Like it or loathe it Twitter is changing so it’s time to jump on board and make the most of the changes.
The five key changes
Twitter recently rolled out its biggest design changes since its launch and here is a very brief guide to how to master the changes. Like Facebook’s recent changes the Twitter rollout is happening incrementally. For those who have yet to be given the option to update it can be manually triggered by visiting the official new profiles page and clicking the ‘Get it now’ link at the bottom of the page.
1. Design: Photos and Videos Front and Center
While many have touted the Design feature as being influenced by Facebook, the real influencer is Instagram which also inspired much of Facebook’s 2013 redesign. Consequently Twitter now places far greater emphasis on shared images and video. Your profile picture is bigger, you are prompted to pick a large background header (Twitter scales it automatically but it should be at least 1500 pixels wide if you want to avoid blur on large screens) and provides some tasteful samples. Meanwhile your tweets with ‘photos/videos’ get their own filter, both along the top and down the left column of your profile.
2. Best Tweets: Popular Tweets Will Be Emphasised
Twitter launched with the simple premise that anyone could share anything and receive equal timeline billing, but that is about to change. The redesigned Twitter will now highlight tweets which have received greater engagement (measured in replies, retweets and favourites). The aim is to make the most popular content in your timeline easy to spot, though there is a risk it could give advertisers, cat pictures and Justin Bieber tweets an even greater advantage than they enjoy already.
3. Pin Tweets: Highlight A Tweet
Given Twitter’s redesign will make user profiles a more popular browsing designation the company has realised you may not want your best tweets to be so quickly hidden by inconsequential chat. To combat this Twitter will let users pin a tweet to the top of your profile’s timeline so it can be admired by all. Caveats are Twitter only allows one tweet to be pinned at a time (pin another and you are warned ‘This will replace any previously pinned Tweet. Are you sure?’) and you cannot pin tweets by others. Interestingly this means old school retweets (starting: RT) can be pinned, but not Twitter’s standard retweet system.
4. Filtered Tweets: Replies, Photos and Videos Get Separated
In addition to pinning your best tweets, Twitter is determined to make users’ profiles more comprehensible to visitors by separating tweets from replies. A ‘tweets and replies’ categories will exist for those who still want everything mixed together but only a user’s standalone tweets (and retweets) will be seen by default. As mentioned earlier, ‘photos/videos’ also get their own section. Given Twitter’s growing obsession with both means they will still appear in your main timeline, but viewers can filter a user’s timeline to show only them and nothing else. No doubt this was inspired by the public’s obsession with #celebrity.
5. Twitter Apps Will Soon Look The Same
The Twitter refresh is initially for the web only, but leaks have already shown its new look will be applied to all mobile apps. Again the look when shrunk to the small screen is eerily similar to viewing your profile in Facebook’s app. Photos are getting the same enlarged look and filters to display only the photos and videos in a user’s timeline are present.