There’s no doubt that New Twitter (or #NewTwitter as some will prefer) has caused quite a media storm. It’s the first major revision the site has ever undergone. But what’s the big difference? Surely it’s still the same idea of just 140 character messages sent between users in real-time. Last night my New Twitter account was activated and here’s what I found.
I would say the whole move to new Twitter has been very positive. The main reason, it doesn’t feel like the clunky old web-interface we’re used to, this feels more like an app in your browser. When I say app, I of course refer to the several Twitter clients out there (Tweetdeck, Twhirl, Hootsuite etc). The site now behaves very much like one of these installed programs on your computer and I love it.
For example, when viewing pictures on the site, instead of navigating away from Twitter, the picture will be displayed in the right hand bar, in a nice size but at the same time, out of the way. The same is done with videos. So long as the website hosting (ie TwitPic, Plixi etc) has signed up with Twitter, their content will display right on the Twitter homepage, how handy is that.
A lot of other features have been moved to more conveinient places. Your different feeds for example @replies (which are now @mentions), lists and favourites, are all listed at the top of the left hand column so you can easily switch between each one. There’s a navigation bar at the top so you can always go back home, to your profile and Tweet from any page (something which really used to annoy me about the previous web Twitter). ‘Trends’ and ‘who to follow’, have also been cleared up on the right hand bar, meaning you can see everything from the top of your homepage (rather than scrolling in the past).
There’s much more information available instantly from New Twitter. From any one Tweet you can easily find out more by clicking on it. A side bar will slide out and you will have access to people who have replied to the tweet, who’s reTweeted it, recent things the poster has said. If there are HashTags you can even see what other people are saying with that tag. It gives a quick snapshot of extra information, making a Tweet, much more than just a Tweet!
I also personally like the new layout. It will take getting used to, it is a bit fat, yes that wonderful background you made has been ruined by it. But at the same time, profile pics are shown big enough to actually see, personal info is displayed in a nice professional style rather than hidden away and you can pull up profiles instantly on your home screen – brilliant!
Inevitably there are some negatives, the first – coming back to what I said earlier – there’s much more information on New Twitter. Although great, it can become a bit overwhelming and hard to take in. It’s not always brilliant spaced out in the new right-hand bar and the use of both Times New Roman and Arial confuses and annoys me! People are also bound to complain that the increase of info is going to keep them on Twitter for even longer. Not brilliant for a site which is already notorious for sapping up people’s time!
Another problem is that New Twitter doesn’t seem finished. It doesn’t crash, well, not yet. But it does feel like something’s missing. There are weird mixes between the old and the new which don’t work. Profile pages look far to spaced out with the new larger right bar. It’s almost as of they didn’t know what to do with it. Of course, Twitter are still billing the new site as a preview and no doubt things like this are being looked into a hopefully changed for the final release!
I’m also a bit annoyed that new Twitter hasn’t brought me the one thing I wanted from it, live tweet updates. The apps can do it, why not the site? By live I of course mean I want my tweets to appear in real time at the top of the page when they arrive. It would be so much easier and I’m sure it’s possible (after all, Facebook can do something similar). Please, please, please Twitter give us live updating, I don’t want to click to see 23 waiting Tweets…
The verdict is I like new Twitter. I think it’s a vast improvement over it’s predecessor and shows people who use only the web version how much more there is to Twitter. If you’ve ever used Twitter for iPhone, you’ll be right at home with it, the layout is very similar, but others will find it a challenge to get to grips with at first. Stick with it though, I genuinely believe this site can offer a much better experience than before.
But I suppose the true fact of the matter is this. I never used to use web Twitter because I preferred the apps and although I will no doubt use the site for a few weeks now (It’s new and shiny!!), I’ll inevitably return to my apps… they’re just better!
New Twitter is being rolled out to users right now, if you don’t have it yet, you probably will very soon!