Tips on Mastering the New Twitter
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
December 08 2011 03:23 PM ET
Twitter today (Dec. 8) released a new version of its microblogging platform, which will look familiar to Facebook and Google+ users. No more infinite columns of tweets — Twitter users will now see expanded stories with photos and videos and find new ways to connect with others.
At the heart of the redesign are four new tabs that are the same across all devices, so users on a PC have a similar experience when they switch to their phones. Twitter has already updated its mobile app for iPhone and Android, and plans to roll out Twitter.com over the coming weeks.
Ready to dive in? Here are tips on how to use each of the four tabs.
Home has been completely redesigned, so that it now looks a lot like Facebook. Tweets have been expanded to show photos and videos without having to leave Twitter. One thing that remains the same — the hallmark of Twitter — is that tweets are still limited to 140 characters. Your Twitter stats, suggestions on who to follow and trending topics have been moved to the left-hand side.
Twitter’s @ function, the way to connect to a topic or Twitter user, has earned a section of its own. The new Connect tab lists who has followed or mentioned you, retweeted or favorited one of your tweets. This is also the place to join a conversation in progress. Open the @ tab and type in any @username to see all of the activity surrounding that user.
Perhaps the most interesting addition to Twitter is the “Discover” tab, where Twitter uses your data such as your current location, who you follow and what you tweet about to serve up related stories. Twitter says that the more you use it, the more relevant your suggested content will become.
There’s no magic here. Twitter has extended its hashtag function and used it to personalize information for you, eliminating the need to search yourself. However, you can use hashtag yourself by typing in #topic that you’re interested in to see stories that have been marked with the same hashtag.
Borrowing again from Facebook and Google+, Twitter has added a profile section that now allows other Twitter users to see what you’re tweeting, view your lists, favorites, followers and photos that you have posted. This is also the new place for direct messaging.
A new big button gives big visibility to tweets. One click opens a larger-than-before window to add tweets with visible photos. Videos still appear as links.
While Twitter has revamped its platform to be far more visual with its graphic navigation icons and expanded photos, it did not add an editing function. Like Facebook updates, you can delete a tweet, but you can’t edit one. So far, Google+ is the only social network to allow users to edit their posts.
Twitter is also working on a new version for iPad , which should be available soon.
As part of its redesign, Twitter has launched official brand pages akin to those of Facebook and Google+ . The new pages feature an expanded header so companies can customize with large images and taglines. Brands can also opt to keep a tweet at the top of their page with an auto-expanded photo or video. Best Buy, Bing, Hewlitt-Packard and Verizon are among the first 21 brands included in today's launch.