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And Your Bird Can Fly
December 9, 2011 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Twitter has launched an entirely overhauled version of Twitter, today, including a new version of its website, its apps, and TweetDeck (now native on Mac, rather than using Adobe AIR!). You currently need to download the latest version of the Android or iPhone app to see the new version of the website. Dan Frommer offers some good first impressions.
posted by gilrain (68 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Twitter blog post gives a little bit more info on how the rollout will do.
We’ll be rolling out the redesigned Twitter over the next few weeks. You can see it immediately on the just-updated versions of mobile.twitter.com, Twitter for iPhone, and Twitter for Android. You can get early access on your computer by downloading and logging into Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android. We’re working on updates for other apps, such as Twitter for iPad, and will share news as they become available.
posted by gilrain at 7:32 AM on December 9, 2011


Is this why trying to log in to TweetDeck via the Chrome extension is yielding an AssertionError?
posted by rewil at 7:34 AM on December 9, 2011


Do I get to be the first to say I hate it?

Yay!
posted by Windigo at 7:34 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


They seem to have disabled the "Add/remove people from lists" function. Or have they just moved it?

Either way, I can't find it. Dislike.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:35 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


(OK, I like the iphone app version. But the website is all backwards and I'm old and get off of the right side of my lawn, Twitter!)
posted by Windigo at 7:36 AM on December 9, 2011


They took away my motherfucking swipe-a-tweet-for-more-options option. And therefore, I shall have to hate it for all time.

Also, I still can't figure out how to add people who have sent me a friend request. I don't have any pending, so maybe that's a functionality that shows up when someone sends me a request? I don't know. I just don't know. *shakes head*
posted by jph at 7:39 AM on December 9, 2011


I don't like (and haven't liked) the way the retweet function is handled in the native twitter client. I don't want my retweet to strip the name of the person whose tweet i actually saw (even if they were retweeting someone else) and I absolutely want (where there is character space) to be allowed to add comment or (where there is not space) edit the tweet to add comment. I've been having to cut tweets, edit in notepad and paste to do what I want with Twitter for a while now, so this won't really change that, I guess.

Twitter is my favorite "social media" thing on the internet though. I've loved it since I joined and my mom was the only person I knew with an account.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


7. Twitter lists seem way less important.

FUCK! Coming from an LJ background, this pisses me off. I just started using them to try and tame my bloated fucking timeline so I don't have to scroll through a million fucking messages each time.

Fuck you, Twitter. That sucks dead moose cock.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm really not enjoying it either. I have a number of issues, all of which are neatly described in an article in John Gruber's blog, Daring Fireball, The New Twitter (R.I.P. Tweetie).
posted by MykReeve at 7:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Gruber's take.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:41 AM on December 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


You currently need to download the latest version of the Android or iPhone app to see the new version of the website.

Soooo...If I never use their mobile app, my account on the website will never update itself to the new version?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:41 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Flipboard app for iPad has become the only way I can stand to use Twitter now.
posted by rocket88 at 7:42 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


The #discover tab is perfect for helping me keep track of what's going on in the world of Justin Bieber and Kim Kardashian.
posted by schwa at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Flipboard app for iPad has become the only way I can stand to use Twitter now.

I don't understand Flipboard. Help.

It's like an RSS Reader but with only 4 stories on screen at once.
posted by schwa at 7:44 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I only started using twitter about a month ago, so didn't have time to get get comfortable enough with the old version to be sad that it's changing. I...win?
posted by phunniemee at 7:44 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad: Soooo...If I never use their mobile app, my account on the website will never update itself to the new version?

They're rolling it out to everyone over a few weeks. You can just get it immediately by logging into one of the new mobile apps.
posted by gilrain at 7:45 AM on December 9, 2011


Yeah, I used to use twitter for its utility, now I use it to see how many url redirection layers are actually possible.

WHOSE LAWN NOW?
posted by 7segment at 7:47 AM on December 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Is their new motto still brought to you by Ontario, Canada?
posted by clvrmnky at 7:47 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]




I like it...
posted by pwally at 7:49 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


pwally: I like it...

