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Meet the new Twitter – same service, whole new style

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
15 September 2010

new twitterUnless you got a particularly long lie-in this morning, you’ll no doubt have seen the buzz currently going around about the brand new Twitter interface – announced last night by the Twitter team.

Launched with a very jazzy-looking (but ultimately fairly un-revolutionary) video and an explantory page at http://twitter.com/newtwitter, the new interface has gone a long way to answering Twitter’s critics, who have consistently criticised Twitter for a lack of innovation and future-planning. Not to mention monetization!

Here’s a quick run-down of the changes made:

A new layout. From the looks of the previews we’ve seen, Twitter now looks a lot like the iPad application which they launched several months back – one which was widely praised for it’s design and functionality. The “ego” buttons (@mentions, search, retweets etc) have now been moved from the right-hand column to the top of your stream, leaving a lot of room in that empty column for another new feature…

Embedded content. Rather than clicking shortened links for images and videos, which then take you away from the site, Twitter will now display media content in the (enlarged) right-hand pane – thanks in part to new partnerships with a number of big-name players. These include well-known sites like YouTube and Vimeo, Flickr and Etsy; They also include more ‘niche’ sites like Justin.tv, Photozou and DeviantArt – a nice touch by Twitter which shows they aren’t just cosying up to the big corporates.

Related content. On ‘New Twitter’ (I’m getting strange feelings of deja-vu here – New Labour anyone?!) you will be able to click a tweet and find out a wealth of other information about the author, the subject, locations and many other possibilities.

Mini profiles. If you’ve used Twitter.com a lot you’ll notice that this is less of a ‘new’ innovation and more of an expansion, but however you look at it the new ‘mini profiles’ are very slick and a nice way of findout out more about your fellow tweeters. Just hover over a username to find out all the information you could ever want about that user.

According to @Ev himself, over on the Twitter blog:

“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.”

So that’s the new features – what will the impact be of all this new content?

104093534Obviously, with the new features only being rolled out over the next few weeks, it’s going to take a while for the full impact to become clear. However, one thing is certain – with all this new functionality, Twitter has taken a clear step in the direction of making their own website much more ‘sticky’ – a true destination site. Considering how many of these features are already in other Twitter API-powered applications, Twitter is clearly not taking that lying down. See Mashable’s post for another take on that.

Making Twitter.com a ‘destination’ site will be great news for advertisers. If people are going to have more reason to stay on the site (as opposed to using a third-party applications), the potential for the advertisers that have already signed-up with Twitter is huge – more eyeballs equals more exposure.

Making it a destination also puts it much more inline with sites like Facebook. Every month we hear news about how Facebook is about to or has just overtaken Google in terms of time-on-site / pageviews. Previously Twitter would struggle to get exposure in lists like these, because most people interacted with the service through third party apps or sites. Now, people will have a much greater reason to spend ‘time on site’, meaning people will soon see just how popular Twitter really is.

Obviously everyone will be watching closely to see what implications these changes might have on sites like Google and YouTube. To my mind, Twitter already have partnerships in place with both of these sites, so you can be sure that whatever deals have been made are ONLY going to result in better exposure for Twitter on both. The partnership deals announced will doubtless increase tweet-sposure (sorry!) in Google SERPs, and the inclusion of videos onsite will obviously work brilliantly for anybody with nice content to share.

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