Twitter rolled out a new promotional campaign this month entitled, “See Every Side”. This campaign is Twitter’s attempt to “refine” and “rebrand” itself as a news platform, while reinstating the company’s ethos of, “[being] what we’ve always been”. As ambiguous as this statement sounds, it is actually a crowd-sourced response to the question Twitter posed to its users one year ago, asking them to define what the platform is. To see what’s happening and, “what people are talking about all over the world”, is the reason users login to their accounts, scroll through their feeds, and become involved in the greater conversation, happening in real time. So, what Twitter has “always been” is an open stage and a platform for all voices to be shared, but as Twitter users are very familiar with, not necessarily all be heard or respected.
One of the most viral renditions of “See Every Side” features Chance the Rapper tweeting to his 4.47 million followers asking for song requests for an upcoming show of his. Followers, fellow celebrity musicians, and fans reply to his tweet and each others, and engage in digital dialogues of praise, excitement, and criticism. The ad features the physical reaction users have while reading the tweets in the thread created by Chance. Some are excited to find mutual interests with strangers, while others disagree with one another completely. What Twitter is attempting to highlight is the diversity of the users on the platform and the ability to connect with people from all walks of life. However, Twitter is not trying to show the site in a utopian perspective. By including “negative” commentary and unfavorable, in this particular example, opinions of the featured musician, Twitter is subtly acknowledging the reality of “Twitter-discourse” which is inclusive of online fights, passive aggressive humor, and misinterpretations. Yet Twitter’s attempt at an honest self-reflection may prove to not only be a successful campaign, but also a strategic first step at reestablishing themselves as a news outlet. Through pushing a narrative of diversity and inclusivity, Twitter is setting the stage to categorize itself as an un-biased, all-inclusive news outlet.
Twitter can now be found in the app store under the category of “news”, as opposed to “social networking”. This change is a part of the preliminary steps the brand is taking to reshape perceptions and push its new narrative which is reflective of how Tweeters are actually using the app. The “See Every Side” campaign is Twitter’s way of building a better relationship with their users by saying “we get it” in response to the ethos question, while also setting the stage for Twitter to expand its identifying affordances and features. Twitter’s dominant position in the social network sphere gives it the leeway to gradually trial a new identity, but whether or not the millions of active users will adapt their needs along with the transition of the platform will only reveal itself with time. Twitter’s CMO, Leslie Berland notes that, “Over the coming weeks and months we’ll continue to tell our story and the stories of people all over the world who are on Twitter, from every side.” Twitter’s strategic use of influential celebrity figures and attempt at an honest self-reflection is a way for the brand to reassure its users that the platform will persist and progress with changing socio-cultural climates of the world.
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