Twitter’s app overhaul great for the mainstream, flawed for hardcore users

Dec 8, 2011
Tech

Social networking giant Twitter announced a major overhaul to its service today. It is being rolled out in stages, but you can see it now via their mobile web app and in its Android and iPhone app updates. Version 4.0 is in the App Store, but the changes are for iPhone-only. No ETA on an […]

Social networking giant Twitter announced a major overhaul to its service today. It is being rolled out in stages, but you can see it now via their mobile web app and in its Android and iPhone app updates. Version 4.0 is in the App Store, but the changes are for iPhone-only. No ETA on an iPad native changeover has been given. The iOS app is appealing and many of the new features are welcome, but the hard-core twitter elite and power users are not going to be happy. If you are part of the statistical majority, however, i.e. lurkers and browsers, the change makes finding the people and topics you are most interested in much easier.

The redesign is an effort on Twitter’s part to adapt to a shift in Twitter culture. The service has gone from being primarily a micro-blogging site to a more content driven affair and marketing tool. Twitter has details on its blog.

Mashable quotes Jack Dorsey, chairman of Twitter, from a press conference at the planned new headquarters in San Francisco as saying “one main thrust here is making Twitter more accessible for all 7 billion people on the planet” adding that the change is “simpler not just for people already engaged but easier for new people to discover it and find value in it. It’s the best place to represent yourself on the Internet.”

For iOS users the app launches on the Home tab – one of four tabs located at the bottom of the screen. This is this what we now call the Timeline.

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The Connect tab includes mentions, but has a new feature, Interactions, making it sometimes painfully clear whom is following — or not.

Discover is identified with the # symbol, but this is where the real shift in Twitter’s focus seems to lie. We are invited to enter either a “hashtag” or “keyword” then the app serves up both related tweets and people to follow.

The trouble for me, comes with the Me tab. It’s easy to switch accounts, and see lists and drafts, but this is also the place to find Direct Messages (DM). For many of us, DM’ing is a big part of the social component to the social networking site. That is where the app, and likely the service, fail. While promoting the sharing aspect, it makes the system, and app by corollary, less of a conversation and more of feed service. There will still be a market for robust twitter clients, but get used to it folks, the changes are for keeps.

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Lisa Caplan

Lisa Caplan writes app lists and guides as well as reviewing iOS apps and games on various tech sites, most recently on her fledgling iPhone and iPad giveaway blog, AppTudes. She is thrilled to be joining the stellar reviewing team at Appolicious. Located in a balmy Montreal suburb, Lisa has an advanced degree in Creative Writing, and has had an Apple computer by her side since 1979! She is a talentless art nut, bibliophile and accessory junkie. Lisa looks forward to sharing her gaming addiction and love for all tech that promotes culture, communication, social awareness and education at every level.

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