I love Twitter! It is my favorite social media site, just the way it is, for lots of reasons. Twitter has been the single most valuable driver of my business. So, when Twitter, in their official blog, says they are going to be making massive changes over the next few weeks, I worry. Well, I have researched the changes they are proposing and have come to a conclusion: Twitter is soon going to become even more awesome.
These changes will affect not only the aesthetics of the platform, which make it look strangely Facebook-esque, but will also offer some pretty cool added functionalities.
First I will tell you what the changes are. Then I will tell you why each is important. Here are the changes you can expect over the coming weeks.
New Twitter Layout
In their April 8 announcement, Twitter stated: "Moment by moment, your Twitter profile shows the world who you are. Starting today, it will be even easier (and, we think, more fun) to express yourself through a new and improved web profile."
So, what can we expect as Twitter rolls out the new layout?
Customizable Header: Think Facebook cover photo. Use your header to reinforce your brand message, promote your website or showcase your products.
The recommended dimensions for this new header image are 1500px (width) x 500px (height).
I'll be writing in more detail about the new Twitter headers in the near future, but in the meantime here are 9 Creative Ways to Use Your Facebook Cover Photo. Since the two will become very similar, my tips in this post will apply.
Larger Profile Photo: The new profile photo will be 400x400 pixels. This will give you significantly more space than Facebook's 160x160 pixels.
Pinned Tweet: Pin your most important tweet to the top of your page. This will increase the visibility of key, business-driving (products, services, events, etc.) tweets.
Best Tweets: Tweets with the most engagement will appear slightly larger so you can see the most popular tweets at a glance.
Filtered Tweets: You can now sort tweets by: Tweets, tweets with photos/videos, and tweets with replies.
3-Column Layout: The left-hand column will display profile info like name, website URL, date you joined Twitter (new) and photos and videos you've tweeted (new); the middle column will display your tweets; and the right-hand column will include follow suggestions and trends.
It also appears profiles may include a 'tweet to' button that will allow you to quickly @ mention the user (the Twitter profile used an example on the Twitter blog shows this feature, however live examples do not appear to include it).
It's important to note that at least for now, these changes will be web-only; meaning when you access Twitter from your mobile device, you'll see the old, standard layout.
These changes haven't yet been implemented for the general public, but you can expect to see your profile page change over to the new layout in the coming weeks.
But wait! There's more! Real-Time Notifications Coming.
In addition to the redesign, Twitter will also be implementing real-time notifications when someone engages with your tweets. This means then when you're using the Twitter web interface you'll see live notifications when someone replies, favorites or retweets your tweets, or when they direct message or follow you.
You'll also have the ability to directly respond to these actions right from within the notification box (see below).
To customize your real-time notification settings, simply go to 'Settings' and then 'Web notifications'. Here you can select whether you'd like to be notified when:
• Your tweets are retweeted
• Your tweets are favorited
• Your tweets get a reply
• You're mentioned in a tweet
• You're followed by someone new
• You're sent a direct message.
Why are real-time notifications important? They act as an immediate filter and shorten the communication cycle that hopefully leads to some business supporting result. Customer service issues get solved quicker and business opportunities get moved down the pipeline faster.
All in all, I'm excited about these changes, as I believe they'll ultimately lead to more effective branding, increased engagement, and a more efficient use of time spent on the platform. I'll write more about how to make the best use of these new features in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!
What do you think of these changes? Do you think they'll make a significant impact on how we use Twitter? Share with us below!