Why the New Twitter May Benefit Businesses and Marketers Greatly

    September 16, 2010
    Chris Crum

This week, Twitter introduced a new redesign of Twitter.com with a two-pane format aimed at providing a richer user experience, and you can easily tell by looking at it that it does just that. 

Do you think the redesign will get more people using Twitter? Share your thoughts.


"Twitter has always been about getting a lot in a little," writes CEO Evan Williams. "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."

Twitter has partnered with Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, Twitvid, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube to make tweeted content more useful directly from Twitter.com itself. Users will have less reason to click away from the site.  

The first pane is essentially the single pane from today’s Twitter – the timeline. In the second pane, referred to as the "details pane", users will see additional info related to the author or subject of a tweet, when clicked. This pane will also display things like @replies, other tweets from that user, maps, videos, photos, etc. Users can click the @username to see profiles from the same page. 

Making Twitter more appealing to the mainstream means greater value for businesses and marketers.

Ex-Twitter engineer Alex Payne, who parted ways with the company after failing to see eye to eye with executives on the direction Twitter needed to go in, had some interesting things to say about the redesign. 

"While Twitter has been growing in mainstream significance and popularity, it hasn’t managed to adopt a strategy that clearly aims the company towards mass market success," he writes. "I think #newtwitter changes that, turning the site into a rich information discovery platform, if you’ll excuse the buzzword bingo. The new design is a pleasure to use, and encourages a kind of deep exploration of the data within Twitter that has previously only been exposed in bits and pieces by third-party applications. Browsing Twitter is now as rewarding as communicating with it."

"One of the striking things about #newtwitter is how clearly it’s designed to allow room for advertisements and promotions," adds Payne. "As an early employee who heard a lot of internal discussion about monetization strategies that eschewed the typical Silicon Valley ad play, Twitter’s accelerating turn towards that business model is, on some level, a little disappointing. But as a stockholder and someone who wants to see the company survive and succeed, it’s clearly the most pragmatic way for Twitter to capitalize on its substantial and growing network. Ads have their role in the wheel of commerce, and just as Google’s text ads are more palatable than most forms of advertising, Twitter’s approach could end up being eminently tolerable, even useful."

Search and the New Twitter

Danny Sullivan has a great article about the impact the Twitter redesign could have on search. This is obviously a key element for businesses to consider. Among his points:

1. The search box becomes more prominent. 
2. More filtering options
3. "Save this search" becomes more prominent
4. Infinite scrolling on search results
5. People and company results more clearly separated
6. Tweets Near You feature
7. Tweets with Links feature
8. Searches for retweets by others, retweets by you, and your tweets, retweeted

Danny provides a detailed analysis of all of these items.

How Will Users React Once its Rolled Out?

The changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks as a preview. During this period, users will be able to switch back and forth between the new design and the old one, though frankly I can’t see any advantage to using the old one. 

Redesigns typically get some amount of user backlash, and this will be probably fall in line with that tradition, but this particular redesign has some advantages. For one, many Twitter users are already using apps rather than Twitter.com anyway. Secondly, Twitter has left a lot of people wondering what the point of the service is. This has been a problem since it launched. This will help people understand its value more. 

Now, if Twitter could just get those Fail Whales under control


What do you think of the new Twitter? Tell us what you think.

Note: This article has been updated from its original form.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.