Twitter’s got a brand new look and not just a tweak here and there. Trending as the #newnewTwitter, it’s a fresh with a simplified and streamlined design, most of the changes center around getting the best content as quickly as possible. The redesign doesn’t stop at your desktop either. Twitter’s iPhone app, Android apps, and mobile website have received the new makeover too.
Facebook, take notes! Readers, let’s take a look at what’s new, shall we?
The new design may seem very different at first, but honestly it’s not. Mainly, a lot of things have been swapped or moved so there isn’t a huge learning curve. The sidebar is now on the left instead of the right side of your home stream. You’re immediately greeted with a quick overview of your profile stats. Beneath your stats, you can quickly type a new tweet and a separate icon in the menu bar allows you to do the same.
The menu bar is the biggest change to your Twitter account. You’ll notice a new navigation menu at the top of the site. It divides the #newnewTwitter into four sections: Home, Connect, Discover, and Me. You’ll also find a search bar and “new tweet” button up here. Here’s a rundown of what the four aforementioned sections hold for you.
At home, you can see your stream. Selecting a tweet in your stream will expand it to include more information. This makes it easy to quickly see supported media (youtube videos, pictures) and statistics about that tweet within your stream. If you select an @reply, Twitter will display the full conversation in your stream. This is a great timesaver and reduces the number of clicks you previously had to do in order to get more information about a tweet.
If you open too many tweets and want to condense them all, look for the “close all open tweets” icon to the far right in the menu bar (see image below).
If you’re wondering where your replies and @mentions went, hit the Connect icon. Connect is also where you’ll find the actions that your followers have taken with your tweets. That includes favoriting your tweet, retweeting you, and Twitter replies. If you only want to see your replies, stick to the Mentions stream. That’s pretty much all you’ll see in Connect, and the lack of anything new leaves you to wonder if anything else will join Interactions and Mentions in the future like analytic. Twitter lists would look great in this area too!
The new #discover tab is your window into what interests you right now. And the more you use it, the better it gets. #letsfly
— Twitter (@twitter) December8, 2011
Discover is where I’ll spend a lot of time over the next few weeks. I’m worried that it might even compete with my home stream. Why? It has all sorts of new features that have the potential to have you engrossed in content for hours and it starts with Stories. Stories When you want to know what’s trending amongst your following, Twitter at large, your location and language, you’re going to find that content in Stories. Not to be confused with @TwitterStories, Stories reveals the breaking news on Twitter. Stories are built from a combination of things that Twitter says it does not editorialize. So, not all stories will be trending topics. Trends and More Don’t worry, Twitter Trends haven’t been replaced. They can be found below Stories in a separate area in the Discover Menu. There’s nothing new about Twitter Trends, but if you happen to change your set location, it will affect what Stories you see. You’ll also find your following’s activity, who to follow suggestions, the find friend option and categories. On Twitter’s iPhone app, you would go to Discover to perform a search.
Twitter describes this section as being all about you! In Profile view, you’ll find access to your Direct Messages, Settings, Twitter Lists and Keyboard Shortcuts. It feels a little weird having my Direct Messages and Twitter Lists here. I preferred the separate and full view of my Direct Messages over the new pop-up window. Nevertheless, the placement of these features aligns with visitors being able to see your Twitter Lists, Tweets, or send you a message from your Twitter profile in a more streamlined view.
Branded profiles are enhanced profile pages for brands, but I know plenty of casual users will want one too (I do!). The branded profile is design to help brands “make an impression with a large header image for displaying your logo, tagline, and any other visuals.” Promoted tweets are also allowed on the timeline of these profiles. That makes it easy to highlight breaking news stories, engaging content, or a sale without spamming your followers or scaring off new visitors. Oh, and all of this is for free. Participating brands include: @BestBuy, @chevrolet, @intel, @JetBlue, @nikebasketball, @pepsi, @subwayfreshbuzz, and @VerizonWireless.
New Search Features
You would think that your saved searches would be included under Discover (maybe that’s just me), but that’s not the case. The search box is located in the menu bar and follows you all around Twitter. When you select the search box you’ll see a dropdown menu of your saved searches. Search results now include the option to do an advanced search right from your Twitter account. If you’re looking at search results for hashtags, Stories, or Trends, you’ll notice a top images or top videos section as in the case of #Lakers at the time of this posting. The top people section notes the most popular or related people to your search. For casual Twitter users, this will get you quickly up to speed on what people are talking about. For journalist and news organizations, this is where you’ll find relevant sources and media all in one place.
If you noticed up above in the Discover section, there’s an embedded tweet. Previously this was a very tedious thing for bloggers and journalist to go about achieving, though the tools have been available for quite some time. Now, embedding a tweet is very easy. Select a tweet and click on the timestamp of a tweet or the details option. You’ll be taken to a full view with the option to embed that tweet! Embedding options include html, shortcode, or just a plain old link. Be on the lookout for embedded tweets making appearances on your favorite media sites and blogs (and fingers crossed that it looks good on a mobile phone).
The Verdict: It’ll grow on you.
The #newnewTwitter will grow on me, and there are a lot of things I like about it. Stories looks to be a really promising feature and brand profiles will certainly become a hit. Twitter certainly looks and feels more streamlined, but there’s still more work to be done on the product itself. You can check out Twitter’s official overview of all the new features by visiting fly.twitter.com. What do you think about the #newnewTwitter: hate it or love it? What are your favorite features? What do you hate about it? Did I miss anything? Let me hear you in the comments! Follow @corvida