Twitter’s latest new feature involves celebrities and brands curating “collections” of their favourite products and places for their followers on the social network – although in some cases, their lists are decidedly self-promotional.
“You’ll be able to browse rich collections from influencers you care about and get more information about the products or places you find interesting,” explained Twitter product manager Amaryllis Fox in a blog post as the feature went live.
The collections can be found by tapping a new “browse collection” on the profile of participating stars and brands.
They include musicians (Amanda Palmer, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Cody Simpson and Steve Aoki); other celebrities (William Shatner, Reese Witherspoon and Michelle Phan); media companies (Penguin Random House, The Ellen Show, Warner Bros, Fox Home Entertainment); and brands (Beats By Dre, Mountain Dew and Nike) among others.
What kind of products are they curating? Ariana Grande’s My Everything collection includes her album My Everything as well as branded t-shirts, a poster and social app Fahlo, where she has a profile.
Amanda Palmer’s World of Amanda Palmer collection includes her Patreon crowdfunding page, her Theatre is Evil album, her The Art of Asking book and a collection of her sheet music, among other products.
William Shatner’s Electic Cool Collection, meanwhile, includes his longstanding commercial partner Priceline and box-sets of his Boston Legal and Star Trek TV shows – plus quirky selections like a nose-shaped shower-gel dispenser and a “kitchen art ham dogger”.
The new feature looks less like curation and more like commerce, as things stand – something that may fit in well with Twitter’s desire to make more money from shopping through its social network.
In fact, the collections’ launch came as Twitter debuted another new feature: dedicated pages for products and places, to which many of the collections tweets link.
“These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price, and an option to buy, book, or visit the website for more information,” explained Fox.
“We’re starting to experiment with a small number of products and places. As we test, within your timeline you may see pages and collections of pages that are shared by influencers and brands.”
Twitter has been experimenting with online shopping for some time, launching a “buy” button in beta in September 2014. At the Web Summit conference that November, its president of global revenue Adam Bain talked about Twitter’s social-shopping ambitions.
“We’re experimenting with different price points with different products, and more importantly what emotions you need to generate as a business to get someone to buy in the moment,” he said.
“We’re trying to prove to those marketers that we can actually move transactions, and once that’s in place, a variety of business models come into play.”
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