Recently, Twitter went through a significant upgrade and redesign. This time the update is huge and comprehensive – starting with new mobile apps and ending with a new version of popular tweeting platform Tweetdeck. What has changed? Are there some things you should be aware of? Continue reading and check out a review of the new Twitter web version and the Tweetdeck to find out what’s new.
You won’t see anything drastic on the new homepage yet there are some adjustments. The new homepage is designed to make it easier to access and scan the relevant information for you. The biggest improvement is the media which is now embedded into the timeline. There’s no need to view photos or videos in new tabs anymore, you can access them straight away ( of course, you still have to click). You can also immediately access your favorite features from the lefthand side.
The new homepage’s goal is to be consistent between all your devices. Twitter has always been about simplicity and nothing has changed with this version. Although with the right aligned timeline Twitter has has started to resemble other social networks.
The profile view has experienced some changes. The number of lists you’re included on is now gone. In fact, lists have been made more irrelevant with this update. You also get a larger picture thumbnail and the new Me tab allows you to edit your profile straight within the profile page.
The @Connect tab has taken over the previous Activity tab’s duties. It’s the place where you can see who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted or favorited one of your tweets. The tab is splits Interactions and Mentions so you can easily track your Twitter influence. Basically nothing much has changed except the name which I believe does the trick.
Another thing Twitter has introduced in this version is the switch from usernames to real names. Now everything’s backwards – first name you’ll see above the tweet is the real name which is a hyperlink and only then comes the username.
Discover lets you tap into a stream of useful and entertaining information, customized just for you. Discover is something like the old search function only way more better. What it does is it generated your personalized information and stories based on who you follow, your location, trends and your interactions. Discover tab consists of five sections – stories, activity, who to follow, find friends and browse categories. Interacting has been made extremely easy.
While some of the experienced users often get bored by those following suggestions which aren’t always the best, the #Discover is a superb feature for those who are new to Twitter and don’t quite know where to start off.
Twitter has followed the example of Facebook and Google+ and introduces the brand pages feature with this update. Although it’s nothing game changing because most of the companies already have Twitter accounts this feature will allow companies to customize their header to make their pages look more official. Companies will also have the chance promote a tweet which will appear at the top of the timeline. The new pages also let brands separate their replies and mentions. And, of course, they’re free.
@1stwebdesigner nice article, this one reason why I need optomise my website for mobile devices.
— Juan Tarrats (@jtarratsart) December 21, 2011
The new update also comes with great news for developers. Instead of copying and pasting a code users can now simply embed their tweets with just a couple of clicks. All the usual actions are available and easy to use with the embedded tweets – reply, favorite, retweet.
WordPress bloggers will be able embed Tweets directly into their posts by simply copying the Tweet URL or using a familiar shortcode.
Finally, Twitter has refreshed the design of Follow and Tweet buttons and introduced two more buttons – #hashtag and @mention button. The new #hashtag button tells your visitors there’s an interesting conversation happening on Twitter, and lets them join in with just one click. The @mention button encourages visitors to Tweet to your account, driving public conversation directly from your website.
Most of the negative feedback comes from iPhone users. The option to translate tweets is gone and users can no longer copy and paste from a tweet. There’s also some buzz about saying thank you to multiple people. With the tweeting now happening from a pop up window you no longer reply to several people at once so you just have to type in the user names manually. Which again is a little inconvenient because of the use of real names.
Yet I was unable to find anything significant that the new version lacks so I’d be grateful if you could point these things out for me and other readers.
Twitter really appears to have hit the bull’s eye with this update. Most of the users seem very fancy about the new changes and reviews are only praising the new features. There are opinions that Twitter has officially gone mainstream but that’s the very same thing you’d do with such an influx of users. The new version really makes engagement and interaction easy. We’ll see the results but for now on it seems rather promising and optimistic.
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The same day Twitter announced it’s new version the most popular tweeting platform Tweetdeck got a new look as well. Tweetdeck was acquired by Twitter in May 2011 allegedly for around 40 million dollars. Finally, the conversion from beta is complete and we can get our hands on the new platform.
You can get Tweetdeck either as a web application, Chrome plugin or desktop plugin. In this review I’m using the desktop version yet there’s actually no difference. So, what’s new?
The most radical yet not so noticeable is the shift from AIR to a native desktop app. The dashboard is almost identical with the old version however there’s been an irreversible change. The next thing you might spot is the missing orange logo which is replaced by Twitter’s blue bird.
The column navigation has switched to the top of the window and is more handy. Yet there’s a considerable drawback namely the columns aren’t resizable anymore. Actually you couldn’t resize columns in the old version as well but the minimum width for them was lower and more columns would fit the screen.
Unlike the old version the tweeting is now done from a pop up window. Some other minor changes include blue links, switch from usernames to real names, tweets now miss day and date and a smooth search bar at the top right.
Overall, the look now seems somehow cleaner and coherent. Browsing experience is made more pleasing and perceptible. Yet there’s a price. And it becomes apparent when it comes to performance and features which is far more important than sleek neat visual look.
Performance & Features
Usually with an upgrade we expect new features and improved performance but it’s quite discussible within this case. So is there something new? The message box is more compact as it merges the messages you have with a person. Also you get a solid info about a user you follow by clicking on his avatar. Yes, that’s about it.
But what’s gone? First of all there’s no more support for Foursquare, LinkedIn and Google+ also hasn’t hit the list.
While some of you might be glad that the AIR is gone there are some cons. And the most apparent is the approximate 20 second delay for updating tweets. It may not be so essential for ordinary user but it may create some problems for those who used to use Tweetdeck seriously.
Here are other important drawbacks and missing features:
- There’s no more option to edit lists and add new people to them.
- Retweeted tweets doesn’t stand out in any way so it’s harder to spot them.
- Media from Twitpic, Instagram, Youtube etc doesn’t show in a pop up. Instead you have to view it in browser.
- @Me column shows only mentions without retweets.
- No drag and drop support for image upload.
- You can’t translate tweets anymore.
- No more support for keyboard shortcuts.
While Tweetdeck can be proud of the fresh beautiful look it just can’t hide and countervail all the missing features. One of the Mashable’s commentators wrote – “Tweetdeck wasn’t just a Twitter client but an overall social media dashboard.” Sadly but it’s kind of truth. Some maintain that this is the Twitter’s strategy to stimulate users to use the native Twitter website and maybe it is so.
However, Tweetdeck was never a business platform. It was created for Twitter power users and I believe it hasn’t changed it’s nature. The new look is definitely a benefit and, well, do we care if Twitter pushes us to use it’s own tools? For the average user it doesn’t make a difference and if the app works and meets all the needs – why not to use it?