Analysis of the New, New Twitter

I think the best analysis of the New Twitter (on Twitter: #NewNewTwitter) that was unveiled yesterday comes courtesy of Dan Frommer:

  1. Most important: Twitter is shipping. There’s been a bit of negative press about the company over the past several months. And yes, some of its early and/or important employees aren’t there anymore. But Twitter is a large company now. And to release something this big, this good, this smoothly, it actually seems to be working. (And in my observation, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey actually seem to play off each other pretty well. At least in public!)
  2. This is the beginning of Jack Dorsey’s real vision for Twitter combined with Dick Costolo’s vision for a real-time social advertising product. The main components: writing and Tweets, obviously; having conversations with other people; discovering what’s happening in the world through Twitter; and seeing a promoted message from brands here and there.
  3. Twitter is trying to de-emphasize private messaging by moving it a layer deeper in the user interface. I’m guessing there are a bunch of reasons for this, not limited to: Simplicity, perhaps relatively low usage by most users, potentially confusing rules around DMing, and that more public content is probably better for Twitter’s product and advertising goals. Some long-time and hardcore Twitter users are probably going to be upset about this, but one of Twitter’s strengths has always been its willingness to design for its mainstream users at the expense of its geek users. (Tip: To get fast access to your DMs on Twitter for iPhone, you can swipe up the “Me” icon at the bottom.)
  4. Twitter is emphasizing real-name identity more than it did before. It’s now saying “retweeted by Dan Frommer” instead of “retweeted by @fromedome”. While I’ve always appreciated the playfulness of Twitter handles, this is probably more useful for Twitter going forward. It adds a sense of civility. It starts to make Twitter an alternative to Facebook for real-name identity management. (Something the market wants.) And as Twitter grows, and as having a unique handle without numbers becomes trickier, it looks cleaner.

I actually frown upon the emphasis of real names on Twitter, as I know people I follow by their Twitter handles  (and perhaps so do you). By proceeding with this emphasis of real names, Twitter is becoming more like Facebook and Google Plus, which is unfortunate.

Read the rest of Dan’s post here.

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