On Monday, I received a short and simple message from the Twitter team, “You are invited to attend a special event at Twitter HQ tomorrow afternoon, RSVP Yes or No.”
I had just finalized my travel from San Francisco to New York and thought for a moment, that it might be worth reconsidering. The message could only mean one thing, Twitter was going to announce something new and given that they don’t usually host live conferences for just any new feature, it would carry a level of importance that would see the likes of tech’s top press and industry leaders in attendance.
Indeed, what Twitter announced was historical in its short timeline of rapid evolution.
Welcome to The New Twitter – #newtwitter
Even though I was traveling, the team turned on access so that I could share with you what’s in store for your new and “enhanced” experience. What you see below is currently in the process of rolling out to everyone over the course of the next several weeks. By the time you read this, you may already find a special alert at the top of your browser inviting you to click to try the “new Twitter.”
Let’s start with why.
Twitter states that its over 145 million registered users tweet and retweet. According to Evan Williams, 78 percent of active users have used Twitter.com in the last 30 days. What’s more, Twitter.com and m.twitter.com account for 92% of all access and communication. A change to Twitter.com was imminent to grow the footprint of social media’s favorite little giant.
Whether or not you agree with the total number of registered users vs. users actually using the service, what’s tenable is that Tweets are on the rise. Twitter reports over 90 million Tweets per day.
What’s worth noting from the onset is that Twitter is switching to a two-column dashboard. For users of Twitter’s app on the iPad, the New Twitter may already look familiar. This is a significant change as it completely expands your existing Twitter.com perspective.
As Co-Founder Evan Williams explains…
Twitter has always been about getting a lot in a little. The constraint of 140 characters drives conciseness and lets you quickly discover and share what’s happening. Yet, we’ve learned something since starting Twitter—life doesn’t always fit into 140 characters or less.
Today, we’re introducing a new, re-engineered Twitter.com that provides an easier, faster, and richer experience.
The New Twitter starts with a shift in design principles designed to keep your eyes on the stream without straying to far from the flow. Everything now starts on the left, but also expands to the right in a new panel that expands your view.
For example, when visiting the new home page, you’re immediately greeted with the new format.
Integration and elegance are at the forefront of New Twitter. Looking at the stream, you’ll notice various icons on the right side of the Tweet where applicable. These keys allow you to view the various rich media elements on the right panel without leaving the page. Essentially, you can now view embedded photos, videos, and location directly on Twitter.
This expands the view to the right column
View images and video in the new panel
See the location of where the Tweet originated
Open up the dialogue between people to “finally” view discussions as a single thread (see below)
Direct messages are also threaded now…
As I was sharing screenshots of #newtwitter last evening, Alyssa Milano asked a interesting question about panels that led to an important discovery. She asked whether or not the right pane could be closed to re-center the stream. The answer was no. Closing the pane simply brings us back to the home view.
For those without larger screens, something interesting comes to light.
Alyssa discovered that the landscape for customer wallpaper in New Twitter is no longer as gracious as it once was with a singular column view.
For the time being, personal branding is affected. Your bio and your words will speak for you now more than ever.
Points of Interest
Clicking on Tweets reveals additional information related to the author or subject in the details panel. The content of the Tweet determined the expanded options, which can include replies, other Tweets, a map of where the geotagged Tweet was sent, and more.
Usernames also unlock a mini profile without navigating from the stream. It offers a quick overview of account information, including bio and recent Tweets.
While in Twitter, hitting the “?” key surfaces a window panel of helpful shortcuts.
The New Twitter is not The New Coke
If you remember the controversial move from Coke to New Coke, Twitter’s move is not intended to convince you that this new version tastes better than it really should. Twitter execs, Evan Williams, Biz Stone and Dick Costolo, have long stated that Twitter is not a social network; it is instead intended to be experienced as “consumption environment.” Either way, it is a stream of collective consciousness that fundamentally changes the way we learn, discover and share.
In Williams’ words: “We’re trying to get people to understand that they don’t have to Tweet if they want to get value out of Twitter.”
Twitter’s new design also means business. The radical elaboration of the Twitter panes suggests that rich media isn’t the only thing we’ll see in these free spaces. As Co-Founder Biz Stone shared with MediaBistro, The new Twitter lends itself o “new revenue-generating opportunities.” He also elaborated on the subject, “The fact that you can click on any tweet that interests you and see even more information lends itself to advertising and revenue opportunities of promoted tweets and and so forth.”
