The New Twitter – A Quick Review

So ten days ago, the new Twitter web interface was announced in a big ta-da conference and it was live-streamed by Robert Scoble, which meant that 4,000 of us got to watch along, so hats of to Robert for that effort.  Unfortunately, this is a timed roll-out.  That day only a handful of people got full access to the new interface.  And just today, I signed on to Twitter and saw the secret invite, that apparently others have yet to see.  So I’m apparently not infamous yet, but one of the lucky ones???

In any case, I realized right away that there’s several things I like and a couple things I don’t like about this new interface.  And honestly, none of it’s enough to get me to abandon TweetDeck, which is still far and away a much stronger platform for managing given how I blaze away with hundreds of tweets a day some days…

Yet there are enough good things to say about the new Twitter that I won’t be eternally frustrated when I need to use the web interface, and even some bonus surprises that mean I’ll be using it for some tasks now…

And if you want to read up on the new Twitter and what you need to know about it somewhere else, check out Joanna Lord’s write-up from the day after this was first announced.  Otherwise, read on.  I cover a lot of what’s new…

The New Twitter – Things I Like, Things I Don’t

On your main timeline, you can now choose between five tabs – Timeline, @Mentions, Retweets, Searches, and Lists.

The feature I like among these the most is the Retweets tab.  When you hover over that, you get the following options:

Retweets by Others

Honestly, this is semi- useless because it just lists tweets from people in your timeline who have retweeted something, from anyone – whether it was you they retweeted or not.  Though, I suppose, if you know someone retweeted something and you can’t remember who or when, you could jump here and look for it.

Retweets by You

Odd.  I’ve retweeted countless times, but for some reason, the only retweet I sent out it’s showing is one from July.  WTF?

Your Tweets, Retweeted

What you get here is a list of all your tweets that others have retweeted.  Okay, that’s good to see – it shows me which of my tweets were worthy of a retweet.

Except there’s no data on any of them – not who retweeted it, not how many times a tweet was retweeted.  I hope one day they’ll consider adding this info, because that’s what really matters.  I’d much rather know that – hey – this tweet was retweeted 750 times and this one only got retweeted once…  And if I have a way to find out who retweeted my stuff the most from this one screen, that’s priceless.

Your Tweets Retweeted More Info View

When I’m looking at the list of my tweets that did get retweeted, I can hover over any of them, and a tiny “more info” arrow appears off to the right.  Clicking on that opens up a new pane on the right.  But instead of giving me useful info like I just described, it includes Profile overviews on people mentioned in that tweet, and any tags tweeted with a tag that was included in that tweet.

And that leads to the question – WTF? again – though I suppose if I was looking at the “Retweets by Others” view, I could click on a tweet and then get the details to see if I want to follow any of the people mentioned, or more info about that hashtag.  But overall, it’s a wasted opportunity.

The New Twitter Search

This is interesting and will need more testing.  But essentially, you’ve got the typical search results timeline now enhanced by multiple tabs, including Tweets, Tweets with Links, Tweets Near You, and People.

Tweets Near You

Yet another opportunity for all you stalkers out there, I suppose.  Personally, I don’t allow Twitter to tag my location, and most of the people I know don’t either. When I experimented what I found was it shows tweets from anyone who mentions the word / words you searched on.


Okay so what comes up in my testing is if someone has a profile that shares the same name as a hashtag, they get listed here.  Again with the WTF?  Okay this is good if you’re searching on someone’s name, or a company name.  But mostly I search on hashtags to learn what they’re all about.  So again, my lack of stalkerness works against this being very useful most of the time.  But then again, I do quite a bit of searching during competitive analysis work.  So it might be handy.  Maybe.

New Twitter Media Viewing

Inline Media

When someone includes media in a tweet, there’s now a “media” icon on the right side of the tweet.  Clicking on it opens the right pane with that image or video file inline, along with other useful info.

I think this is a big plus if you’re stuck using the web interface for a number of things. Not only can you view the media in the right pane, videos don’t auto-play, whereas jumping to YouTube is an auto-play thing.

There’s other info in the new pane as well. For a video for example, below the video you can see who Retweeted the tweet, who was mentioned in it, and other tweets from the same person.  That way, if you find the media interesting, you’ve got more info to further your network or your own outreach – say for example you see that someone sent out a video and a lot of people retweeted it – you might attempt to find or create other videos and try and get your video viewed by that same group of people and their followers…

The New Twitter and Direct Messages

There’s a bunch of new stuff you can do more effortlessly in regard to Direct Messages.

When you click on the new “Messages” link at the top of your home page, you get a list of people with whom you have exchanged DMs previously.  Click on any of those and you’ll see the threaded history you have with them.  You no longer have to jump between two tabs (Sent / received).  I think this is one of the most beneficial new features the engineers / designers at Twitter came up with.

Sending an Open Tweet While In DM View

When I first came to the new DM view, I wasn’t aware you could send an open tweet without leaving the screen.  That’s when I discovered the tiny little icon in the upper right just to the left of my itty bitty profile pic. (see the screen-shot above).  Clicking that icon opens a new popup window where you can send a DM to anyone you want.

