While Twitter has been hailed for its number of users and frequency of Tweets, there always seemed to be major pieces missing and their just-unveiled redesign seems to square a number of those missing elements. Many people have Twitter accounts but don’t use them often. Many more people don’t clearly understand how to best use the system and are therefore blocked from making it the strongest communication tool it can be. And then there’s the revenue problem… Until now, Twitter didn’t seem to have a solid platform for revenue, but with the redesign, the opportunities should make the trajectory skyrocket. It’s about time that they did this, and the video previewing the redesigned site’s features intimates that they might have gotten it just right. We’ll know for sure how much we can fly when it rolls out in the next few weeks.
First off, the interface is much more holistic and user-friendly. Perhaps they learned from interfaces like Flipboard, Pulse and other solid social/information sites and Apps. There is a logical step from one part of the process to the next, so that it is not as disjointed as it might have seemed until now. For many people, their enjoyment of Twitter was in the reading posts or posting them. They might have retreated occasionally, but most did not “converse” like it seems they will be able to do in this next iteration.
The “technical” aspects are softened and more easy to follow and learn in the new version. It was intimidating if you didn’t know what a # or a @ meant or when you should use either. The new version seems to require less of those, providing more of a natural integration of pulling words and making connections – and when you do use them, I hope it is less daunting.
With the new interface, it is poised to present ads more clearly and contextually. As they almost proudly stated previously that they didn’t have a plan for revenue, they now do – and it doesn’t require celebrities to have any involvement. It will be interesting to see how ads are incorporated and how contextually relevant they can become.
Which leads us to the challenging part of the new proposition – the inevitability of tracking our communications, tendencies or preferences. While the strength of the redesign is in its personalization, that is a concern from both a privacy and algorithm perspective. the LA Times Technology Blog reports that:
When people first alight on the site or sign up to use the service, Twitter will help them discover information most likely to interest them by registering signals such as their location. In the coming year, Dorsey said to expect an increased emphasis on that kind of “discovery” to “bubble up” the most relevant Tweets, messages of up to 140 characters in length that users broadcast.
With that ability, comes more tracking of those personal tendencies. It certainly makes finding things more simple on one hand, but the algorithm could also lead to less exploration if a user just follows what is served up. Granted, the feature will enable users to find stuff where they might not have found anything at all previously… We’ll call it a toss-up and hope for the best.
Certainly, the personalization creates more opportunity for Twitter to sell thing and let their valuation fly even higher.
One last small thing about the preview video is that they made a nice subtle move to embrace both PC and iOS users by having the guy sit behind a PC laptop but pull his iPhone out of the sweater pocket and clearly display the Apple product before sitting down and getting to work. Nicely done…
Hopefully, the redesign does deliver on what it seems to promise. It will certainly engage a larger amount of active users and give Facebook and Google a decent fight for the ad dollars. Its streamlined communication platform will provide the opportunity for users to communicate and share with (hopefully) less privacy concerns or confusion.
Fingers are crossed as we prepare to take flight….