Me too, pwally. Me too. I also like the new Gmail. I'm beginning to worry about my geek cred.
posted by gilrain at 7:52 AM on December 9, 2011


Oh, I really like this summation:
What also worries me is that these changes suggest not only a difference in opinion regarding how a Twitter client should work, but also regarding just what the point is of Twitter as a service. The Twitter service I signed up for is one where people tweet 140-character posts, you follow those people whose tweets you tend to enjoy, and that’s it. The Twitter service this new UI presents is about a whole lot more — mass-market spoonfed “trending topics” and sponsored content. It’s trying to make Twitter work for people who don’t see the appeal of what Twitter was supposed to be. It all makes sense if you think of the label under the “#” tab as reading “Dickbar” instead of “Discover”.
Twitter for me has always been a means of ambient awareness for the people I see oftenish, but not enough, as well as charming asynchronous conversations with people I love. I eventually got a second account which I used for asynchronous conversation / ambient awareness of people I'm not related to and then a third account I use for work (marketing, networking, news monitoring). The third use is the least useful, least rewarding, least natural. It seems this change is geared toward that, which may signal the death of the only "social media" which actually facilitated my interpersonal relationships with people I honestly like.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:52 AM on December 9, 2011 [16 favorites]


I DL on my Android but now the web version still looks the same. Is that how it is supposed to work?
posted by pointystick at 8:02 AM on December 9, 2011


I've never quite gotten Twitter. It aways seems like I'm in a big room of people talking on the phone and I can only hear one side of each conversation. I've never really figured out how to follow conversations and always feel like I'm missing half of what's going on.
posted by octothorpe at 8:03 AM on December 9, 2011 [5 favorites]


"I've never really figured out how to follow conversations and always feel like I'm missing half of what's going on."

You're using it correctly.

Remembering that you don't want or need to follow every conversation going on at once is a good thing.
posted by schwa at 8:13 AM on December 9, 2011


The search function is still buried; they really want you to sign up and log in and follow people first (fortunately, http://twitter.com/search still works). Back button support seems better.
posted by kurumi at 8:13 AM on December 9, 2011


I saw the secret way to switch accounts a little faster or getting to DMs but is there some unlock to read it in landscape on the iPhone? I liked the old app and I'll get used to this but the lack of landscape is kind of a drag.

I'm also ok with their efforts to the discover mode to make some money and I can just ignore that tab.
posted by birdherder at 8:15 AM on December 9, 2011


HOW DARE THEY MAKE REFINEMENTS
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been pleased that most of the response I've seen to the new version has been positive. I like the new design, particularly the changes to the iPhone app. Everything feels cleaner and faster and more responsive. The new Discover feature (requires you be logged in) is quite interesting rich content.

The new Tweet embedding APIs are also part of this release; they've made it easier to embed tweets with inline replies, etc right into a web site. I'm not a huge fan of this sort of thing but a lot of people seem to like it and I imagine it's part of keeping Twitter competitive with Facebook. The implementation looks pretty good.
posted by Nelson at 8:20 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


It aways seems like I'm in a big room of people talking on the phone and I can only hear one side of each conversation.

I think when you follow people, you don't see their responses to to people in your stream. So that makes it a lot easier.
posted by smackfu at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2011


I've lately been getting what seems like spam on my twitter feed. It will say something like "retweeted by 100 people" rather than telling me which of the people i follow retweeted it to me. (I don't follow 100 people.)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:31 AM on December 9, 2011


Count me as another person who has no problem, even likes some of, the new twitter and gmail layouts.

I guess I suck at geek as well.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:34 AM on December 9, 2011


The new TweetDeck loses LinkedIn support. Not really a big deal I guess.
posted by mkb at 8:35 AM on December 9, 2011


crush-onastick, on my phone/tablet I use Seesmic partially because it gives you the option of commenting (etc) with your retweets.

I kinda like the new web look. And finally, there's some indication that you have a DM! On the other hand, I don't like the switch to emphasizing name over username. (Seesmic started doing this recently as well.) There are too many people who I know primarily as their username, especially if their "real" name is something really common. (I'm in a D&D game now where the DM is someone I met through work, but who mr. epersonae met through Twitter, and he consistently refers to the guy by his Twitter name, even in person.)

now I use it to see how many url redirection layers are actually possible -- and it gets even crazier if you're on a mobile device...so many redirections....
posted by epersonae at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2011


TweetDeck on the desktop is raw and feels like it's missing features, but it's faster.

The new Twitter in iOS seems limited to me, like being surrounded by fog where everything was clearer before.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:37 AM on December 9, 2011


> even likes some of, the new twitter and gmail layouts.

