Twitter has started rolling out yet another new design. The company has passed through a number of facelifts since its 2007 SxSW coming out party, adding new features, emphasizing different aspects of the Twitter experience and swallowing up third party developers.
The new design looks like it may the biggest yet — especially for mobile users. I think they keyed off Pinterest. Pictures, pictures everywhere. Even short tweets were too much to read.
“Discovery” now includes pictures and headlines that make the tab similar to a contextualized news feed, one that, as Twitter puts it, has been “tailored for you.” If the news is tweeted from a website, it may come in the form of a “card” that combines the traditional short text with an image, headline and teaser.
Search, too, now offers pictures and videos first as though the image is more important than the words.
And those pictures are getting bigger. Profiles now feature header photos, like those at the top of Facebook’s timelines, and photos can appear full screen on mobile devices.
Those changes tell us two things about the way that Twitter sees its future:
- It expects the service to be used increasingly on mobile devices;
- It expects users to be uploading more video and photography.
Both of those trends present challenges for business users on Twitter.
Add Code to Your Website and Customer to Your Pocket
Professional Twitter users tend not to use their iPhones and Android devices as their main way of posting tweets. We are more likely to tweet while sitting at our office desks and to use a client like Hootsuite to manage our campaigns and schedule posts.
We can continue doing that. The changes to “Discovery” actually make that kind of planned content creation even more important. To make the most of those Discovery-based Twitter Cards, you will need to add a line of HTML code to the HEAD section of the page:
<meta name=”twitter:card” content=”summary”>
By changing the properties of the Card, you can configure the way it appears to users and the information it contains. It is not difficult, and Twitter’s development page will talk you through it, but it is something that takes planning.
Your appearance on the Discovery tab will not happen on a mobile device.
But the emphasis on photography will mean that when you are not defining your Cards, you will need to get out of your office. (There are only so many times that you can tweet a picture of your keyboard or coffee mug.) You will need to make regular trips to the shop floor to photograph other workers doing their thing. You will need to think of conferences and shows as opportunities to bring your followers and customers with you.
And, most importantly, you will need to bring the office with you wherever you go.
If Twitter is going to shift to a platform on which pictures are almost as important as words, and if those pictures are going to happen outside the office, you are going to have think of your mobile phone as carrying your customer base with you. Fail to shoot and tweet in your downtime and your timeline is going to look pretty stale.
The New Twitter increases the personal in personal marketing — and it means you are never going to be away from the pressures of the office…unless you do it right.
Oh, since this seems to be all about birds, here is a silly bonus: