Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why the New Twitter is a Total #Fail

To be honest I really have not liked the Twitter interface since 2012 when for some inexplicable reason they combined the feeds for retweets and mentions. Since then I think the Twitter interface has only gotten worse. Indeed, to access Twitter I rely upon HootSuite, whose interface actually allows for separate feeds for retweets and mentions. Twitter is currently in the process of rolling out yet another interface. And, sadly, going from the preview, this is the worst one ever.

Indeed, aesthetically I find the new interface, well, ugly. Users no longer have background pictures, but instead a plain off white background. Here I must point out that this plain white background actually makes reading tweets just a little harder, given they are also against an off white background. At the same time one's profile picture and cover picture are now much, much larger (too large if you ask me). I find the over all effect unappealing.

To make matters worse, tweets that have received more reaction than others now appear slightly larger than other tweets so, according to the Twitter blog, "your best content is easy to find". This is actually the thing I hate the most about the new layout. I do not want any of my tweets appearing smaller or larger than the others. I want them all to be the same size. First, I think this makes reading one's tweets harder. Second, from an aesthetic standpoint, it makes for a very unattractive feed. I much prefer tweets to all be the same size. Third, I really don't want any of my tweets emphasised at the expense of others. I like to think all of my content is good, regardless of if it has received engagement or not.

I do have to admit that the new layout has one improvement over the old. They have moved "Who to Follow (*ahem* which should be "Whom to Follow") and Trends to the right sidebar.  The end result is that one doesn't have to scroll as far down to see them now. Of course, I would rather they give us the option of removing "Who to Follow" entirely or at least place Trends above it. I've never used "Who to Follow", but I am interested in what is trending.

There are some features of the new layout that I really couldn't test in the preview. Supposedly in the new layout one can pin one of his or her tweets to the top of his or her page. Honestly, this doesn't sound that useful to me, but some people might like it. Another feature is that one can now filter others' timelines on their profiles by "Tweets", "Tweets with photos/videos", or "Tweets and replies". Again, I really don't see this as necessarily being that useful, although others might like it. Honestly, I would be happy if they would give us the ability to keep pictures and videos from displaying in the feed!

Over all I think the new Twitter layout is a big step in the wrong direction. The only way I could see myself enjoying using it is if they give us the following options: 1.) give us back background pictures; 2.) give us the option of making the profile picture and cover picture smaller; and, most importantly, 3.) give us the option of having all of our tweets the same size, regardless of how much engagement they have had.  I would also appreciate it if they separated retweets from mentions as well as a means to hide photos and videos in the stream. Unless they make those changes I think I will continue using HootSuite for the foreseeable future.

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