The new Gmail layout caused a bit of eye bleeding here at first but changing the display density made it quite nice.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:38 AM on December 9, 2011


Okay, stupid twitter question. So, I have way too many people that I follow; several hundred. Because I like scrolling through sometimes and see what they have to say. But, there's a much smaller subset of people that I would like to know whenever they tweet, and miss it a lot in that mess of followers. How do people handle this? Seriously, I feel like the biggest idiot, like this will be something obvious that I'm missing...
posted by inigo2 at 8:39 AM on December 9, 2011


This is all a bit confusing. I use the third-party Echofon on iOS. Will they be forced to update to the new twitter style?
posted by naju at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2011


Follow Newton "Newt" Witter for more Twitter non-updates.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:41 AM on December 9, 2011


inigo2 - that's what lists are for. For example, my list of mefi users, or my list of occupy-related stuff.
posted by desjardins at 8:45 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dislike the update. Not because I dislike new updates but because they've made tweeting very user-UN-friendly. Lists are how I keep the shitty from overwhelming the awesome. The beauty of my lists is that I have one stream dedicated to people I know and love: friends & family and then the rest based on type of tweeter: news, etc, runners, celebs, the weird.

It seems like they want one giant update stream, which while entertaining and wondrous can be filled with a fair amount of shit. I want to have the ability to wade through that and focus on who I enjoy following.
posted by Fizz at 8:47 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here's a screenshot of how to add someone to a list.
posted by desjardins at 8:52 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is their new motto still brought to you by Ontario, Canada?


Well, if they're intent on stealing Canadian license plate mottos, "Yours To Discover" is certainly more apropos than, say, "Canada's Ocean Playground."
Although "Je Me Souviens" seems oddly appropriate and "Twitter: Friendly Manitoba" might just be surreal enough to work.
posted by chococat at 8:53 AM on December 9, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is all a bit confusing. I use the third-party Echofon on iOS. Will they be forced to update to the new twitter style?

The web UI will change for you as it does for everyone else. However, 3rd party clients like Echofon interact with Twitter via a series of APIs (programmatic interfaces, not end user UI). They can do whatever they want in terms of what sort of interface the user sees, but are limited in terms of functionality by the capabilities of the APIs.

I would be surprised if Echofon or any of the other major 3rd party clients made major changes to their interface to match Twitter's new stuff. In fact, they probably see adhering to UI concepts more familiar to people who've been using twitter for a while as an advantage. For instance, I've used Echofon on my laptop for a long time after development of the Tweetie desktop client stagnated, and am now considering switching to it on my phone as well simply because it's a more comfortable way to interact with the parts of twitter I give a shit about.

There is some concern that Twitter is going to move to reduce the functionality exposed to 3rd parties, which would hamstring clients like Echofon, but they haven't really done too much in that direction yet as far as I know. Just made some noise on mailing lists about considering it.
posted by sparkletone at 8:53 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Google and Twitter redesigns have made me feel more GET OFF MY LAWN in the last month than the entire Internet did in the 20 years prior.
posted by gnomeloaf at 9:03 AM on December 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm curious to see if they'll monkey around with TweetieTwitter for Mac. It is crisp and clean just like 7-Up. Tweetdeck has always been overkill for me (and in the Mac App store it is currently getting hammered in negative reviews, seems the only positive part is it is not longer an Adobe Air app).
posted by birdherder at 9:16 AM on December 9, 2011


I ended up switching over to TweetBot on my iPhone a while ago, although I still like the official clients on my iPad and desktop. This is kind of a quandary for third-party developers. Those that based their applications on Twitter's official one and then added a layer (or removed a layer, in some cases) of functionality can now choose to go to a new-style layout or keep their existing one. Anyone who was already doing a different layout metaphor? Business as usual.
posted by mikeh at 9:24 AM on December 9, 2011


inigo2 - that's what lists are for

Thank you! I guess that makes completely sense. I feel like a 95 year old in front of their first computer right now....
posted by inigo2 at 9:45 AM on December 9, 2011


That "first impressions" link is all phrased positively but still manages to make the "new Twitter" sound like it sucks. The sentence "Twitter is emphasizing real-name identity more than it did before" is a pretty strong key that this is another corporate suck-fest and has nothing to do with the wild west Internet that was actually fun and useful for so many years there.

I still don't actually use twitter.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:03 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sweet, all the people who suddenly hate twitter can relate to the way I've always felt about twitter.
posted by mullingitover at 10:08 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


> retty strong key that this is another corporate suck-fest and has nothing to do with the wild west Internet that was actually fun and useful for so many years there.

I know this is a derail, but the internet was never really the wild west. It's always been owned by governments, universities, and giant telecoms. I'd say that it's more useful now than ever for organizing people and quickly spreading news, for better or worse, than it was in its so-called wild days in the 1990s.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:08 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


TweetDeck now requires a TweetDeck account before you can add your Twitter account. Sorry, but I don't really want to sign up for another account just to follow a couple dozen folks on Twitter.
posted by tommasz at 10:40 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


From TweetDeck:
We've updated TweetDeck to be consistent with the redesigned Twitter. And, it's now on the web! web.tweetdeck.com
All versions of TweetDeck now look the same; missing functionality relative to the old air-based version; and are probably HTML5 based.

