Some people are reportedly seeing a new Twitter homepage with some new user discovery elements. In fact, some people even reported seeing other people's timelines in a hiccup in Twitter's implementation.
Hiccups are pretty commonplace for Twitter, so that's not too shocking.
The new elements of the homepage, however, reflect Twitter's ongoing quest to convince new users to stick around, and other users to keep finding more reasons to stick around. TheNextWeb has a screenshot.
Twitter also updated its search feature this week, in a manner that follows this theme. Users can now search for topics and find accounts relevant to the topic, as opposed to how it worked previously, when such a search would have returned accounts that have the specific term in their name or username. The feature can be utilized by clicking on the "people" section of the search results page or by searching from the "who to follow" page.
As I noted in an article about that, our own Twellow and TwellowHood ar pretty good for finding interesting people to follow based on category and location.
This focus on user discovery seems to be coming on strong since the recent return of co-founder Jack Dorsey to day-to-day operations around Twitter product. Here's a snippet of what Dorsey said (based on Peter Kafka's account) at Columbia University last week:
We've been around for five years now and we’ve built a lot of interesting technology. I think we need better lines around the products, so it’s more approachable, so that people can get into it immediately, and it’s extremely relevant right way.
We have a lot of mainstream awareness, but mainstream relevancy is still a challenge. It’s something that people can’t immediately get their head around: "Why is Twitter valuable?"
The answer is it’s not that Twitter is valuable, it's that you can follow what’s unfolding in Egypt right now. That’s valuable. You can follow your favorite company or organization. You can also mix that in with your family and your social network and talk about all these interests in real time. That’s the value, not the brand “Twitter.” Twitter just provides the venue for it. So we need to refocus on the value. That’s my goal in the next few months.
It looks like this as already been heavily approached in his first week. At this rate, Twitter's value should be come evident to just about everybody in a few months' time.
Hopefully they can reduce the aforementioned hiccups in the user experience to a great extent.