Twitter is pushing out a pretty big redesign that feels more app-like and focuses on keeping you on Twitter longer, seeing stories evolve and following conversations. One thing that'll surely rankle a lot of feathers: your timeline is on the right side! But even more important: this is a Twitter for the lurkers.
This new update to Twitter is a much bigger update to the service than previous redesigns and will very likely affect the way you use Twitter. The focus seems to be more on watching a conversation occur and seeing a story happen rather than joining the conversation yourself (though you can still do that too, of course!). It's a major shift in ideology, one that's been a long time coming. And it makes sense, too; people are using Twitter less to say what they had for lunch and more to follow breaking news and high-level debate.
The new Twitter is building hubs around Home, Connect and Discover. Home and Connect are familiar enough, with Home being the Twitter you know, your timeline. What's new is that photos, videos and conversation apps will be displayed in-line with tweets, so the viewing experience isn't as jumpy and sporadic as before. Connect is pretty much what @mentions used to be, a place to see who's talking to you and who these people are. Discover gets the biggest update, it's now an elegant place to, well, discover new stories.
We'll have more to say about the design and functionality once we've had more of a chance to play with it, but the first impression is a little jarring: it's not particularly, er, pretty, at least on iOS, and having to dig down to get to your DMs doesn't seem particularly practical. Oh, and it's painfully obvious who's not following you now. So that's awkward.
Overall though, this is Twitter admitting that it's more than just trending topics and what's happening around the world. It's an important tool to discover new things. And it's a world that more of us observe than create. [Twitter]