Starting Thursday, Twitter began rolling out their latest redesign, dubbed “New New Twitter” by users. The new design looks okay, albeit a bit heavy on the boxes, but some of the changes it brings aren’t so welcome. It seems to me as if Twitter is slowly strangling the brilliant simplicity that made it unique and successful, and making the service more and more like Facebook.
The first change that irks me is the new Connect screen, which replaces the Mentions tab. Instead of getting a listing of replies or tweets mentioning your username, you get something closer to a Facebook feed. The stream is cluttered with messages along the lines of “Mr. Follower and 6 others are now following you. Isn’t that great?” Oh, and anytime someone retweets one of your updates, it goes in there too. You can still get to the Mentions timeline, but it requires a second click. I imagine it’s even more “useful” if you have a half million followers.
I’m still not sure where they buried the Direct Messages page. I know it must be around here somewhere…
Next on the list is “Brand Pages.” Now the Twitter profiles for large brands get a few extra features that, while I’m sure they find useful, kind of detract from the Twitter experience and remind me of Myspace. (Remember them?)
Brand pages get to have a graphical banner on their profile, right above the timeline. They also get to make a featured tweet “sticky” and pin it to the top of their timeline. Oh, and did I mention any linked photos or videos in those sticky tweets get auto-expanded?
Now for the icing on the cake. Remember Loren Brichter’s excellent iOS app? Formerly known as Tweetie, it won an Apple design award before Twitter bought it and made it the official app. Well, Twitter has completely scrapped that codebase and replaced it with something that reminds me of Facebook’s kludgy app. It’s missing many of the great features of the old app, and feels very watered down in comparison. But it looks and acts more or less the same on Android, which is…good for Android users, I guess.
Gruber nailed it in his review.
…today’s new Twitter, is something else. It’s an attempt at a best way to do Twitter that is as consistent as possible across multiple platforms, ranging from the iPhone to Android to the mobile and desktop web. I don’t want an iPhone app that’s constrained by the restrictions of a mobile web app. The whole reason I prefer native apps is that I like experiences that far exceed what can be done in a web app. This is a native app that looks and feels like it was designed and polished according to the norms of web apps, not other native iPhone apps.
It looks to me like #NewNewTwitter is the new #Dickbar. Fortunately, there are still plenty of third-party apps, which have had an increase in sales since the update. (Tweetbot and Twittelator Neue are a couple of good ones.)