Twitter shakes up photos and introduces tagging as Instagram overtakes in monthly users

Micro-blogging service continues to move towards the mainstream but is in danger of alienating current users

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The Independent Tech

Twitter has introduced two new features designed to help users share more messages and images.

The micro-blogging site now lets users tweet photographs with ten individuals tagged in them without using the @ sign and share up to four photos in a single tweet - in effect creating a miniature album.

The changes are designed to increase Twitter’s mainstream appeal, removing apparently arcane signals such as the '@' sign to make the service more streamlined and less intimidating to new users.

Twitter is certainly facing increasing competition in the mobile market, with analysts E-Marketer announcing earlier this week that photo-sharing app Instagram had overtaken the micro-blogging site with US smartphone users.

The firm reported that nearly 35 million Americans used Instagram at least once a month least year, compared with 30.8 million who used Twitter.

This battle for our social mobile spaces has also become more crowded as messaging apps such as WhatsApp creep into similar spaces.

Although these apps generally concentrate on one-to-one sharing rather than broadcasting, their use of group conversations (and users' increasing desire for privacy) means that their functionality is increasingly overlapping with the likes of Instagram and Twitter.

However, the changes to the micro-blogging service have not been well received by the tech community, with many accusing the service of dumbing down, allowing more confused posts and tags in order to court new users but in doing so, destroying the simplicity that made the service popular in the first place.