At least as far as I am concerned, the past few years Twitter has made a number of missteps. Around two years ago they combined the feeds for retweets with mentions, making it harder for one to keep track of his or her tweets that have been retweeted. Yet another misstep occurred last year when they changed the way conversations are viewed, making it even harder to read conversations on Twitter. Now Twitter has made their biggest misstep of them all. This week they forced a new profile on all of their users. It is not simply that the new profile is aesthetically less appealing than the old one. The new profile simply is not as easy to use as the old one.
Indeed, with the new profile Twitter has made it even harder to read one's own feed on his or her profile. This is due to the fact that tweets that receive more engagement now appear in a larger font than other tweets. Of course, the difference in the sizes of fonts between tweets makes one's feed harder to go through. I think I speak for many when I say that I would prefer for the fonts of tweets in my feed to all be the same size. I also think I speak for many when I say that I really do not care which of my tweets have received the most engagement. Even if I did, I wouldn't want the fonts on tweets to vary so that my feed was harder for me or anyone else to read.
Twitter has made the "Following" and "Followers" pages harder to use as well. Both the "Following" and "Followers" pages used to display those who one was following or one's followers in a convenient, vertical list. Those one is following and one's followers are now displayed horizontally on one's page. Worse yet, they are displayed in gigantic boxes that occupy much of the screen. This not only makes it harder to scan those one is following or one's followers, but makes it slower to skim through them as well.
With the new profile Twitter has also done away with the background image. I dislike this for two basic reasons. First, it takes away one means people have of personalising their profiles. One could often tell a lot about a person by what they used for his or her background. For instance, if someone has a Star Wars background, then one knows that he or she is a Star Wars fan. Second, the background is now white and light blue. If one's eyes are sensitive to light as mine are, this makes his or her feed hard to read. Sadly, one cannot change the blinding white and light blue background to something more appealing
The new Twitter profiles do retain header images, although they are of different dimensions than the old ones. This means many users will have to change their header images. The recommended size for the new header images are 1500px wide, 500px high. In other words, the new headers are long and narrow. I am sure I am not the only one who finds it difficult to find images that will fit this particular size. I suspect many people will simply choose not to have a header image at all. In a roundabout way, then, the new headers actually discourage personalisation of profiles.
Other things I dislike about the new profile are simply because they are less aesthetically pleasing, not because they necessarily mean a loss in functionality or make Twitter more difficult to use. The profile pictures are much too large. The sidebars are much too large. It simply is not as compact, neat, and tidy as the old profile was. Another way to put it is that the new profile is, well, ugly.
Ever since Twitter decided to combine the feeds for mentions and retweets I have used HootSuite for most of my tweeting needs. Unfortunately, there are those times (such as when I want to see if I have any new followers) when I have to visit my Twitter profile. When I visit my Twitter profile I want to see something that is easy to read, personalised to my tastes, and aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, the new Twitter profile fails on all of these accounts. I am hoping that there is enough of an outcry on the part of Twitter users that they will ditch this new profile design and return to the older, better one. And I hope they do it soon.