Out of all the big social networks, Twitter is definitely the most confusing and least intuitive for newcomers. Twitter knows this, which is why it's introducing Instant Timeline to make it easier for novices to play catch up.
If you're new to Twitter now, you get a bunch of suggestions on who to follow, but unless you go through and manually choose a bunch of different accounts, you'll still start out with an empty Timeline. And that's no fun. Instant Timeline will curate a feed for people based on their interests, and who their friends follow.
Twitter unveiled its plan for Instant Timeline at its Investor's Day call, but executives also discussed some big planned features that would impact long-term users. Soon we'll be able to share tweets in DMs, and the company has plans to introduce location-based feeds (which would suck for YikYak, the location-based startup based largely around the fact that it's like a hyper-localised Twitter).
The company also discussed plans to develop more standalone apps, which fits with its decision to release a developer toolkit. This is Twitter's blueprint for taking over your phone: Get holdouts on board, get Twitter embedded on a network of other apps, crush the competition by incorporating what makes them unique into your main app, and keep old-school users happy by continuing to add new stuff. We'll see if it works, but it's definitely an aggressive approach for the Blue Bird, and a sign that users shouldn't expect the Twitter they know to stay the same. [TechCrunch]