That major redesign Twitter was teasing earlier this year? It’s here. And it has a few features we hadn’t heard about thrown in for good measure. Welcome to Facewitter, or Twitbook. It’s actually pretty nice!
The overhaul isn’t quite as dramatic as what circulated in February, although it’s still a fairly stark change from what you’re used to. That is, unless you’re a Facebook user. The layout gives you the same custom profile picture paired with a banneresque background shot, familiar to anyone who’s visited a Timeline lately.
What’s perhaps more interesting is the newfound control Twitter users will find over what they can display. Once the redesign hits your profile, you’ll be able to pluck your favourite and/or most representative tweet out from the C A S C A D E and “pin” it to the top of your profile, so that visitors are met with your best food forward instead of a turkey sandwich complaint. You can see an example in Washington’s profile above.
There’s an automated portion as well; your “best tweets”, determined here by the ones that “have received more engagement”, will appear as larger in timeline. It’s not clear yet what the bar is for embiggening, although presumably it would have to vary from user to user given that your best tweet probably gets fewer RTs and favs than Kate Perry’s worst. Here’s how the biggisher tweets look, compliments of Weezer, who had a good time in Nashville:
Lastly, you can decide what kind of tweets you want to be shown when looking at a profile: tweets, tweets with photos/videos, or tweets and replies. The photo/video filter seems to be the freshest bit there, and should be a real creeper time-saver.
While it’s a lot of changes, the new profile still manages to look relatively clean, and while pinning your favourite tweet at the top feels a little like cheating, it’s always nice to have a welcome mat you can trust, instead of whatever drunken remnants are left over from the night before.
Beyond the look though, there’s no question that Twitter continues to march ever close into Facebook’s territory in both form and function. The new design and tweet control, combined with the newfound ability to tag people in pictures without losing character count ago, show that Twitter really may be losing sight of what makes it so great after all. If we wanted Facebook, we would be on Facebook.
Twitter’s priority is less on current users than it is on attracting new ones. You’re hooked, sorry! For newbies, though, the familiar Facebook design cues feel comforting; the ability to pin tweets gives a sense of control in an otherwise unnavigable stream; the larger “best tweets” validates that some of what you’re doing on here actually matters (don’t be fooled, it doesn’t!). This is for them, not for you. Besides, you’ll get used to it… eventually.
The new profile changes will kick in today for some (you can see Kerry Washington was among those with first dibs), and will be automatic for new users. The rest of us will see it rolling out over the next few weeks.