Our user research team explores all facets of the Twitter experience to make sure not only that Twitter is fun and easy to use, but also that it works well for everyone, including consumers, businesses, and creators of all types. Recently, we turned our attention to the relationship between video creators and their fans. We know that people are using Twitter to talk to their favorite digital stars, and we want to better support this conversation.
Lay of the land
Based on past research, we knew that our most popular creators connect with their fans on Twitter, but they sometimes feel overwhelmed with the volume of Tweets that mention them. We also heard that creators who are just starting out with Twitter didn’t have an easy way to determine what kinds of content resonates best with their audience. We knew we had to make it easier and more rewarding to share and engage on Twitter, and to do that, we built Twitter Engage to help creators track their performance and connect with fans.
Meeting digital creators
Working with the design and product teams, we conducted semi-structured interviews with Twitter creators of all stripes: from a comedic Viner who inspired us with his journey to becoming a full-time video maker, to a man who uses social media to share his passion for performance basketball tricks. In these in-depth interviews, we focused on their journey from the very first video they made to what excites them today, and learned that many of today’s influencers and digital creators started out just having fun. These interviews showed us the power of Twitter to connect creators with their fans, and let us in on what drives creators to use the platform today, helping us identify their two main goals: reaching a bigger audience and being rewarded for their work. It also allowed us to develop a series of iconic user stories to share this knowledge across Twitter, and ensure we had our customers top of mind as we worked toward better creator tools.
As we wrapped up our initial interviews with creators, we started thinking about viewers and fans as an equally important part of the system we created. In fact, video creators were most excited by the ability to have authentic conversations with fans. To learn more about the fan-creator relationship, we went where these interactions would be most extreme: ComicCon and VidCon. This fast-paced, immersive experience helped us understand the fan-creator ecosystem more holistically, and start to train our intuition about what’s most important.
Conducting dozens of short, intercept interviews, we heard from fans who not only look to their favorite social media stars for inspiration, but feel a real, day-to-day, sense of connection with these creators. We learned that the relationship between fan and creator is based on relatability, and authentic, back and forth conversation. Being able to connect directly with creators and other fans helped established a sense of community on Twitter and enrich fans’ experience of their favorite hobbies.
We also learned that some of our most popular creators are overwhelmed by how many messages and mentions they receive from fans; flattering, yes, but it also means essential fan conversations may fall through the cracks.
To help fans and creators stay connected, we started experimenting with ways to streamline notifications and help creators keep up. Throughout this process, our design team created mock-ups and low fidelity prototypes to help both fans and creators imagine with us as we started to narrow down on the products we wanted to drive towards.
Weaving it all together
Each stream of research helped us strengthen our approach and answer questions like “how do digital creators evaluate a platform” and “how do people think about the relationship between different videos.” The key was to break the silo between these streams of research. To do that, we unified the fan, creator, and business use cases; presenting the research together to inspire our design and product teams as we moved forward with Twitter Engage, and more yet to come.
Did someone say … cookies?