For years, Twitter users have been split between those who predominantly tweet directly through the website and those who choose to use third party applications. As I currently sit amongst the latter group opting to use Tweetie on Mac and Twitter (formally part of the Tweetie app family) on the iPhone, I can only give my opinion on why people choose to do shy away from the web interface.
For me, the Twitter site started to offer more features which I had no use for and were ultimately unneeded distractions and clutter. The aforementioned third party apps I choose to use took the user interface (UI) back to the bare basics of Twitter’s features. You can post tweets (with the option of adding photos & geo-based data), see your @replies, direct messages and search. With the exception of search, these features are the only things I’ve found regular use for, until now that is…
Recently, Twitter revealed (and subsequently began rolling out) the new design of their web interface showcasing some great new features allowing you to extract more information than your run of the mill tweet. Before the new UI was released, if you wanted to find out more information about a particular topic, you as a user would have to do the work of searching for hashtags, or tweets popping up in your local area. With the new UI, all you have to do is click on a tweet and a panel appears containing a whole host of extra information. Tweets with the same hashtag are listed, even showing tweets from outside your network, allowing you to get a wider view of a conversation. @replied tweets reveal the ongoing conversation between users. If you post a tweet with location-based data turned on, you can see who is tweeting in the same area. The list really goes on and on.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that I found Twitter’s interface to be cluttered, pushing me towards third party apps which were more simple and straight to the point, so why am I so happy about this host of new features? Because they are meaningful. These are features that I can actually use to gain more understanding of a subject, see what people are finding interesting and even gives the potential to meet more like-minded people.
The new Twitter takes information produced by the worldwide community and pulls it all together to give you a richer experience.