The announcement was delivered in a surprisingly incoherent, rambling style that included a presentation computer crash.
The big news was the “New Twitter” website (video demo is here). It should be live by the time you read this.
I was equally entertained (and informed) by the chat stream that accompanied the UStream webcast, and it was interesting to see Mr. Scoble’s webcast go from just a few hundred viewers prior to the event to about 4,500 simultaneous viewers about 40 minutes in.
The new Twitter web interface looks more interactive and feels inspired to me by the excellent Twitter iPad app.
Twitter founder, Evan Williams, @ev emphasized the volume of Twitter users who access Twitter.com vs the variety of third-party applications and he noted something that I think a lot of the general public does not realize: “You don’t have to tweet to use Twitter.” You can just use it to access information, links and whatever from just the folks that you find to be of interest. (If you don’t know, Twitter Lists is a good way to do this.)
The new Twitter website will include a more interactive second-column (or pane) that will allow you to learn more about the tweeter or view pictures or videos without having your click “open” a new web browser window. This will provide more convenient browsing via Twitter, for sure. Also, messages via Twitter @mentions will be threaded (I like this feature in HootSuite) which should help the overall user experience as well.
Bottom line, Evan said, in an uncharacteristically grandiose style, that the online Twitter.com experience has been “completely transformed” into “one of the slickest web sites anywhere.” Or something like that. We’ll see.
Bottom line, I think this is an intelligent upgrade that will make the Twitter.com website much more useful for those browsing as well as those tweeting. Twitter is continuing to grow rapidly and I believe this growth will continue for the foreseeable future.
Even though Twitter lags behind Facebook in terms of total users as well as time spent, it offers a faster-paced and much more search-able platform where you can “follow” people of interest without having to have them follow you back (i.e. become “friends”). That alone, to me, makes Twitter a worthy investment of time. And, the opportunities to monitor the social, public conversation via highly-visual web applications like http://paper.li and iPad applications like FlipBoard ensure that, at least as far as I’m concerned, Twitter will continue to be a “foreground” information and networking resource for quite some time to come. Stay tuned.
I’m still not seeing the new design as of the time of this addition to this post. Apparently the roll out will take weeks. Meanwhile, here are a couple of other interesting perspectives (presuming you consider mine to also be “interesting”):
- New York Times report, “Twitter Revamps Its Website“
- Search Engine Land’s very detailed overview, “The New Twitter & Search, An Illustrated Guide“