What I do wonder is if functionality was designed out of Twitter, specifically easy access to lists, on the assumption that they'd be designed into TweetDeck. Annoyingly, the TweetDeck update never picked up the columns I originally had, and there was a bug in the program that didn't show all the lists I follow until I restarted it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2011


Burhanistan: sure, it was never the wild west in some platonic sense, but it was a lot more open and less hierarchical than it is now. The limits had more to do with technology than law or politics, because law and politics had barely noticed the network's existence.

Maybe this is my engineering temperament showing through. Obstacles of technology don't bother me, because they are real, and you can do something about them; obstacles of law and politics are intractable and oppressive, and nothing but buckets of money can ever hope to solve them, and that after years of work by expensive lobbyists doing who knows what off in D.C. somewhere.

NAT is definitely an obstacle to doing anything interesting on the Internet, and is one of the chief technological problems squeezing the network back into a client-server box, but pretty much all that happens in the political realm is crap and problems. DMCA, software patents, patriot act, wiretapping, bandwidth caps, all this crap!

This recent corporate obsession with real names as a function of social networking advertisement revenue is a prime example of the gradual hemming-in of free activity on the 'net.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:52 AM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


TweetDeck now requires a TweetDeck account before you can add your Twitter account. Sorry, but I don't really want to sign up for another account just to follow a couple dozen folks on Twitter.

There's a rationale for this. TweetDeck does allow for logging in with multiple Twitter accounts, and ideally, those settings are all stored in a TweetDeck account. Logging in with that same account on different versions of TD minimizes the amount of work to bring back columns.

On the other hand, TweetDeck didn't require a TweetDeck account before ( though that bit was confusing at times ). Requiring it now is annoying, and creating such an account would, I imagine, not capture settings from the old TweetDeck apps. Plus, having more accounts that are independent are annoying to users. (Though possibly more secure, though that would be a surprising attitude for a social media company to take.)

Back when it was an independent company, there was probably no way for Twitter accounts to store TweetDeck data. But now it's part of Twitter, I wonder if a Twitter account could be made to store TD data.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:53 AM on December 9, 2011


When did they introduce the massively redesigned twitter.com? Just like.. a year ago? Six months? Are they just very bored over there?
posted by xmutex at 11:13 AM on December 9, 2011


It is, of course, horrible, and I was not consulted.
posted by AndNeverWell at 11:15 AM on December 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Huh. I'm having the same problem as pointystick. I updated the iOS app and have used it, but am not seeing the New-new Twitter web layout, just the old so-called "New Twitter" layout.
posted by zsazsa at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2011


This add-to-list trick is what I'm talking about. This is the functionality they seem to have removed from the iPhone app. Post-update, the only option that button gives me is report spam or block.

So now I have to log into a fucking desktop to manage lists?

#FAIL
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:18 PM on December 9, 2011


On the other hand, I don't like the switch to emphasizing name over username.

Why don't websites just, you know, offer people options? Like every piece of desktop software you have? Like Metafilter does? It would be very simple ("Do you want to display Twitter handles or real names on your stream? [x]"), and people wouldn't complain. Instead they (and by "they" I also mean Google, Facebook, Flickr, whoever) suddenly change some design element to the complete opposite to how it's always been and suddenly I don't know who I'm reading on my Twitter stream...

Anyway I still hate them for making the change several months ago, where my list of "favourites" is hidden deep, multiple clicks away from the main page. I don't have to click 4 times to view my bookmarks in Firefox - but I have to click 4 times to see my Twitter favourites in the iPhone app. Why would they just essentially remove such a basic feature? Don't they want me to make tweets some of my favourite things???
posted by Jimbob at 12:40 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


rewil - Yes; i had to delete Tweetdeck-for-Chrome, then re-install it. Works all right now but the embedded Facebook comment/ like buttons are gone. Fail.
posted by Bradleygirl at 12:48 PM on December 9, 2011


There's a rationale for this. TweetDeck does allow for logging in with multiple Twitter accounts, and ideally, those settings are all stored in a TweetDeck account. Logging in with that same account on different versions of TD minimizes the amount of work to bring back columns.

