13 Jan, 12 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
Twitter received a major update in December and is gradually rolling out a brand-new look with a host of new features. The update is arguably the most comprehensive and wide-ranging change since the microblogging service was launched in 2006.
If you’re lucky enough to have received the new twitter, you will quickly see that the site has been completely reorganised. Everything now fits into one of four areas:
- Home: This is the old news feed, only better. Before, tweets like photos and videos were only viewable on the side but now you can see them within the tweet. You’ll can also see information about retweets and @replies for a particular tweet by selecting ‘Open’.
- Connect: This is where all your @replies and mentions are located. Twitter says typing in somebody’s handle will let you learn more about the person and connect instantly.
- Discover: Twitter seems to have supercharged its search functions and put the results here. More than just a place to look for trending topics and hashtags, ‘Discover’ will identify stories and trends based on your connections, location and language.
- Me: This is your Twitter profile, made bigger, neater and with more activity recorded. Your information now appears on the left instead of right.
Twitter says it wants to make its interface more inviting to new users, whilst offering existing users better functionality. However, some have suggested that a large part of the change is concerned with creating revenue. Twitter has recently been experimenting with ways to point users toward its advertising services. The redesign involves opportunities to direct users toward sponsors, particularly through the new branded pages.
Just like Google+ and Facebook, Twitter has followed suit and introduced brand pages for companies. Although the majority of companies have existing Twitter accounts, brand pages will allow for more functionality and interactions with followers.
Twitter’s Advertising Blog explains that brands can “control the message visitors see when they first come to your profile page by promoting a tweet to the top of your page’s timeline.” The idea is to highlight your best content (see Dell’s brand page above). On brand pages, these video or photo tweets can be set to be open, adding another visually engaging element to the page.