Sending A Direct Message In The New Twitter

I think this is a really elegant solution to the old clutzy DM process, so another star for getting one right.  The Popup window here is as clean a user experience as it is elsewhere in the new Twitter interface.  Good job on this one.

The New Twitter Basic Responses To Tweets

This is pretty straight forward.  Except for a couple things I think they got wrong.

The New Twitter ReTweet

Clicking on “Retweet” opens a new pop-up, which makes the RT process easier, especially if you’d scrolled way down in your timeline.  You no longer need to scroll all the way to the top of the screen.

The problem?  Well they’ve clearly not changed their minds when it comes to being able to have the option of editing the RT.  Which sucks.  Just as much as it did when the RT system changed all those months ago

The New Twitter RT Redemption

Okay so the new RT still sucks.  Where I found redemption in my tests however, is when that popup opens, you can now copy all the text and the person’s name, then paste it into Tweetdeck or wherever, and not have the line-wrap problem anymore.  It all shows up on one line, as it should.  You just need to include the originator’s @ symbol, and precede it with RT, or end it with (via) if you alter it.

The New Twitter Block  / Report

So where do you go if you want to report someone or block them?  These options are not available in the new tweet timeline. Instead, you have to click on their profile name, go over to the right pane, and click on the “more options” icon.

Why can’t you have those options right here, in the tweet timeline? I <3 the ability in TweetDeck to report/block someone directly in that specific tweet.  It should be that way in the new Twitter.

Viewing Someone’s Profile

As you can see from that last screen shot above, this is handy – click on someone’s profile and their info opens in the right pane. From there, you can do what you’d previously been able to do, just with a bit more convenience.

Viewing Lists in the New Twitter

I’ll be honest.  I don’t read other people’s lists.  And I almost never remember to add people to mine.  So I’ve killed all but one.   For posterity sake, I suppose.  Or out of some sense of obligation to the people I added to the list.  Because I do respect them.  Honest…

Anyhow, if you work with lists, they’re pretty easy to work with now.

The tabs functionality once again makes another aspect of using the Twitter interface a bit more effortless.

Recent Lists – A Fun New Twitter Feature

Okay, so I barely remember to add people to my list from time to time.  What I do appreciate however, is that so many people have added me to their lists.  Okay, not like Lisa Barone, who’s on like a zillion lists.  But the couple hundred I am on are, nonetheless, important to me enough that I pay attention – someone adds me on a list, and I pay attention to that person just a bit more.

What was always confusing to me  was that I could swear that from time to time, I’d look at the list of lists I’m on, and not be sure if the ones listed at the top are the most recent.  As if some of the older lists I was on suddenly show up high up…

Well, with the New Twitter, I can see right on my home page what new lists I’ve been added to.

Except uh, while that’s all good and fine, that doesn’t tell me much.  So I now have to click on each one to go to that list and see who it’s from, how many others are on it, or just click on the new “Lists” tab in my main timeline.  So while I appreciate the gesture, Twitter, uh, you only get 30% credit for this bonus feature.  Especially since clicking on the list name from this view does NOT put that person’s profile in my right pane.  It takes me AWAY from my home page, and over to theirs.  Thus killing the value of the new layout completely.  #FAIL!

Tweet History in The New Twitter

Here’s one that hasn’t changed.  The ability to search for tweets older than a short while back (varying depending on several factors) is still not there.  So if I want to search for tweets from two weeks ago, I’m still SOL.   Come on Twitter – you’ve got the data.  Allow me to retrieve it.  For cryin out loud…

Who To Follow

Yeah – that annoying Facebook-stolen feature that shows you a bunch of people that Twitter’s semi-not-very-intelligent automated system decides are people you should follow is still there.  So for those of us who consider ourselves intelligent enough to find and decide on who we want to follow, it’s still just taking up space and insulting our intelligence.  Especially when it lists people I previously intentionally UNFollowed.

But I guess, like Facebook, I’m not among the masses of people with half a brain.  Which is also a disappointment to Eric Schmidt as well, right, given how he envisions a day when Google will do the thinking for all of us…

Overall Feelings on The New Twitter

Okay so this is just my first pass take on the new Twitter.  I’m going to need to spend a lot more time poking around, playing with things before I can pass final judgment.  I’m sure I’ll uncover a host of other features or oddities.  But for now, I need to say overall, job well done.  It’s almost as though Ev and Biz hired a User Experience professional.  Almost.

What Do You Think?

What do you think of the new Twitter?  Yeah?  Meh?  Blah?  Vomit?  No Comment?  And if you haven’t used it yet, are you mad?  So mad you’re not gonna take it anymore?  🙂  Or are you patiently awaiting the day when Twitter recognizes you to be more than some “oh by the way, you can use it now” Twit?

About Alan Bleiweiss

Just another guy. Who happens to have a lot of experience living, breathing and sleeping organic SEO. So that's my primary focus - high end SEO audits and consulting for sites ranging from thousands to tens of millions of pages. In my spare time I blog, rant, write eBooks, and speak at industry conferences.

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