Words, links and hashtags are nice, but starting Tuesday, Twitter is making pictures and videos a more important part of its service as it strives to appeal to more users and advertisers ahead of its public stock offering.
The San Francisco social network announced that users will now automatically see photos and Vine videos shared by those they follow as they go through their timelines.
Previously, users had to click on tweets that included links to photos and Vines in order to expand the tweets and see the content.
"Starting today, timelines on Twitter will be more visual and more engaging: previews of Twitter photos and videos from Vine will be front and center in tweets," the company said. "To see more of the photo or play the video, just tap."
The move is part of Twitter's recent strategy to make the service more user-friendly as it readies to go public. One of the concerns Twitter and observers have with the service is that it has had trouble growing over the last year, and many believe that's because new users are intimidated by the social network's complex structure and hard-to-follow layout.
Making pictures and Vine videos appear automatically should make the timeline feature, which displays tweets posted by those who users follow, more appealing to new users who are still trying the service out.
Additionally, the modification should make the service a more appealing place for companies to advertise. Currently, companies often include links to picture advertisements in their tweets, but users only see the picture if they click to expand the tweet. Having pictures appear as they do on Facebook should entice more companies to be active on Twitter as well as pay for promoted tweets.
Twitter said the change will happen automatically to its website. Apple iOS and Android users will see the change when they update their Twitter apps.
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