New Twitter (#NewTwitter) is here, with plans to roll out the new interface as a preview over the next couple of weeks so Tweeple can get accustomed to this new fangled shebang.
Actually, it looks pretty awesome. The new interface is split into two: the left remains as your familiar ol’ timeline (though with ‘infinite scroll’, so no more clicking ‘more’ incessantly – great stuff), while the right integrates multimedia and allows you to view information and content without navigating elsewhere.
The right column gives you all the features that used to be on the right, plus a few new ones, and a much simplified design, with ‘facebook-like functionality’. To your right you will find: favourites, trending topics, suggestions, lists, recent followers and people you’ve recently begun following, etc. AND, of course, the main event: the ability to view images and videos embedded in the interface, rather than linking to an external operator. Clever, huh? Embedded content is compatible with Twitter partners Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube.
Apparently, 25% of tweets include a link, meaning that we’re clicking off page, off site, back and forth like a clicky machine. It’s easy enough to lose track of conversations on Twitter timelines, so this addition is very much welcome. It’s not like it’s spanky new, though, is it? Facebook has enabled embedded multimedia on profile walls for some time now – so perhaps it’s about time that Twitter caught up…
Onwards to more features: When you select a particular tweet, you’re now given the option of a plethora of additional information, should you so desire it, such as: @replies, other tweets by that same user, a map of where a geo-tagged Tweet was sent from, RTs, hashtags etc, all handily accessible on the right pane.
You also don’t have to navigate off page to see another user’s profile – what used to be a little pop up (which used to annoy the hell out of me, personally, so I hope this is off-timeline), you now have a mini-profile with more detailed account information, bio and recent tweets.
There is, however, an elephant in the room. Make that a whale. Will these changes mean we see less of the dreaded Fail Whale? There’s been a lot of him lately, and I’m hoping when they thought about the new design, they also addressed the system overloads which became, ahem, a little…fishy.
The new look has been likened to an app style, which coincides with the fact that Twitter’s mobile usage has apparently leapt to 62% in the last 6 months, following the launch of dedicated clients on each of the main smartphone platforms – now 16% of new users start via mobile. Will this mean an easier interface for mobile? Certainly less flicking between pages and links is a positive thing.
With 145 million registered users and the apparent success (Twitter say they are pleased) with the Promoted Tweets platform, Twitter seem to be making a move to challenge the suggestion that it will be a mere speck in the shadow of Facebook within a few years.
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