Twitter is partnering up with a Singapore-based startup, U2opia Mobile, to make offline tweeting possible, reports Reuters.
This move is targeted at developing markets where there are more feature phone users than smartphone users, and Internet connectivity is an issue. U2opia already offers similar services to Facebook and Google(Gtalk), and will begin its operations with Twitter in early 2014.
U2opia uses Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) which is a text based protocol, that does not allow viewing of pictures, videos or other form of media. USSD services are popular in countries like India for other services like mobile banking etc.
Chief Executive and Co-founder Sumesh Menon said “USSD as a vehicle for Twitter is almost hand in glove because Twitter has by design a character limit, it’s a very text-driven social network”.
Twitter recently had a fruitful IPO recently, and out of its 230 Mn users, roughly 75% access it using a mobile device. The company’s 140 character limit model was based on text messaging or SMS constraints. Its platform was designed to allow anyone, anywhere to read, write and share Tweets. Hence now its going back to the basics, to grow its user base further.
And as per Menon, only 20% people in the developing countries access data on phone. And if we consider Twitter’s rival i.e. Facebook’s case here, it has 115 Mn users in India itself, its mobile presence (both USSD and app) is responsible for this enablement.
Twitter is working with U2opia to provide region specific content to its users, in order to break into the consumer market. The company will provide localized Twitter feed in 30 countries in seven international languages according to the location of the user.
78% of Twitter users are located outside United States, and it is trying harder to work on every possible offering that it could present to increase its user-base. Developing countries, like those in Latin America, Africa, South Asia could act as a soft targets for social media giants, as there is a huge base of new Internet users, who are still exploring the world of social networking.
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