new experience for tweets with Twitter Cards. When expanding a tweet with links to certain sites, users were able to see content previews, images, videos, and more. This change led users to be more engaged with tweets without having to leave the platform, while website owners had additional real estate below the allotted 140 characters.
To create an even more interactive experience inside Twitter, ThingLink allows its users to tag images with links. When hovering over a ThingLink image, tagged icons will appear allowing viewers to engage with additional content, such as a YouTube video or audio from SoundCloud—all without leaving Twitter.
Image creators simply identify hot spots and attach a link with text. From there, an interactive image is born. ThingLink chief marketing officer Neil Vineberg says the company has seen click-through rates of over a hundred percent within a photo.
With marketers constantly on the lookout for additional eyeballs, something tells me this enhanced discovery experience is right up Twitter's alley.
— Written by CNBC's Eli Langer. Follow him on Twitter at @EliLanger.