For people with multiple Twitter accounts I agree this is justifiable. But I only have the one, and although I used TweetDeck on my work PC and my Mac at home, I had different setups on each. Luckily, (at least for now) there are 3rd party clients I can use instead.
posted by tommasz at 12:58 PM on December 9, 2011


Remember six months ago when a Facebook redesign was uniformly rebuked in the press and elsewhere?
posted by rhizome at 1:58 PM on December 9, 2011


The popular hashtags or whatever they're calling it in this round of updates is like the newspaper comments version of twitter. I use my DMs and I'd far rather have easy access to them than the stuff that makes me not want to use the service.

I don't care so much about the look of it, but the changes to the functionality to emphasize popular (and presumably paid) stuff at the expense of DMs (private, not easy to monetize) is a downcheck. I'm switching to a third-party app on my phone and I guess I'll have to do the same when and if they update the Mac app--for as long as they allow third-party apps.
posted by immlass at 2:34 PM on December 9, 2011


The popular hashtags or whatever they're calling it in this round of updates is like the newspaper comments version of twitter.

I agree. People use Twitter so many different ways. I use it to follow people who post interesting things I want to read - a bunch of sites, journalists, bloggers, comedians, musicians, so the straight normal feed is as interesting as possible to me.

Other people, however, seem to use it as a generic social network - I've heard people make comments that "It's bad Twitter etiquette not to follow someone who follows you." I can't imagine using it like this - there are a pile of people following me who I'm not interested in reading what they have to say, and you can be damn sure I don't expect the people I follow to be interested in what I have to say. As far as I can tell, the whole mutal-following thing would fill Twitter so full of noise it would be pointless. But that's how some people like it.

Then there are the usual people who judge "successful" use of Twitter by how many followers they have. I've seen people get kinda shitty when someone unfollows them - apparently they watch this obsessively.

And there are the people who make a game of trying to make things "trending topics".

That's all cool. Twitter is, really, a very simple but useful communication medium - the continued efforts to turn it into...I don't know, MySpace or something, whatever that "Discover" tab is supposed to me makes me thing the creators don't actually understand what it is they have created.
posted by Jimbob at 5:24 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just recently started "using twitter" when I found out that, though obfuscated and non-obvious, it is possible to get an honest-to-goodness standards-compliant xml rss feed of someone's twitter feed that I can stick right in my feedreader. This allows me, for example, to know when SteveMartinToGo says something funny, or when the KoL guys post a new update, without having to understand the entire wide what-is-this-i-dont-even world of twitter. Problem is, even these accounts, which I presumed would just be used to distribute extremely short form entertaining or informative tidbits, are clogged with what are apparently replies to tweets that aren't in the main feed. It's as if the main metafilter rss feed contained random comments from each thread as well, or maybe if each thread contained random comments from random other threads. I think I understand the whole thing in principle, and the different reasons one might want to use @ and #, but the whole model seems pointless to my, probably flawed worldview if, from coast to coast, people's phones are vibrating at work to text them half of a conversation between Steve Martin and some guy from Peoria.

I feel old. I honestly don't understand what problem twitter solves that some combination of rss, newsgroups, email, listservs, IRC, and IM can't solve much better.
posted by LiteOpera at 6:49 PM on December 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I understand the whole thing in principle, and the different reasons one might want to use @ and #, but the whole model seems pointless to my, probably flawed worldview if, from coast to coast, people's phones are vibrating at work to text them half of a conversation between Steve Martin and some guy from Peoria.

It sounds like maybe the thing you're using does page scraping. If you're using official Twitter/Twitter API stuff, your feed only shows you @ replies between people you follow. So if, say, I follow Steve Martin and my friend follows Steve Martin, and then my friend says something to Steve Martin and gets a reply... I see both sides of that conversation. But I don't see Steve Martin @ing random people I don't follow at all.

That used to not be the case but they changed that a year or two ago, I like it much better this way.

It is also possible to turn off seeing things someone's retweeted as long as they're using the native retweet (as in whatever in your client is the equivalent of clicking the RT button on the web version) and not the thing where you quote the tweet using "" or RT @name: Whatever, etc. (this is BEYOND ESSENTIAL if you are at all interested in following basically any notable rapper)
posted by sparkletone at 7:30 PM on December 9, 2011


Somebody needs to buy Twitter and put it in the public domain. It should be a ubiquitous utility like email. Perhaps it's no longer possible to create globally useful applications for the internet without needing to commercialize them.
posted by grubby at 6:52 AM on December 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somebody needs to buy Twitter and put it in the public domain. It should be a ubiquitous utility like email.

I would be more interested in twitter if it were noncommercial, and a whole heck of a lot more interested if it were a decentralized, distributed service like XMPP chat. As-is, it feels too much like trying to use Facebook as an email client or something.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:21 AM on December 11, 2011


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