The New Twitter: Is It Better?

BlogHer Original Post

The new Twitter begins rolling out today. Like other rollouts we've had in the last few weeks, not everyone will see the changes at the same time. But the changes are coming to a browser near you at the Twitter home page at Here's Twitter's video about the new Twitter.

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams said in a press announcement, "You don't have to tweet, any more than you have to make a webpage to use the Web." In other words, he expects non-tweeters to come to the new The Huffington Post points out that the emphasis has switched somewhat away from the idea of "what are you doing" towards using Twitter as a search tool and a way to discover new things. Wired Pen was ahead of the curve this week, when she published Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Using For Breaking News. She recognizes the importance we've given to Twitter in the area of breaking news. The new Twitter moves us in a new direction in terms of links, search and discovery.

Many of the things you downloaded specific apps to help you do with Twitter are now right there in the browser version, ready to go. At Meet the new Twitter, where the video from Twitter is found, you can see a list of features. Among them are a new two column look that lets you see images, embedded media and other details in one column while displaying your Twitter stream in another column. The tech blogger at Yahoo! pointed out the one thing missing from the new right detail column: previews of linked web pages.

Hovering over a username will show you an overlay with a mini-profile. Other overlays will popup from keyboard commands. Lifehacker lists all the keyboard shortcuts. Two good ones are the letters t (for a retweet) and the letter n for a new tweet. You can do both without losing your place in your timeline because they happen in an overlay. Perhaps the best keyboard shortcut of all is the . (the period, yep) which refreshes the page. No more going back up to the top to refresh the page.

It's different enough that many of the details seem to need mentioning to help users learn the ins and outs of the new interface. TechCrunch provided The Best Subtle Things About New Twitter to help you master the less obvious points. You can see a number of screenshots of the new look, also at TechCrunch.

Some immediate reactions were to compare the new Twitter to the iPad version of Twitter or call it an attack on all the desktop Twitter apps.

In my scan of reactions to the new Twitter, I didn't see much immediate attention and response to the money-making possibilities of the new look for Twitter. Business pundits will tackle this issue very soon, I'm sure. Look at the points I did mention:

  • embedded video
  • realtime search
  • links
  • breaking news
  • plain old social networking

That looks like a list of everything you want in one place. Add on some revenue for Twitter and you've got a pretty hot property. Was it only two or three years ago that we first heard about Twitter and thought, "Who gives a damn what some guy in Hackensack is doing right now?"

Virginia DeBolt
Web Teacher | First 50 Words


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