Let me know what you think of #newtwitter and let’s learn how to improve the presentation, collaboration and productivity for the “new” Twitterverse.
Connect with Brian Solis on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook
Please consider reading, Engage!: It will help you find answers to your questions…
Get Putting the Public Back in Public Relations and The Conversation Prism:
I am really enjoying the new layout…still getting used to the @ mentions & Lists not being on the right hand side though lol
Thanks for the download, Brian. Would it be possible to post a full size screenshot of the home page, so that we can get an accurate pixel measurement? In thinking about the way this affects users with branded backgrounds, I'm very curious what screen real estate might actually be available.
Why do you think Twitter invited you to this event and not anyone?
Thanks for the look at the new Twitter. I've been using the iPad app for Twitter which looks pretty much the same. I like the right hand column with threads, pictures, and profiles while still staying connected to the stream. The ability to click on a persons profile picture in the stream to reveal their profile info is similar to what I've been able to do in cotweet for quite some time.
You know? I may just get excited about Twitter again. I like the new format very much. Very good read too, thanks.
thnx for the low down on #newtwitter
While the expanded functionality is cool the reduced acreage for personal branding is definitely a drawback as Alyssa points out. This may make Twitter a less desirable medium for local and regional businesses who are looking at social media as customer acquisition tools.
Hi Scott, I have a note into Twitter to see how they plan to address this. I'm sure there's something in the cards, but in the meantime, it brings it back to what counts…what you share and say.
I've been playing with the new Twitter today and overall, I love the direction they're heading. A few things. There is no notification of a new DM, so one has to regularly check for something new. Unless I'm missing something? I'm not sure the new Twitter has the best use of space. I like the right column (mostly) though I wish I had more control as to what goes there. (It would be nice to, if not opt out of the suggested users and trends, expand or minimize them.) I would prefer to be able to expand the entire right panel with a little arrow as they are using for the tweets, and be able to put it away when I just want to focus on the stream. It would also be nice if new tweets appeared in real time (ala echo commenting style), with a play/pause button that would allow us to not miss a beat if we step away.
Just a few thoughts. 🙂
Hmmmm… I like where Twitter is headed. I do think its interesting that it will be more important to provide good content and a well written bio when it comes to maintaining your brand on Twitter.
I love the new format, but I'm very disappointed that it will do away with personal branding. Hope that's something they can address soon.
This is one time that I'm really happy that I'm not in the “got it rolled out to me early” crowd.
Finally giving in and conceding that it's time to get with a 3rd party client.
Change for better.
I don't actually go to Twitter–I use HootSuite since I can manage all of my biz and personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts from one spot and also schedule tweets–very handy for public relations planning. This functionality sounds really cool, but I doubt I'll see it much. Now if only HootSuite [or some other 3rd party I don't know about] would add some of these features …
I have to admit, I didn't even notice some of the changes made by twitter until you pointed them out one by one. Prior to the “new twitter” page, I was an inconsistant tweeter at best. The changes that have been made have made it so much easier to tweet and follow the tweets of others that I find myself checking my twitter more than once a day now. I do miss the branding of the old page… without branding twitter becomes closer and closer to a facebook page. Hopefully they will bring the branding options back. The best thing about the new twitter page is the increased threading. LOVE IT!
my twitter looks the same! how do i get mines to be the new one? 🙁
HOW DO I GET OUT OF THE NEW TWITTER? The page is frozen even when I shut off my computer and restart. This is no GO BACK o GET OUT option!
Many thanks/ Rita Watson
Rita, I'm having the same problem, did you ever figure out how to get out of it?
Jan, what a nightmare. I shut off my computer — unplugged etc — logged in about an hour later and when I logged into Twitter, that “Everything in one place” sign popped up and I saw it in its entirety, so I quickly pressed YES.
That was then, this is now. Last night it went back to that page “Everything in one place” and I can't get it to show on the full page to quickly click the YES button.
Pretty daunting. Wish I had better news!
Let me know if you find a solution.
how do you switch to the new twitter without logging off and being back on the old one?
How are we able to get the new twitter? Some people have this blue bar on top telling them to install the new twitter, but mine doesnt have at all. When are we able to use it???