Change is divisive – some embrace it others fear it.
Change is scary and incredibly risky but can be immensely rewarding.
Perhaps this is why changes to Twitter, existing, proposed and even potential, are causing such a stir.
Back in February I said that, as it stood, the feed is dead and uninviting now that it is awash in a sea of links and proposed that discovery could form the basis of a new direction for Twitter: a new way to present information. Since then the company has announced Twitter Cards as a way to shake up the display and keep more “eyes on” while providing better advertising opportunities but this is a story that has been a long time coming.
In October last year, before Twitter rolled out the new UI designed to “simplify and unify the experience”, I stated that:
“A new UI that displays media and conversations in-line will have the added advantage of matching the existing behaviour of some other third-party clients; having your mobile application function in the same way as the primary web interface will reduce the need for users (especially new ones) to look elsewhere.”
It surprises me that Twitter is criticised for trying to increase on-site functionality with expanded tweets when it is really mirroring third-party client functionality. The same people protesting about changes on Twitter are those protesting about API changes threatening to kill off their favourite client which is (probably) more complex and functional than Twitter itself.
A fine line
Twitter’s saving grace is that expanded tweets are minimised by default so there is no immediate visual difference and the initial simplicity is maintained, but what if Twitter decided to auto-expand them? What if, perhaps, the choice was to auto-expand only promoted tweets thus pandering to advertisers? Would either situation cause uproar? Most likely.
Where does Twitter draw the line and could the side it falls make or break the service?
Image by megaul.